The exhibition Drive | 100 years of collecting leads you through a succession of extraordinary galleries. What drives people to collect things? How is a museum collection formed? In every gallery, we introduce you to a cornucopia of maritime objects and paintings, brought together thanks to the great collection drives of various individuals. What motivated them? The exhibition 'Drive' adopts four different perspectives as it tells the story of why people become collectors.
Gallery 1: Flaunting and tempting
We humans can be quite a contradiction. We want to be unique but we also want to belong to a group. We don't want to be the odd one out, but we do want to be different. What defines a person's identity and image? We are often quick to make assumptions, whether consciously or unconsciously. If a person is wealthy, they must also be intelligent, and know and understand a lot about their field. If a person is poor, they are probably lazy and stupid, we reason. And how can you let people know that you're wealthy? Easy - by showing off your expensive possessions. It is not enough to simply own exquisite things, you need other people to see that you own them.
Gallery 2: The universe within reach
Picture the scene: your neighbour has recently returned from a holiday in Thailand, and invites you to come round and look at her holiday photos. She serves nuts in bamboo dishes and tea in ornate porcelain cups. She is wearing an extravagant, brightly-coloured scarf in the middle of a heatwave. You get the feeling she doesn't want you to forget that she's been somewhere exotic. The fact that we can buy these products almost anywhere in our own country these days doesn't change our desire to bring exotic things into our homes and lives, whether as a souvenir or to recreate the feeling and atmosphere of somewhere far away.
Gallery 3: Striving for completeness
A strong collector's drive can often take on neurotic tendencies. A typical hoarder can exhibit some types of compulsive behaviour, such as sorting, cataloguing, ranking, inspecting, and moving items until they all have the perfect position and the hoard is as complete as possible. The 'collection' of this type of collector is therefore often much less valuable than that of a collector whose aim is to flaunt their wealth. Still, they can't bear to let anything go. Outsiders are often baffled but also intrigued by the hoarder's passion or madness. The owner of 20,000 T-shirts would generally not be admitted to a psychiatric institution, but they might be interviewed for a television programme. In their own peculiar way, that makes them quite special.
Gallery 4: Immortality
One thing is certain: we are all going to die eventually. The question is: what legacy will we leave behind? Endless memories for family and friends, or something tangible? Many collectors see it as their purpose to donate a collection compiled with love and attention to a museum, to ensure that their treasures live on and can be admired by generations to come. The collector leaves the mortal world, but their legacy remains forever.