[Tagging] Art galleries/museums

Matthijs Melissen info at matthijsmelissen.nl
Mon Jan 25 22:44:46 UTC 2016

Hi all,

The wiki defines the tag tourism=gallery as 'an area or typically a
building that displays a variety of visual art exhibitions' [1]. This
is an officially approved tag [2]. In addition, the wiki page on
tourism=museum [3] specifies that art galleries should be tagged as
tourism=gallery, even if they have 'museum' in the name.

However, practice shows that the tag tourism=gallery is not very
frequently used. We have currently 54 951 instances of tourism=museum,
versus only 1 505 instances of tourism=gallery. I had a look at some
famous galleries: the MoMA in New York, the Uffizi in Florence, the
National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, the Van Gogh Museum in
Amsterdam, the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, and the Guggenheim Museum in
Bilbao. It turned out that all of them are tagged as tourism=museum.

This might be partly caused by ignorant mappers, but perhaps there is
also a more fundamental problem. The line between a gallery and a
museum is not always easy to draw, especially in continental Europe,
where many museums have both historic and artistic exhibitions
(compare for instance the Louvre). Also the fact that many galleries
are called 'museum' does not help.

How should we continue from here? Should we try to improve the tagging
situation? Or should we discourage tourism=gallery, making it a
subtype of tourism=museum?

-- Matthijs

[1] http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:tourism%3Dgallery
[2] http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Proposed_features/Art_gallery
[3] http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:tourism%3Dmuseum

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