The way Kirkland Museum displays its three collections gives it a noticeably different atmosphere than most other museums. The art is arranged in “salon style” with fine art (paintings and sculpture) shown in the same galleries with decorative art. While rare, a few other museums have done this, such as the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and the Neue Galerie in New York.
Furthermore, at Kirkland Museum paintings and objects are sometimes
composed as vignettes where, for instance, Art Deco furniture is grouped
together with a period radio, lamp, phone and other accessories, as if
you have walked into someone’s vintage home.
Comparative displays are done where several styles of design, such as
Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau and Wiener Werkstätte are placed in the
same gallery so that comparisons are facilitated. With the extensive
displays of tableware, glassware and flatware of different eras, along
with the furniture, Kirkland Museum illustrates the history of eating,
drinking and sitting of much of the 20th century.