Mass amounts of speculation and theorising have been circulating the media about the potential for museums to utilise NFTs. This article discusses the many potentials and pitfalls, this article brainstorms potential future uses, and this webinar debates fad or future? An Artnome article specifically addresses "Why Museums Should Be Thinking Longer Term About NFTs". It makes sense after all, given NFTs have infiltrated all other aspects of the art market. But despite the numerous possibilities and endless chatter, museums being historically risk-averse and slow-moving, have taken to NFTs at a snail's pace. Nevertheless, here are 5 museums who have jumped on the NFT trend earlier than their fellow institutions, all in very different ways, providing examples of what NFTs could actually look like for institutions going forward.

Courtesy of National Museum Liverpool

National Museum Liverpool created an NFT project linking the museum with their community.

The National Museum of Liverpool created in 2018 an online exhibition called Crypto-Connections. Participants were invited to choose a personal possession and museum object based on their personal connection. Each image from the exhibition was transformed into an NFT using a specially devised decentralised gallery called ‘The Possession Gallery’. Any token created using this smart contract would appear in both this decentralised gallery and the new owner’s digital wallet. See the project details here.

The Ancient of Days NFT, 2021, digital multispectral image, 5000x7000px,edition of 50 with 2 museum proofs. Courtesy of the Whitworth, The University ofManchester

The Whitworth minted and sold an NFT inspired by a work from their collection

The Whitworth Art Gallery in July 2021 minted and sold an NFT generated from William Blake's The Ancient of Days, one of the most iconic and widely reproduced images within the gallery’s collection. This NFT was created as part of the gallery’s major 2023 exhibition and research project, Economics the Blockbuster and are using the funds raised to support community outreach projects. The NFT was minted and is currently for sale on the environmentally-friendly marketplace Hic et Nunc. See the project details here.

CryptoPunk 5293. Courtesy of Larva Labs/Miami’s Institute of Contemporary Art 

Miami’s Institute of Contemporary Art (ICAM) acquired one of the infamous Cryptopunks for their collection

The ICAM in July 2021 announced the acquisition of CryptoPunk 5293 into their collection. CryptoPunk 5293 is one of the 3,840 female punks of the 10,000 unique 24x24 pixel icons. The acquisition was presented as a gift by ICAM Trustee, Eduardo Burillo. The ICAM was the first museum to bring an NFT into their permanent collection. Read their press release here.

TurkTurk, CryptoKitty. Courtesy of LACMA Art + Technology Lab

LACMA's Art + Technology Labs talks the museum's future with NFTs

The LACMA in July 2021 released the first article of a planned series focusing on NFTs and their museum. While the museum hasn't committed specifically how they plan on being involved in the NFT space, they stated: their curators, educators, and conservators are in constant conversation with artists in this space in order to "ensure that care and consideration go into the creation, conservation, and contextualisation of these artworks now and in the future". Read the full article here.

Leonardo da Vinci’s Madonna Litta. Courtesy of the State Hermitage Museum

Hermitage Museum mints works from their collection

The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, is minting several masterpieces from its collection as NFTs. Works by Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, and Leonardo da Vinci will be minted and sold as NFTs at the end of August on the Binance online marketplace. Read the story here.

Wondering why we left off the Uffizi Gallery? See our Twitter thread about it here.