Do we expect both history as well as art when we visit a gallery or a museum? ‘Presenting art history’ looks at the ways in which we are presented with art — usually via a linear chronological sequence of artefacts, most often starting with Egyptian and/or Graeco-Roman times, working through to the present day. How were art collections formed in Europe and America? What is the role of the private collector? What is the importance of national collections of art? Recent trends towards thematic arrangements are discussed, as is the complex relationship between the museum and its public. A ‘mini exhibition’ of four artworks demonstrates the points made in the chapter.