Issues in the Architecture of Art Museums

I’m afraid that readers of my blog are going to have to suffer a month of heavy-duty promotion for my museums book (The Art Museum in Modern Times available from all good bookshops, including John Sandoe), partly because of the amount of interest there seems to be in the fate of museums post-COVID, including at my alma mater, the V&A, and partly because the pistol seems to have been fired on advance publicity, even though the book doesn’t formally appear till March 25th.

There can, of course, be no physical book launch, but I am doing a long planned seminar paper for the Cambridge Architectural History seminar, which is open to anyone, under the title ‘Issues in the Architecture of Art Museums’. To join it, you will need to pre-register here:- 

The talk will be about some of the issues that I had to deal with in writing about the history of museums and their architecture over the last eighty years or so, since the opening of the Museum of Modern Art in its new building in 1939. I will be focussing not so much on the issues of museology – how attitudes to the display of art have changed over the period – but more about the problems of writing architectural history in the modern period, the frequent lack of good source material in spite of digitisation, the problems of the secondary literature, which is often published by the institutions concerned, so is seldom critical. I will be using the talk not so much as a presentation of the individual case studies, but more as a way of testing its thematic conclusions which I wrote after completing the book.

For any questions please contact the convenor, Jana Schuster:


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