History of Museum Architecture
Information Resources in the Humanities
Dr. Loriene Roy
October 30, 2000
Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Annotated Bibliography
Part 3: Pathfinder
History of Museum Architecture: Introduction
History of Museum Architecture: Annotated Bibliography
2. Aloi, Roberto. Musei Architettura-Tecnica. Milano: Ulrico Hoepli Editore, 1962.
727.6 AL7M Architecture Library
Published in 1962, this book focuses on the architecture of museums (international) that were built from 1945-1960, and also museums (Italian) that were renovated or reconstructed in those years. It is written in Italian with an English translation. The text describes the buildings and facilities and is richly illustrated with floor plans, site plans, and elevations, plus photographs of exteriors and interiors – exhibit halls and exhibitions, lecture rooms, conference halls. Also included are behind-the-scenes photos of construction details such as skylights and roofs.
3. Asensio Cerver, Francisco. The Architecture of Museums. New
York: Arco, 1997.
NA 6690 C47 1997 Architecture Library
Contains text with floor and site plans, interior and exterior photos (color), drawings and sketches. The scope is international. There are chapters about new museums, from the de Menil Collection (1981) to the Okazaki Art and Historical Museum (completion date of 1996). Also included are chapters about renovations, such as P.S. 1 in New York City, which is a 19th century school that became a contemporary art museum; the renovations of the Lecture Hall and West Wing of the Brooklyn Museum; and the Natural History Museum, London, and its renovations of the Primates Gallery and East Galleries. A beautiful book.
4. Bazin, Germain. The Museum Age. New York: Universe Books,
708 B348M Fine Arts Library
A history of museums and collecting, from Greek Temples to the present (1967), this book also describes some architects and architectural competitions for building. There are drawings, paintings, and photographs of museum rooms, and occasional floor plans (Hermitage; Schloss Belveders) or site plans (Museuminsel in Berlin). Chapter 7 discusses “The Cabinet and the Gallery” – the physical space in which items were displayed. There is a chapter on how wars and the French Revolution and influenced the future of museums.
5. Brawne, Michael. The New Museum: Architecture and Display.
New York: Frederick A.
Prager, 1965. 727.6 B739N Architecture Library; 727.6 B739N Architecture Library; 727.6 B739N Fine Arts Library
English with German translation. International in scope, Brawne includes a variety of museums, mainly art museums. The Introduction talks about the history and purpose of museums and considerations that must be taken into account when planning and designing a museum. The book includes floor and site plans, photos, and descriptions of contemporary museums (up to 1963) and renovations of ancient museums. There are also sections about lighting, climate control, walls, panels, cases and supports, storage and workshops, “objects in the open air,” labels (signage), furniture, and entrance halls.
6. Coleman, Laurence Vail. Museum Buildings. Volume One: A Planning
American Association of Museums, 1950. NA 6700 A1 C6 V.1 Fine Arts Library; 727.6 C677M V.1 Architecture Library
Thinking about museums – planning museums. The introduction to Chapter 1 states: “The nineteen fifties will be critical years in the history of museums...museums face the necessity of making a truly dramatic choice between learning finished lessons over again and, what would be better, continuing sound advance in the light of lessons learned and in the spirit of today.” With some reference to the architecture of existing museums (styles of older museums and styles of recent museums, with criticisms of both old and new) the author also discusses all aspects of planning a new museum: types, location and site, lighting, organization of space, lobbies, libraries, shops, and more. It is interesting to think about how accurate the author’s vision turned out to be.
7. Girouard, Mark. Alfred Waterhouse and the Natural History Museum.
New Haven and
London: Yale University Press. in association with The British Museum (Natural History), 1981. TAMU: NA 6750 L66
N38 1981. UT Austin: not at UT Austin
A lovely little book about the history of the building of the Natural History Museum. Plans, drawings of architectural details, photographs. Also includes drawings and photographs of other Waterhouse buildings.
8. Henderson, Justin. Museum Architecture. Gloucester: Rockport
NA 6690 H46 1998 Architecture Library
Featuring museums built in the 1990’s, this book is divided into 3 sections: General-Interest Art Museums, Specialized Art Museums, and Other Museums (including History, Science, and Special Collections Museums). The book has beautiful photographs of stunning museums from all over the world. Besides interior and exterior photos, floor plans and site plans of many of the museums are included.
9. Jackson, Virginia, ed. Art Museums of the World. V. 1 &
2. New York:
Greenwood Press, 1987. N 410 A78 1987 V.1 Fine Arts Lib Reference; N 410 A78 1987 V.2 Fine Arts Lib Reference
Lists names and addresses of museums. Gives dates of the museums: history of the museums, when founded, architects, style (neo-classical, etc.), additions to the museums, facilities, galleries. Volume 1: Afghanistan-Nigeria. Volume 2: Norway-Zaire.
10. Montaner, Josep M. New Museums. New York: Princeton Architectural
NA 6695 M6613 1990 Architecture Lib Reference
“…we are witnessing the simultaneous evolution of two contrary tendencies - : the multifunctional and the specialized.” (page 7) The scope of this book is outlined in the introduction: Cultural Complexes, Great National Art Galleries, Museums of Contemporary Art, Museums of Science and Technology, Civic and Single Theme Museums, Galleries and Centers of Contemporary Art. Stunning photographs, many drawings, floor plans, and scale models.
11. Montaner, Josep and Jordi Olivras. The Museums of the Last Generation.
Academy Editions; New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1986. NA 6690 M66 1998 ARCH
In the introduction, the author discusses how new museum buildings should be the synthesis of art and architecture and are urban monuments. Museums are now dealing with a broader range of themes (science, technology, film, etc.) than previously and must be able to handle more than traditional arts. He notes that subjects like lighting and the display and protection/conservation of objects must be considered in museum design. Flexible and versatile spaces are needed both for exhibits and for moving people through the museum. Photographs and floor plans of new international museums are in the book (Pompidou Centre and National Air and Space Museum, for example) plus extensions of existing museums (like the Tate Gallery Extension, Staatsgalerie Extension, Stuggart, and the remodeling of the Louvre).
12. Searing, Helen. New American Art Museums. New York: Whitney
Museum of American
Art; Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982. NA 6700 A1 S4 1982 Architecture Library
Discusses 6 art museums: expansions and additions to existing buildings and new buildings. The section titled “The First Art Museums” deals with the history of museum buildings since the late 1700s. The floor plans for an art museum that was conceived by J.-N.-L. Durand are reproduced, along with examples of museums that Durand’s ideas influenced. This leads to an overview of 19th century American art museums. Following are descriptions of 6 museums, plus floor plans, drawings, photographs, and scale models.
13. Sherman, Lila. Art Museums of America: A Guide to the Collections
in the United States and Canada. New York: William
Morrow and Company, 1980. N 510 S45 Fine Arts Library Reference
Over 550 collections in the US and Canada are described in this book. Of interest to this Pathfinder information about the museum are dates the museums were founded, and basic details about the building, and if the collection was moved from an original location. Location (address). Interesting characteristics are included, for example, the “Dayton Art Institute was modeled on the Villa d’Este and the Villa Farnese at Caprorola.” (page 280).
14. Steele, James, ed. Museum Buildings. London: Academy
Editions: Berlin: Ernst & Sohn,
1994. NA 6700 A1 C6 V.1 Fine Arts Library; 727.6 C677M V.1 Architecture Library
Many of the museums in this book were still in the planning stages at time of publication, as evidenced by scale models and drawings rather than photographs of actual buildings. This is a large book with large drawings and full-page photographs, including a spectacular 2-page photo of the Guggenheim Museum. Drawings (renderings and cutaways), floor and site plans, scale models, interior and exterior photographs.
15. Steffensen-Bruce, Ingrid A. Marble Palaces, Temples of Art: Art
Museums, Architecture, and American Culture,
1890-1930. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press: London: Associated University Presses, 1998. NA 6695 A74 1998
Monumental classical museum architecture from 1890-1930 and the influence of the World’s Colulmbian Exhibition on museum architecture. A chapter about competitions for building museums. An Appendix lists the museums mentioned in the text and gives historical and architectural data about them. Drawings, floor and site plans, photographs.
16. Stephens, Suzanne, ed. Building the New Museum. New York:
The Architectural League of New York; New York: Princeton
Architectural Press, 1986. TAMU: NA 6695 B85 1986.
UT Austin: NO LONGER AVAILABLE - if no other copy is available, users with UT Austin ID may use Inter-Library
Concentrates on art museums. The first chapter includes a talk about museum architecture history by Helen Searing, “The Development of a Museum Typology.” The text of the book includes a series of talks and discussions with panelists and a moderator about museum architecture, sponsored by The Architectual League of New York in December 1985. Drawings, floor plans, photographs.
17. Young, Mahonri Sharp. The Golden Eye. New York: Train/Branca
Books, Inc., 1983. AM 11 Y69 Fine Arts Library
Private museums. Gorgeous photographs.
18. Art Museum Network [World Wide Web]. Available at: http://www.amn.org/ [Accessed
28 October 2000]
This site has sections titled Museums, Collections, Exhibitions, and Partnerships. If you click on “List of Museums” you can access the websites of approximately 200 international museums.
19. MuseumLink's Museum of Museums [World Wide Web]. Available
at: http://www.museumlink.com/ [Accessed 28 October
has museum links for:
U.S. museums [World Wide Web]. Available at: http://www.museumlink.com/states.htm [Accessed 28 October 2000]
Canadian museums [World Wide Web]. Available at: http://www.museumlink.com/canada.htm [Accessed 28 October 2000]
and International museums [World Wide Web]. Available at: http://www.museumlink.com/internat.htm [Accessed 28
There are many, many museum links on these sites. The interested and diligent web searcher can spend countless hours finding out all about museums all over the world.
20 . Museums Around the World [World Wide Web]. Available at:
http://www.icom.org/vlmp/world.html [Accessed 28
Links to museums like the Topkapi Palace website. Many museum website mention the history and have photographs of the museum.
21 . Museums in the USA [World Wide Web]. Available at: http://www.museum.or.jp/vlmp-J/usa.html
[Accessed 28 October
Links to 1034 museums in the USA. To aid in searching, the user can view museum lists by name, type, or state. There is also a “search” option.
These databases can be found at the UT Library Online. Arts/Humanities page.
22 . J. Turner, ed.: The Grove Dictionary of Art. [online database] Available at:
http://www.groveart.com/tdaonline/index.asp [Accessed 29 October 2000]
Article search: history of museum architecture; Click on number 6: Museum
Article by Helen Searing. Has External image links and Bibliography. This overview is a good place to start looking for information about the history of museum architecture. It has links to subjects and architects that are included in the Grove Dictionary of Art, plus a Bibliography.
23. Specific results from the following databases are not mentioned
in the Pathfinder, but they are given as an option and are available at
the UT Libraries Online, Arts/Humanities page.
ABC-CLIO. America: History and Life [online database]. Available at: http://sb2.abc-clio.com:81/cgi-bin/nph-appframework/ABC-Clio-Serials [Accessed on 29 October 2000]
Institute for Scientific Information. Arts & Humanities Citation Index [online database]. Available at: http://wos.isiglobalnet.com/ [Accessed on 29 October 2000]
Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals | Telnet Access
Historical Abstracts [online database]. Available at: http://sb2.abc-clio.com:81/cgi-bin/nph-appframework/ABC-Clio-Serials [Accessed on 29 October 2000]
OCLC FirstSearch. Humanities Abstracts [online database]. Available
[Accessed on 29 October 2000]
History of Museum Architecture
A Pathfinder by Lily Bartoszek
This Pathfinder is about the history of museum architecture after 1750, when cities and states started building museums for the public. Unless noted otherwise, sources used in this Pathfinder are at the University of Texas at Austin libraries.
I would like to know about the history of museum architecture. Where
do I start?
Grove Dictionary of Art. UTLOL: go to “Collections and Electronic Resources” and click on “Indexes, Abstracts and Full
Text,” then go to the “G” section and click on “Grove Dictionary of Art”
Article search: history of museum architecture; Click on number 6: Museum
Article by Helen Searing. This overview is a good place to start looking for information about the history of museum architecture. It has links to subjects and architects that are included in the Grove Dictionary of Art, plus a Bibliography.
Since museum architecture is so visual, it is fun to browse the stacks to look for books about specific museums, or you can look in the library catalog for books about them. Here are some good books about museum architecture, listed chronologically by years of interest. These books are richly illustrated with combinations of drawings, photographs, floor and site plans, and scale models:
BOOKS ABOUT MUSEUM ARCHITECTURE
Following are some resources that help find information about specific museums:
Art Museum Network: http://www.amn.org/
MuseumLink's Museum of Museums: http://www.museumlink.com/ has links for:
U.S. museums: http://www.museumlink.com/states.htm
Canadian museums: http://www.museumlink.com/canada.htm
and International museums: http://www.museumlink.com/internat.htm
Museums Around the World: http://www.icom.org/vlmp/world.html
Museums in the USA: http://www.museum.or.jp/vlmp-J/usa.html