Friday, October 1, 2010

Museography: Why Are Big Museums Always in Parks?

An aerial view of New York's Metropolitan Museum, which sits between Central Park and the Upper East Side. (photo via
Museography: Why Are Big Museums Always in Parks?: "My suspicion is that the choice has to do with an inherited British idea about greenspace, the influence — if not the explicit plans — of Olmsted or Burnham, and the influence of the City Beautiful movement. That special ingrained 19th century vaguely Anglo proclivity for the park that performs the appearance of picturesque wilderness for its urban adventurers. Build art its own fortress or five star hotel and put it on the (make-believe) urban frontier — from there, a person can take in the triumphs of civilization amid the unknown terrors of Central, Grant, or Golden Gate Park."


Anonymous said...

That's a provocative idea, Charles. Big museum tend to be icons in their locations. But the Louvre, Reina SofĂ­a or Centre Pompidou seem to be evident urban big museums. As of anglosaxon cultural centers, your idea sounds logic. That shall be a good exploration. Thanks for delivering the word.
Mexico City

Charles Kessler said...

I agree, but I hope you don't think this was my writing. It was a pull quote of a post by Hrag Vartanian from his blog Hyperallergic. Click on the link for the full article.

BTW, this post is 6-7 months old -- what made you read it now?