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Lecture: The Invention of the American Art Museum

Springfield Museums
Event organized by Springfield Museums

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Lecture by Kathleen Curran, Professor of Fine Art, Trinity College, Hartford, CT

What makes the American art museum distinct from art museums in other countries? This lecture examines the origins of art museums in the United States in the 1870s and explores the momentous changes that occurred around 1900, transforming them to world-class status. At first modeled on the so-called “craft” museum model of London’s South Kensington (now the Victoria & Albert Museum), American museums evolved into museums of “cultural history.” The concept of cultural history involved not only the planning and organization of museums, but also their collection strategies and display methods.