Krzysztof Pomian and Peter N. Miller will be in conversation about Pomian’s book Le musée, une histoire mondiale (Gallimard, 2020).

From the accumulations of Egyptian or Chinese tombs and royal treasures to our present day Louvre, among other places, it took time for the museum to find its form and its function of conservation, study and exhibition of objects. Yet a world history of museums - political, social and cultural - has never yet been written. Here it is: The Museum, a world history, in three volumes which will appear over two years.

The first volume of this monumental undertaking, From the treasure to the Museum, starts from a distant past to arrive at the creation of the institution called “museum,” invented in Italy at the end of the fifteenth century, reaching all of Europe by the eighteenth. It is a story made of donations and sales, thefts and looting, wars and diplomacy. And also architecture, in the way of contemplating and handling objects, legal and organizational problems, even before the vast debates on exhibition, lighting, and hanging that will follow. A story of art, but also of commerce, knowledge and techniques.

This luminous text, richly illustrated, will make everyone want finally to return to this “very strange place,” as Krzysztof Pomian declares at the opening of his book: “the museum.”