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 been written, until now. 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 Treasury 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, and reaching all of Europe by the eighteenth. It is a story made of donations and sales, thefts and looting, wars and diplomacy. Volume Two, just published last month, carries the story through the French Revolution and the era of nationalism and the birth of national museums in the nineteenth century.