Museums, paintings and history

  • Krzysztof Pomian


Todays museum is permeated with history. So much so that the general public and probably the majority of both museum curators and historians seem to consider the connection between museum and history an obvious and a necessary one. Yet, if we look at the past of the museum and at that of history, we discover that during the early centuries of the museums existence they had nothing in common with one another. How did the conjunction of museum with history come into being? How did the museum adapt itself to different types of history: to universal history, to national history, to local history? How did history become aware of the importance of museums for the study ofthe past? And how did the museum become aware of its own history? These are the questions included under the headline Museum and History. I cannot discuss them all. I shall concentrate on only one of them and even this one will not be treated exhaustively.