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Jeffrey Abt, Katherine Stadtmiller and Helen Searing

Institution primarily for the preservation, display, and study of works of cultural interest, but increasingly characterized by a broader range of social functions. The origins of the modern museum can be traced to Classical times. It was only after the Renaissance, however, that it came to be regarded as a vital public institution. Although museum history has traditionally been surveyed in the context of the history of Collecting and of the temporary Exhibition, the substantial growth in knowledge of each topic warrants their separate treatment. Architecturally, this institutional history has been accompanied by the development of an important building type. More detailed studies of major individual museums may be found under the headings for the cities in which they are located, while national historical overviews are contained within country and regional survey articles.

Jeffrey Abt, revised by Katherine Stadtmiller

Mouseion (Gr.), the etymological root of ‘museum’, was the term for ...

Article

Françoise Bercé

(b Paris, Jan 27, 1814; d Lausanne, Sept 17, 1879).

French architect, restorer, designer and writer. He is one of the few architects whose name is known to the general public in France, although his fame as a restorer of medieval buildings is often accompanied by a somewhat unflattering critical judgement: a restoration ‘à la Viollet-le-Duc’ is usually understood to be abusive in terms of the original work and is often confused with the type of eclectic architecture that he himself particularly disliked. Through his published writings, particularly his Dictionnaire raisonné de l’architecture française du XIe au XVIe siècle (1854–68), he made a substantial contribution to contemporary knowledge of medieval buildings. In addition, his writings and theories had an enormous impact on attitudes to restoration ( see Architectural conservation and restoration ) and on contemporary design, not only for the Gothic Revival movement but also in the development of rationalism, providing an important stimulus to new movements in architecture both in France and abroad (...