Real museums are places where Time is transformed into Space.
This is the greatest consolation in life. In poetically well-built museums, formed from the heart's compulsions, we are consoled not by finding in them old objects that we love, but by losing all sense of Time.
The great proliferation of museums in the nineteenth century was a product of the marriage of the exhibition as a way of awakening intelligent interest in the visitor with the growth of collections that was associated with empire and middle-class affluence. Attendance at museums was as much associated with moral improvement as with explanation of the human or natural world.
Education is the lifeblood of museums.
In bluntest terms, art museums risk being commercial institutions in which art is subsumed by economics and the experience of looking at art becomes a form of consumption.
Don't go to a museum with a destination. Museums are wormholes to other worlds. They are ecstasy machines.
We know we are a species obsessed with itself and its own past and origins. We know we are capable of removing from the sanctuary of the earth shards and fragments, and gently placing them in museums. Great museums in great cities—the hallmarks of civilisation.
After all, isn't the purpose of the novel, or of a museum, for that matter, to relate our memories with such sincerity as to transform individual happiness into a happiness all can share?
When asked why he wrote the book, Freed said: In the 1980s, I joined the small group of anthropologists who were writing about the history of their subject. I believed that I could add some balance to American anthropological history, and that the best place to start was with museums—where the story began. The more I delved into the archives, the more I was fascinated. I was hooked.
I absorbed as many Impressionist paintings as I could, in Parisian museums and in many museums in the United States and in books, looking for clues to architecture, clothing, settings.