chapter  9
15 Pages

Democratization and Institutional Change A Challenge for Modern Museums

In the past, museums were famous for the quality and the extent of their collections. With their rare objects and historic buildings, they were considered as guardians of our “heritage.” Nowadays, most museums are seeking public attention by organizing spectacular exhibitions, reorganizing their permanent collections, and renovating and extending their public spaces as well as financing the construction of outstanding buildings. Since the 1970s, major projects have been carried out: the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Pompidou Center in Paris, the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Pyramid of the Louvre, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery in London, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the unique reorganization of several museums in Berlin, and the modern Tate. These projects have been conceived as media events to attract public notice and ensure public success.