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Museum architecture

Museum architecture has been of increasing importance over the centuries, especially more recently.

A challenge for museum architecture is the differing purposes of the building. The museum collection must be preserved, but it also needs to be made accessible to the public. Climate control may be very important for the objects in the collection.

An early example of architecture for a purpose-built museum is the Museum of the History of Science building in Oxford, England, originally built to house the Ashmolean Museum.

In the 20th century, museums have been combined with war memorials to serve multiple purposes. The Australian War Memorial in Canberra, for example, is a place of commemoration as well as for collection and display. It contains a museum, an archive and a shrine. It was designed by Emil Sodersten and John Crust in a contemporary neoclassical style reminiscent of Lutyens with detailing influenced by Art Deco.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City, USA (opened in 1959), by Frank Lloyd Wright is an important architectural landmark and icon of the 20th century. Another classic 20th century example of iconic museum architecture is the titanium-covered Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain by Frank Gehry (opened in 1997). Gehry has undertaken many major museum architecture projects, including the Experience Music Project in Seattle, USA, the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis, USA, the Vitra Design Museum and MARTa Museum in Germany, and the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Canada.



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