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Andrew McClellan
Professor and Museum Studies Advisor

Contact Info:
Tufts University
Dept. of Art & Art History
11 Talbot Avenue
Medford, MA 02155

Office: 617-627-0358
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Early Modern European art and theory; history of museums, exhibitions, and collecting; history of art history

Ph.D. Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, 1987
M.A. University of East Anglia, 1980
B.A. University College London, 1978

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Trained in European art of the early modern period (primarily 17th-early 19th centuries), I have written on painting, sculpture and architecture, as well as the historiography and institutions of art. An overriding interest in contexts, institutional frameworks, and the reception of art led me to study the collecting and display of art, the subject of three of my books, Inventing the Louvre: Art, Politics, and the Origins of the Modern Museum in Eighteenth-Century Paris, (1999), Art and Its Publics: Museum Studies at the Millennium, (2003), and The Art Museum from Boullée to Bilbao (2008).

Other interests explored in articles along the way include the nascent profession of art dealing in 18th-century Paris, the iconic function and shifting fortunes of public sculpture in the build up to the French Revolution, the early history of painting conservation, and the roll of circuses and taxidermy in early natural history museums. In 2014 I curated an exhibition at the Tufts Gallery and wrote an accompanying book on Tufts's mascot, Jumbo the Elephant, entitled Jumbo: Marvel, Myth, & Mascot (2014).

My current book project (co-authored with my former student Sally Anne Duncan) is titled "Making Museum Men: Paul J. Sachs and the Museum Course at Harvard" that examines the professionalization of art museum curators in the United States in the first half of the 20th century. Sachs's Museum Course was responsible for shaping a professional field - museum management - that in turn defined the organizational structure and values of an institution through which the American public came to know art. Conceived at a time of great museum expansion and public interest in the United States, the Museum Course channeled and put into practice key philosophical debates about how art museums should function, and for whom. Blending theory and practice, Sachs offered integrated training in object connoisseurship and hands-on management that codified and institutionalized principles of leadership, curating, and museum display that have long since been taken for granted in institutions across the country. The Harvard course was instrumental in deciding crucial questions of who is fit to run our museums, the relative importance of collecting and interpreting objects, the role of scholarship and conservation, and hierarchies of aesthetic worth. During its run, some 300 hundred students went on to careers in more than 100 North American museums and seventy universities. Today over 100 million people a year visit American art museums and many of them received a formative imprint from one (or more) of Sachs's students.

Selected Books:

  • Jumbo: Marvel, Myth, & Mascot (Tufts Art Gallery, 2014)
  • The Art Museum from Boullée to Bilbao, (University of California Press, 2008)
  • Art and Its Publics: Museum Studies at the Millennium, (Wiley-Blackwell, 2003)
  • Inventing the Louvre: Art, Politics, and the Origins of the Modern Museum in Eighteenth-Century Paris, (University of California Press, 1999)