Museum Quality Gardens

A interesting garden typology which seems to be given more attention in recent times is the museum garden, such as the garden at Giverny ‘The Museum of Impressions’. The garden museum was conceived to give visitors an experience of the Seine valley on the impressionists trail and to complement the art gallery experience of viewing impressionist paintings. The museum building is described as “topped by roofs landscaped in heather…inscribed into the natural slope of the land, allowing the minimum of opague walls.”

For the garden traditionalist there is the Musee Rodin in Paris which captures something of the atmosphere of the outdoors indoors and has a an inspiring sculpture garden.

Perhaps an even more interesting possibility with this trend is the potential for the museum-in-the-garden. The museum of life and science in North Carolina demonstrates the potential of the museum outdoors.

Where better to experience and learn about art, physics and the natural world?

2 thoughts on “Museum Quality Gardens

  1. Tom Turner

    The OED explains the origin of the word museum as follows ‘In the ancient Hellenic world: a building connected with or dedicated to the Muses or the arts inspired by them; a university building, esp. that established at Alexandria by Ptolemy Soter c280 B.C.’ But were Hellenic ‘museums’ in towns or in sanctuaries, like Delphi? I think they must have been in sanctuaries and, if so, it is likely that they were in a ‘garden-like’ space. Pausanias (c. 160 ce) observed that in the sanctuary at Gryneum, in Ionia, ‘there is a most beautiful grove of Apollo, with cultivated trees, and all those which, although they bear no fruit, are pleasing to smell or look upon.’ Pausanias also wrote about the temple sanctuaries of Egypt and a connection between these and Egyptian sanctuaries is probable – the Greeks also learned about stone temples from the Egyptians. So I think the museum garden is a type with a long pedigree – and I completely agree that it is a type to be encouraged. I welcome what was attempted at the Getty Center and am a little queasy about the results. Museum curators learn much about curatorship and not enough about the soul.
    PS is the photograph of the art museum at Giverny?

  2. christine

    Yes. However the question for the soul is asked not only by this museum garden but also by the photographic exhibition by Marjorie Peirson entitled ‘The Fragile Beauty Exhibition’.
    [ ]It is a comment on the disappearing wetlands of South Louisiana and North Carolina.

    Both embody the beauty of nature. However the question for the soul is:

    What is the ideal relationship between the built world and the natural world? How do we know when we have got the balance right?


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