Skip to content

Gilman, Benjamin Ives

    Image Credit: Wikipedia

    Full Name: Gilman, Benjamin Ives

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1852

    Date Died: 1933

    Home Country/ies: United States

    Career(s): curators


    Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, curator. Proponent of the Arts-and-Crafts notion of museum installation of objects outside their context in order to appreciate their esthetic value more. This idea was opposed by progressive museum directors such as John Cotton Dana. Gilman argued that objects are appreciated best when they are removed from their context, where all but their esthetic meaning falls away (Duncan). By viewing them in a pristine environment of the museum, the public could appreciate them in what he described as a secular state of grace.

    Selected Bibliography

    Museum Ideals: of Purpose and Method. Cambridge, MA: Riverside Press, 1918; Manual of Italian Renaissance Sculpture as Illustrated in the Collection of Casts at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Boston: Riverside Press, 1904.


    Duncan, Carol. “Cotton Dana’s Progressive Museum.” in D’souza, Aruna, ed. Self and History: a Tribute to Linda Nochlin. London: Thames & Hudson, 2001, p. 132.


    "Gilman, Benjamin Ives." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

    More Resources

    Search for materials by & about this art historian: