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Schöne, Richard

    Full Name: Schöne, Richard

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1840

    Date Died: 1922

    Place Born: Dresden, Saxony, Germany

    Home Country/ies: Germany


    Director general of the Berlin museums and administrative innovator. Initially an artist, Schöne switched his calling to a study of archaeology in the mid-1860s, and received his Habilitation in 1868. Lecturer at the University of Halle (186?-1872). As general director of the Royal Museum of Berlin (1880-1905), Schöne was instrumental in reorienting the Prussian museum system away from a focus on aestheticising classicism and towards the historicist periodization favored by leading academics. He oversaw the reorganization of the Royal Museum and the establishment of provincial museums in Bonn and Trier. He was instrumental in the promotion of Alexander Conze to the antiquities collection at the Berlin museum, after the disappointing efforts of Karl Bötticher (1806-1889). In 1880 he became the first non-aristocratic director general of the Berlin museums. He retired in 1905. The Richard-Schöne Gesellschaft für Museumsgeschichte was founded in 1994 to continue the aims of museology that he established. In his capacity as a Prussian Ministry of Culture civil servant, Schöne established the institutional structure of the German museums, beginning in 1878. He developed the Museum Island in Berlin, as the focal point of the German museum world.

    Selected Bibliography

    “Die Gründung und Organization der Königlichen Museen.” in: Zur Geschichte der Königlichen Museen in Berlin: Festschrift ihres fünfzigjährigen Bestehens am 3.August 1880. Berlin: Reichsdruckerei, 1880, pp. 31-58.


    Archäologenbildnisse: Porträts und Kurzbiographien von Klassichen Archäologen deutscher Sprache. Reinhard Lullies, ed. Mainz am Rhein: Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 1988: 75-76. Suzanne L. Marchand. Down from Olympus: Archaeology and Philhellenism in Germany, 1750-1970. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996: 72-74.


    "Schöne, Richard." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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