The Photography collection of the Exhibition Council > A future Architecture Museum

The Exhibition Council compiled a collection of photographs in order to represent and promote Dutch architecture and industrial art at exhibitions in the Netherlands and abroad. It also had a future architecture museum in mind. In 1842, the Society for the promotion of architecture had already incorporated the preservation of architectural drawings in its regulations. The collection grew rapidly thanks to the competitions it held and the exhibitions it organized.

Interior of the Dutch pavilion at the 1937 Paris World's Fair. Architect: J.F. Staal. Photographer: unkown. 

In 1867, the architect J.H. Leliman spoke in favor of founding an architecture museum, but the time was not yet ripe for it: architecture and related arts had not yet gained a reputation that was important enough in the cultural life of the Netherlands to warrant such a museum. The Exhibition Council, which was more flexible and dynamic, was better suited to achieve this aim than a static, dour museum.

There was little the Exhibition Council could do during the Great Depression in the 1930s, World War II and the period of reconstruction that followed. The subject of the ‘old Council', that then existed in name only, did not come up again until 1952 at a meeting on architecture exhibitions held by Architectura et Amicitia and the Bond van Nederlandse Architecten - BNA (Society of Dutch architects). The latter had been founded in 1908 and had merged with the Maatschappij tot bevorering der Bouwkunst in 1919. The meeting concluded that the Exhibition Council's cumbersome mechanism worked too slowly to organize exhibitions. Furthermore, the meeting did not see any benefit in continuing to mount combined exhibitions of architecture and applied arts.

The Council officially ceased to exist in 1955. A couple of months later, the Stichting Architectuurmuseum (Architecture Museum Foundation) was established. It was one of the precursors to the Nederlands Architectuurinstituut (Netherlands Architecture Institute) and the result of a century and a half of efforts to realize a museum for architecture.

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