Atypical Patrimony. Collecting Byzantine Art in American University Museums
American university museums became important institutions for the study and popularisation of Byzantine art in the United States during the first half of the twentieth century. Largely confined to major East Coast universities, university museums, led by Harvard’s Dumbarton Oaks, acquired significant amount of Byzantine art between the two World Wars and sponsored excavations. For the most part this interest was motivated not from personal connections with Greek culture or the lands of the Byzantine Empire, but because of the aesthetic significance and scholarly interest of this art. The French and English Mandates in Syria and Palestine aided these acquisitions, a colonial heritage of Byzantine studies that has remained little studied.