Alan Crookham

Working Title of PhD: Curating archives in exhibitions of fine art


Dr Katharine Dorney

Professor Emerita Helen Rees Leahy

Overview of PhD

My research examines the practice and rationale for the use of archives within art exhibitions in the United Kingdom. It focuses on four major galleries: the National Gallery, Tate, Royal Academy and Whitechapel Gallery. It explores the role of archives as display items (interpretation, voice) as well as the imperatives to use archives (access, status, finance).


I am a professional archivist and currently work as the Research Centre Manager at the National Gallery, London. Previous employers include the University of Warwick (1994-1999) and Tate (1999-2005). Between 2009 and 2011 I served as Chair of the Museums and Galleries History Group and I am currently a convenor of the ‘Archives and Society’ seminar series at the Institute of Historical Research.

PhD-related Publications, presentations or other outputs

Recent publications include:

  • A. Crookham, ‘A London Landmark: the National Gallery Building’ in Masterpieces from the National Gallery, London. Tokyo 2020.
  • Barbara Pezzini and Alan Crookham, ‘Transatlantic Transactions and the Domestic Market: Agnew’s Stock Books in 1894–1895’, British Art Studies, Issue 12,, 31 May 2019
  • Alan Crookham, ‘Another Piece of the Mosaic. Trecento Influences on The Albert Memorial’ in Predella journal of visual arts, no. 41-42, 2017 [published September 2018]
  • Alan Crookham and Richard Wragg, ‘Curatorial and archival approaches to the National Gallery Archives’ in Archives and Records: The Journal of the Archives and Records Association, Vol. 39, Issue 1, Spring 2018
  • S. Avery-Quash and A. Crookham, ‘Upstairs, downstairs. The National Gallery’s dual collections’ in ‘Museum Storage and Meaning. Tales from the Crypt’, Abingdon 2018.
  • A. Crookham and A. Robbins, ‘Im Angesicht der Moderne. Die Gründung der Britischen Nationalsammlung moderner ausländischer Gemälde 1914–18’ in ‘Mars und Museum. Europäische Museen im Ersten Weltkrieg’ (ed. Christina Kott and Bénédicte Savoy), Cologne 2016.
  • A. Crookham, ‘Curatorial constructs:  archives in fine art exhibitions’ in ‘Archives and Records: The Journal of the Archives and Records Association’, Vol. 35, Issue 1, Spring 2015.
  • A. Crookham, ‘Art or Document? Layard’s Legacy and Bellini’s Sultan’ in ‘Museum History Journal’, Vol. 8 No. 1, January, 2015.
  • S. Avery-Quash and A. Crookham, ‘Art beyond the nation:  A European vision for the National Gallery’ in ‘The Museum Is Open.  Towards a Transnational History of Museums 1750-1940’, Berlin 2013.
  • A. Crookham, ‘The Turner Bequest at the National Gallery’ in ‘Turner Inspired. In the Light of Claude’, London 2012.
  • A. Crookham. ‘The National Gallery. An Illustrated History’, London 2009.

Recent conference and seminar papers include:

  • ‘The Agnew’s Archive’, Provenance workshop, The National Archives, Washington D.C., 20-21 June 2017
  • ‘The Value of Museum History in the Global Contemporary’, roundtable panellist at the Museum Studies at Leicester 50th Anniversary Conference, University of Leicester, 20-22 April 2016
  • ‘Archivist as Interpreter: Exhibitions’, British Library conference, 4 March 2016
  • ‘Order or disorder:  Curatorial and archival approaches to the National Gallery Archives’, Institute of Historical Research Winter Conference, 29 January 2016
  • ‘New or improved?  The National Gallery architectural competition of 1866’, international conference at Technische Universitaet, Berlin, 2-4 July 2015
  • ‘Another perspective on dealers and artists:  Thos. Agnew & Sons’, study day at the National Gallery, 25 April 2015
  •  ‘The National Gallery during wartime’, seminar at the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, 15 February 2015.
  • ‘Putting archives in the frame’, LUCAS AGM lecture, University of Liverpool, 16 December 2014.
  • ‘A History of Hanging! How pictures have been displayed at the National Gallery over its 200 year history’, lecture at the National Gallery, 2 December 2014 (with Susanna Avery-Quash).
  • ‘Collecting the history of collecting:  the Agnew’s Archive at the National Gallery’, TNA/RLUK conference Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities: Forging collection-based collaboration between archives, museums and academia, Library of Birmingham, 30 October 2014.
  • ‘Confronting modernity – the establishment of the British national collection of modern foreign art 1914-1918’, international conference at the Bode Museum, Berlin, 19 September 2014 (with Anne Robbins).
  • ‘Archives in exhibitions’, Korea Arts Management Service workshop, UAL, London, 18 July 2014.
  • ‘Layard and Trecento Influences on the Albert Memorial’, Discovering the Italian Trecento in the Nineteenth Century conference, University of Warwick (Venice campus) and University of Venice, 15 November 2013.
  • ‘Juxtapositions.  Turner and Claude.  Art and Document’, Association of Art Historians conference, University of Reading, 12 April 2013.
  • ‘Art or Document?  Interpretations of Gentile Bellini’s Portrait of Sultan Mehmet II’, seminar at the Warburg Institute, University of London, 11 March 2013.
  • ‘Art or Document?  Layard’s Legacy and Bellini’s Sultan’, Museums and Galleries History Group conference, University of Lincoln, 13 July 2012.
  • ‘Art beyond the Nation:  Eastlake’s European Vision for the National Gallery’, international conference at the Technische Universitaet, Berlin, 18 February 2012 (with Susanna Avery-Quash).
  • ‘The Archivist as Historian:  The publication and promotion of institutional history at the National Gallery’, seminar at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, 18 October 2011.
  • ‘Layard’s Legacy’, Association of Art Historians conference, University of Glasgow, 16 April 2010.



Alan's LinkedIn page.