In his travel observations regarding the Pyrenees, Victor Hugo quoted a witty remark made by Napoleon in front of Auch Cathedral: "There are Cathedrals one would like to be able to put in Museums." Although being typical of an epoch this sentence perfectly summarizes the dilemma which characterizes every architectural museum.
To tell the truth, the term "architectural museum" at first sight seems to be paradozical, unless one intends it in a figurative sense. Malraux becomes the spokesman of common opinion when in Métamorphose des dieux he writes that "The imaginary museum adds the Cathedral, the Sepulchre and the cave which no one else could possess ... to every real Museum." The age of technical reproducibility has made us forget the centuries of the scarcity and difficulty of examining architectonic works. The journet--and especially the trip to Italy--was then an obligatory stage in the formation of the apprentice architect.
Dominique Poulot, "Architectural models: The birth of the museum of architecture in France during the Revolution" in Lotus International 35 (Milan: 1982), p. 33.