Freud Museum

views updated


The Freud Museum, at 20 Maresfield Gardens in London, was Sigmund Freud's "last address on this planet," as he wrote to Jeanne Lampl-de Groot on August 22, 1938. He and his family moved in on September 27, 1938, and he died there on September 23, 1939.

After his death his family remained in the house: the last occupant was his youngest daughter Anna, who died in 1982. As stipulated in her will, the house was turned into a museum under the auspices of the Sigmund Freud Archives and the New-Land Foundation, a charitable fund run by the family of her friend, the American psychoanalyst Muriel Gardiner. The Museum was opened to the public in 1986.

Its centerpiece is Sigmund Freud's working environment, preserved as it was during his lifetime. The study contains his personal library, his collection of antiquities, and the original couch that witnessed the discovery of psychoanalysis. When the Freud family fled from Nazi Austria in June 1938, they arrived virtually empty handed, but all their possessions were sent on afterwards. Consequently, the Museum contains all their furniture, carpets, pictures, and other belongings, in addition to Freud's books and antiquities. Most of his papers were subsequently removed to the Sigmund Freud Archive at the U.S. Library of Congress. However, copies of many of these documents remained in the museum, and this copy archive forms a valuable resource for European scholars. The archive also includes many of Anna Freud's papers and related documents. In addition, the Freud family photo albums form the center of an extensive photo archive.

The museum attracts fourteen thousand visitors each year from all over the world. In little over a decade of existence it has also established itself as a work-place and study center, as well as a vibrant memorial to Freud's life and work. It hosts regular national and international conferences on cultural and psychoanalytical themes, as well as lectures and study seminars, and its education program reaches out to students and schoolchildren in the local community.

Michael Molnar

See also: Sigmund Freud Archives.


Appignanesi, Lisa, and Forrester, John. (1992). Freud's women. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.

Bernfeld-Cassirer, Suzanne. (1951). Freud and archaeology. American Imago, 8, 107-128.

Davies, J. Keith, and Botting, Wendy. (1989). La bibliothèque de Freud. In Eric Gubel (Ed.), Le sphinx de Vienne, Sigmund Freud: l'art et l'archéologie (pp. 199-201). Gent, Belgium: Ludion.

Gamwell, Lynn, and Wells, Richard (Eds.). (1989). Sigmund Freud and art: His personal collection of antiquities. London: Freud Museum.