The term “museum” evokes a wide range of associations. From the Greeks, who coined the term “mouseion,” to kingly treasure houses, where the spoils of war were displayed in cages and halls of royal palaces, museum history dates back to the ancients. Early American collectors aimed to document the history of their discovery of the new world, and the term “museum” was adapted.
The main purpose of a museum is to preserve and share primary tangible evidence from the past. A museum is distinct from a library, as each item is unique and communicates directly to the viewer. This allows the viewer to learn about human history in a context that is unlike any other place. Unlike libraries, however, the artifacts themselves are a reflection of human culture and knowledge. They also serve as examples of how people from various societies lived and thrived.
There are many different types of museums. Art museums, for instance, display works of art from different periods of history. Many are divided chronologically, by artist or nation. This allows visitors to make comparisons based on visual form. For example, ancient art would lead to Renaissance art, followed by French Neoclassicism. Greek art was far less developed than Egyptian art, but there are similarities between all these periods of history. The history of museums is not one of static displays, however.
The Museum was a cultural hub of the city in the early twentieth century. In 1891, it was founded by wealthy Chicagoans who wanted to improve their city’s education. Its first exhibition, entitled “African Art,” was a popular success and the museum began to attract people from all over the world. In the late 19th century, the museum’s membership had reached seventy-four, and the Museum School was closed. However, a new educational program was implemented.
Earlier than the eighteenth century, the word “museum” came from the Greek word mouseion, meaning “place of the muses”. Ancient Egypt had a museum, the famed “Museum of Alexandria.” But this was more of a university, with a renowned library and a museum, than a display space. The first formal museum was in Europe in the 17th or eighteenth centuries, though the term has roots as far back as the ancient Greeks and Mesopotamian culture. In ancient Rome, public squares were used to display statues and religious objects. In medieval Japan, shrines used small paintings to draw good luck.
The first publicly owned museum in Europe was the Uffizi Gallery, which was originally built for Florentine magistrates. Its use later transformed it into a showcase for the art treasures of the Medici family. Until the Medici family’s demise, the Uffizi Gallery was open to the public, but it only became official in 1765. Moreover, the concept of the museum influenced the development of museums across Europe.
A museum may be local, national, or provincial, but they are all related to history. In fact, the history of a nation is the history of a nation, and a museum dedicated to this subject can have an important role in a nation’s culture. The National Museum of History in Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City is one example of a national museum. The National Museum of History has long been used as a means of raising national consciousness and providing historical perspective. The local museum can be as diverse as the country’s local museums.