A museum is an establishment that preserves a collection of objects and artifacts of varying significance and historical, artistic, or scientific interest. Most public museums also make these items publicly accessible for viewing through temporary exhibits which can either be permanent or occasional. Although the majority of museums are owned by individual curators or companies with long term commitments to the maintenance and care of their collections, some are supported by governmental funding, providing an opportunity for long term access to important collections. Others are supported by special grants from the government and/or private organizations, such as universities, museums, or community colleges.
In the United States, there are hundreds of museums established in every major city. In addition, there are numerous art galleries located in residential areas throughout the country. Major metropolitan cities have a wide variety of art galleries with holdings ranging from local and national museums. Major art galleries include the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum at New York, The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D. C., The National Gallery of Art in Washington D. C., The Phillips Gallery in New York City, and the Saachi Inu Art Museum in Los Angeles. In addition to the above mentioned museums, there are private art galleries located in Beverly Hills, CA; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Miami Beach, FL; West Palm Beach, FL; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; Salt Lake City, UT; and numerous others.
Major museums and art galleries typically maintain a large number of permanent art collections. They often possess several thousands of objects, which may span various disciplines and genres, including music, history, literature, science, and film. However, smaller museums and art galleries usually maintain a smaller number of permanent collections, concentrating instead on temporary exhibits and on intermission work. In addition to art collections, many museums house other types of information, such as catalogs, films and video, and audio-visual equipment.
Museums that focus on one specific theme, such as ancient Egypt, are also quite popular. There are several Egyptian museums around the world, such as the Cairo Museum, the Saqqara Museum, and the Egyptian Antiquities Museum. In addition to the Egyptian Museum, there is also the Museum of Islamic Art in London and the National Gallery in Washington D. C., both which exhibit major archaeological finds from the past and offer a glimpse into the more colorful side of Egyptian culture.
A major benefit of a museum is the fact that it helps to promote education. In many cases, a museum can draw people of all ages to it, thereby contributing to the overall economy. In addition, people who are interested in a particular subject may find a particular museum to be a rich source of information and discovery. Furthermore, certain museums allow people to use their wares or services for free, thus contributing to local economies.
Because museums have such a crucial role in our society, it is important that we do what we can to support them. In this regard, it is often helpful to donate to a museum. Many museums accept major gifts and offer tax deductions to those who donate to them. In addition, museums can also help sponsor community events and activities, such as art exhibits. These events can not only benefit the museum itself, but also the community in which it resides.