The Importance of Museum History

museum history

Museums are a unique public service that preserves our world heritage for posterity. Their role is to bring together people from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives. They are vital in our time of increasing polarization and conflict. In the face of hatred and ignorance, museums provide an opportunity for understanding and unity. Museums are often called the “keepers of history” and are dedicated to sharing stories about our past that we can use to guide us through this turbulent era.

The museum as an institution traces its roots back to 17th and 18th century Europe, but it is important to note that there were earlier forms of collecting and display, including the public squares and fora of ancient Rome (where statuary and war booty were displayed), medieval church treasuries and Japanese shrines where small paintings were hung to attract good fortune. Today, museums are the only institutions that are able to offer a global perspective on our world’s cultural history and its relevance to current events.

Whether they are located in the heart of a city or on the edge of a rural village, museums serve as an anchor for local communities. They help to create a sense of place and identity, as well as offering an educational platform for young and old alike. In a time when the world is rapidly changing, museums need to continue to evolve with society in order to meet its growing needs.

As museums work to develop new exhibitions and programs, they must keep in mind that the purpose of a museum is not only to educate but also to inspire. Museums must be prepared to challenge assumptions and encourage dialogue with all types of people. This is especially true for museums that showcase the histories of marginalized groups, such as the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C., which opened in 2017. During this divisive time, museums are playing a critical role in the fight for justice and inclusion.

Museums have a long tradition of supporting diversity, but this is an ongoing struggle. When a museum takes a stand on a controversial issue, it may be subjected to criticism that can sometimes escalate into hate and violence. The 2017 incident involving a noose left at the museum was just one of many such incidents in which museums have been targeted for their support of marginalized populations. Despite this, museums must continue to be vigilant and work even harder to ensure that they are seen as safe spaces for all people.