What Is a Museum?


A museum is a place where people can go to see exhibits and artifacts of cultural and historical importance. Public museums make items available for viewing, and may have both permanent and temporary exhibits. The purpose of a museum is to preserve the collection and share it with the public. However, the definition of a museum may change over time.

Changing definition

The new ICOM definition of museum acknowledges the importance of sustainability, inclusion, and community participation. The definition will be discussed at ICOM’s next governance meeting. Museums and ICOM are collaborating to craft a new definition.

Purposes of museums

Museums serve a variety of purposes. Among these are the creation and preservation of selected objects for future generations. The primary function of a museum is to preserve objects for future generations. Throughout history, museums have shifted from private Wunderkammers to institutions that foster knowledge and public understanding. Their structure has shifted from an emphasis on culture and nature to one that integrates science, history, art and technology.

Locations of museums around the world

Locations of museums around the world vary greatly, but many are found in cities. In Australia, for example, there are the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra and the Wollongong City Gallery in New South Wales. In Spain, there is the Guggenheim Museum, which was designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry. The Guggenheim Museum is located in Bilbao, Basque Country. It is a modern art museum with both permanent and traveling exhibitions.

Types of museums

There are many different types of museums. Each one serves a different function in society, and their origins and philosophy are often quite different. Some serve specialized audiences and others serve local communities. In some cases, museums may be national, religious, or political in nature.

Exhibits in museums

Exhibits in museums often focus on particular subjects or issues, such as war or the environment. These topics can be contested, so museum curators must carefully consider their decisions and the context in which they will be displayed. The content and purpose of an exhibit should be based on rigorous scholarship and the findings of peer-reviewed studies. They may also draw on oral histories or objects. Exhibits may also incorporate visual art or music. It is also important to engage stakeholders in the planning process.

Accessibility of museums to middle and upper classes

One of the most common barriers to participation is the cost of admission. The cost of admission can significantly reduce the disposable income of individuals. However, this issue goes beyond financial barriers and should be addressed holistically. Museums should consider the cultural, social, and economic factors that affect the way they are perceived by their target audience.