A national museum or national history museum is usually a single-topic museum, devoted to presenting only artifacts and displays reflecting the history of an entire country, usually its native country. This type of museum may focus on a specific region, such as the Near East, Western Europe, or North America, or it may be general in scope, covering all parts of the world. In the US, there are two general museums, the Smithsonian Americana and the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.
A museum history textbook is the single most important reference for a visitor to a museum. This includes all of the historical exhibits and information, both primary and secondary, that a museum has to offer. It should include a detailed timeline of the history of the museum itself, covering all of its activities over time, from the first display of artifacts in a closed-door room to the current exhibits. The textbook should also give the history of the subject of the museum, and explain any important personalities who might have been involved in the institution’s creation or growth. The textbook should also provide the full history of any geographic area represented by the museum, such as a European museum. A detailed description of any collections contained within the museum should also appear, together with a short history of the items or collections themselves.
An introductory essay can be included in the museum history book, which should provide an overview of the museum and its operations. The author should include his or her name, affiliation with the museum, and any other information that helps describe the work he or she has helped create. Illustrations or photographs can also be included to visually assist the reader in understanding the textual information presented. The essay should also discuss the impact of the museum’s past and present, and what new research opportunities it presents.
A museum history book will usually include an interpretive section that describes how objects within the museum’s collection can be used to interpret the museum’s past and present. Interpretation can be based on research about the museum, but may also be drawn from existing examples within the museum’s collection or from the history books or records of the period. The book will usually contain an introduction, the main thesis statement, and several supporting essays. Supporting essays present studies that have been previously published or are currently being researched. They help to build the reader’s knowledge about the subject of the museum history book.
Additional documentation can come in the form of photographs, maps, engravings, prints, or television displays. Photographs are particularly valuable in a museum setting because they allow the viewer to actually physically examine art objects. Maps and prints, which are very common in the history field, can provide crucial details about the museum’s activities during certain times or seasons. Maps can also be used to examine the relationships between geographical regions, as well as between specific periods of time and certain places.
If you’re interested in writing a museum history, you’ll need to make a manuscript, which will require extensive research and writing. You will be required to do your research using primary sources, which are written materials that are known to have occurred within the museum or that have otherwise been reported. The resulting book will also need to include secondary sources, which are descriptions of other works of art or other artifacts from the same period. Many museums have a writing program, such as an editing program, in which you can work with a professional writer to develop a book. Museum historians also sometimes use computer software to create museum history books.