What is the over-all purpose of a museum and how do they function?
Most of us a familiar with museums and sometimes travel great distances to visit one, but how often have we really stopped to ponder their significance? Or for that matter, what the definition of a great museum really is?
First and foremost, museums collect significant artifacts of importance, whether in the fields of science, art or history itself. The care of these artifacts is a prime directive of all good museums. The next thing of importance to a museum is, of course, exhibition of priceless or interesting objects to the general public.
This was not always so.
In the days of yesteryear, museums were usually private collections on private property for the exclusive viewing of select individuals. In today’s world, most museums are open to the public for a nominal fee and operate as non-profit entities. Many publicly funded museums are usually free to the general public with perhaps a modest entrance fee charged for very special and expensive exhibits.
Today’s museums are place of history and learning. Besides the care and display of priceless objects, their purpose is to educate and uplift the community, both local and at-large. Museums can be great centers of culture and of cultures. One can learn ancient Egyptian history through the displays of traveling Egyptian art and history shows, or learn about Impressionism by studying first hand, the great works of Monet, or Renoir, or Van Gogh.
Most major cities across the globe are home to the world’s greatest museums but many small towns and cities also boast great museums, such as the Springville Museum for the Arts in tiny Springville, Utah or the Zigler Art Museum in Jennings Louisiana.
Well-respected museums are constantly at work, not only to keep their artifacts upgraded and in good condition, but to bring arts and history to their location on a continuous basis.
And all for us.