Museums are institutions that collect, preserve, and exhibit art, archaeology, anthropology, and other related materials. They are an essential part of a community’s cultural infrastructure and contribute to the quality of life in a region, as well as serve as educational and recreational centers.
Many museums have a long and varied history, with origins in large collections built up by individuals and groups before the modern era. They are found in many types of locations, ranging from small museums to large, state-of-the-art facilities.
Some museums are dedicated to a specific subject, while others cover a broad range of material and cover multiple categories. For example, there are art museums that focus on a specific artist or artistic movement; an antiquities museum that specializes in archaeology; and a military museum that covers war history.
These museums often have a director and curatorial staff that care for the museum’s items and arrange them for display. They also may have a research division or an education department that researches and interprets the museum’s collection for the public.
Besides these basic duties, curators are also responsible for inventory and record-keeping for their institution’s assets. If a museum has a vast collection, a curator may need to develop strong accounting skills for this part of their work. Tulane SoPA offers a Professional Certificate in Accounting Fundamentals for non-degree seeking students, which will help them develop the knowledge they need to keep track of their museum’s finances and collections.
There are also a variety of positions within the field, including archivists, photographers, and security guards. The positions of curators and directors often require a degree in art or art history, with the ability to research, plan, and present exhibitions.
Most museums have a collection of artifacts, including paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings, and other artworks. These objects are usually displayed in a gallery or at an outdoor site. Some of these objects can be very old or rare and are not accessible to the public.
In addition to displaying objects, some museums encourage visitors to participate in hands-on activities that are associated with the artifacts or their stories. These experiences can include archaeological digs, sand castle building, and other educational activities.
Some museums also have special exhibitions that are open only to the public, or that are designed for children. These types of exhibits are a way for the museum to reach out to people of all ages and backgrounds and encourage participation in their culture.
As a result, some museums have shifted their focus from collecting artifacts to making exhibits that speak to a wider audience, especially those who are underrepresented in the museum community. These exhibits can be a powerful tool for museums to address social issues.
These museum displays can also be very important in highlighting historical issues that have been neglected by other parts of society. For example, the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania uses the history of the United States as a way to educate people about the nation’s founding.