A museum is a place where artifacts are stored and cared for. The purpose of a museum is to preserve a collection of cultural and historical items and display them for the public. A museum may host both temporary and permanent exhibitions. It can be a small local museum or a large international institution.
The history of museums traces back to Ancient Greece. Many of these early museums were private collections established by wealthy individuals, which were later opened to the public. Today, museums cover a variety of subjects, including natural history, children’s museums, and archaeology. They may also house a zoo or botanical garden, or a philatelic institution.
Some museums are simply exhibition spaces with a collection of items, while others are more active in addressing social issues. These differences reflect the split within the museum world. Some museums are simply places to display artifacts, while others are active players in society, addressing issues from local to global. The International Council of Museums has a definition that emphasizes the social role of a museum.
The education officer at a museum plays a vital role in creating the educational experiences that visitors have at the museum. This job involves designing tours, interactive education programs, special events, and a variety of other activities to help visitors learn more about the museum’s exhibits. Often, education officers go into schools to conduct these programs, involving schoolchildren in a way that increases their interest in the museum and encourages attendance.
The committee is a nonprofit organization that makes recommendations for museums around the world. Its work has led to a new definition for museums that includes diversity, inclusion, and ethical practices. The new definition is based on consultations and aims to be transparent and open. It also involves a new methodology for the museum definition process. It will be submitted for a vote at the ICOM General Conference in 2022.
The definition of a museum can be complicated, but it is not impossible to define it in a simple and accurate way. For example, the British Museum has over eight million objects in its collection. Of those, only a fraction of them are actually shown. Earlier, Emily Grassie, Chief Curiosity Correspondent for The Field Museum, had her own YouTube channel called The Brain Scoop and often asked, “What is a museum?”
The term museum was first used in Europe in the seventeenth century. Ole Worm’s collection in Copenhagen was called a museum, as was John Tradescant’s collection in London. Tradescant’s catalog was called Musaeum Tradescantianum. Elias Ashmole donated his collection to the University of Oxford in 1675, and the Ashmolean Museum was opened to the public in 1683.
Many jobs in museums involve working with the collection. The director oversees the curatorial staff, which cares for the objects and arranges exhibits. Large museums also have research and education departments.