A museum is a place where people can come to learn about history, art, and culture. Museums have different types of exhibits, and they also have different purposes. One goal of a museum is to preserve and protect the objects that are on display. These objects represent human knowledge and understanding from all over the world, and they also represent the beauty of different cultures.
After consultation 1 ended, the Standing Committee on the Museum Definition drafted five definition proposals, based on the results of the first two consultations. The committees then ranked the proposals and invited the public to comment on the top two choices. Then, the committee worked intensively to process the results and elaborate on the final two proposals. After the process, the Advisory Council met on May 5th and voted on the new definition. The proposal will now go before the Extraordinary General Assembly on August 24th in Prague.
The proposed new definition was based on a call for proposals, which the committee had circulated to its 900 members. This group received 269 definitions, and it was decided to use the shortest one. The proposal was 99 words long, and it contained two paragraphs. However, some countries objected to the proposal, saying it was too vague.
The ICOM definition of museum aims to push museums to engage diverse communities and perspectives. The definition of acquire in Merriam Webster’s dictionary suggests that a museum should be more than a mere collection of artifacts. It must be a place where people can come together to engage in social issues. The debate over the definition of a museum reflects a schism in the museum world. While some museums focus on displaying artifacts, others are actively involved in societal issues, and some are both.
The new definition of museum will be adopted by the International Council of Museums on September 9th. The ICOM represents 40,000 professionals from over 141 countries, and is well positioned to create international consensus on what a museum is. It challenges museums to cede institutional authority to communities, and asks them to shift their primary objective from transmitting expert knowledge to fostering dialogue. In short, the new definition aims to define a museum as a public institution that acquires, displays, and preserves the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and the environment.
The British Museum houses over eight million objects. However, only a small portion of the collection is on display. Emily Grassie, Chief Curiosity Correspondent for The Field Museum and host of her own YouTube channel called The Brain Scoop, recently asked, “What is a museum?” She responded with the International Council of Museums’ definition of a museum.