A museum is a permanent institution open to the public that acquires, preserves, communicates, and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humankind. Museums can be either living or non-living, but the definition is always inclusive of both. They are nonprofit organizations that engage in research, education, training, and documentation related to their collection. These institutions serve as a central point of cultural identity and community pride. They also foster civic pride by providing opportunities for citizens to learn about their community’s history and culture.
Several groups and individuals have taken part in this process. The ICOM’s standing committee on museum definition recently held a consultation for its new methodology. This consultation sought input from members and provided a forum for members to share their views. The report compiled from the Consultation will form the basis for the Methodology’s next steps. This consultation period is expected to take 18 months, beginning December 10, 2020 and concluding in early May 2022. It is likely that the schedule will be revised accordingly.
The concept of museums has its origins in human history. Ancient societies collected and preserved things of value for future generations. Paleolithic era burials contain evidence of collections and inquiry into the environment. Ancient cultures even created museums as a way to connect the public with their cultural heritage. A museum at Larsa, in Mesopotamia, is one of the earliest recorded examples of a museum. It was also the first museum in the world, and its influence is widespread across Europe.
A conservator is often required to earn a master’s degree in art conservation. Graduate programs last two to four years, including internships. These programs typically require a background in art history or science. Internships in conservation as an undergraduate can improve your chances for admission. While most employers do not require certification, it is a good idea to obtain voluntary certification. In addition, it will provide an additional way to show potential employers that you have the knowledge and skills necessary for the job.
General museums serve a local community. These institutions are usually founded on civic pride and a desire to increase knowledge about their community. General museums are common in parts of Europe, India, Australia, and New Zealand. They reflect local culture and may have a particular responsibility for a particular region. Some are political, religious, or nationalistic, and may provide an unusual perspective. A museum can have a diverse range of functions, and it is important to determine the purpose and culture of your chosen museum to be successful.
The curators may also have additional responsibilities. They oversee the acquisition, storage, and loan of collections. They may be responsible for research requests and oversee information technology. They may also oversee educational and outreach programs, and work with other staff to represent the institution in the media. Some curators specialize in one field such as art, or in a certain period of history. Some museums also employ separate curators for each collection. Regardless of their specific duties, curators are often responsible for the overall success of the institution.