Museums are institutions that protect and preserve tangible and intangible human heritage. They foster diversity and sustainability through their research and collection programs. They also serve the community by providing educational and cultural experiences and knowledge sharing. They are not for profit organizations. A museum may be an independent, governmental entity or it may be affiliated with a private or public organization.
The word “museum” has its origin in the Greek language. The word means “place of learning and inspiration” and is related to the nine goddesses of inspiration. In ancient times, a museum was a place of worship dedicated to the Muses. Eventually, the museum grew into a general term meaning a place for education and learning.
The ICOM’s new definition of a museum was a long and arduous process. Several people were involved in the committee to define a museum, but the definition did not emerge until the ICOM conference in Kyoto, Japan, in November 2017. The committee’s work was based on consultation data collected during the two previous consultations, which resulted in a final consensus. The definition was then ratified and approved by the ICOM Advisory Council on May 5th. The new definition will now be put before the Extraordinary General Assembly in ICOM Prague 2022.
In terms of qualifications, conservators typically need a master’s degree, and must have at least four years of experience in the field. In addition to this, museum internships offer a unique opportunity to experience a variety of job specialties. While most employers do not require certification, obtaining certification is a plus as it can prove that you have the knowledge and experience to be a museum curator.
The director of a museum oversees the work of the curatorial staff. This staff takes care of the objects and arranges exhibitions. Large museums may also have education and research departments that support the director’s work. Most directors report to a higher authority. This makes them a vital part of a museum.
Some cities have looked to museums for economic development. They believe that museums can revitalize post-industrial cities and spur economic growth. There are several examples of such cases all over the world. For example, in Bilbao, Spain, the Guggenheim Bilbao was built in cooperation with the local government. Although this project was controversial, it is now paying off financially for the city. In 2015, the museum attracted 1.1 million visitors.
In the United States, art museums were once unimaginable, but in the late nineteenth century, wealthy patrons began to copy the European model. Many American museums mirror the styles of European museums and have diverse collections based on the ethnic make-up of the local population. These museums reflect the ideals of their European counterparts in terms of the diversity of their audiences, and many have open-minded policies and mission statements.
While the new definition is a step in the right direction, some critics argue that it is not progressive enough. Some museum directors, for example, expressed concerns about funding implications. A committee was set up to create a more universal definition. However, the committee made little progress in establishing a working definition, and several European countries remained opposed to the new definition.