Matagorda County Museum Our Blog The New Definition of the Museum

The New Definition of the Museum

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The word museum evokes thoughts of art, history, culture and learning. But museums are so much more than a collection of works of art, and they can help people from all walks of life understand what it means to be human. From exploring the wonders of nature to gaining a deeper appreciation for our ancient past, museums provide a unique opportunity to inspire us to live differently.

Museums, which include galleries and exhibition spaces, collect, conserve, document, research, share, and interpret cultural heritage for the benefit of society. They are public or private, non-profit or for-profit institutions that can be open or closed to the public. The term museum is derived from the Greek word museion, which was a temple and place dedicated to the muses, who inspired music and art. Museums today, however, are dedicated to many other aspects of human life.

While some museums may be more well-known than others, the fact is that they exist all over the world and serve a wide variety of visitors with a range of interests. Museums are not just places to preserve and display artefacts; they offer a range of other services, from education and entertainment to community space and activism. As museums increasingly adapt to meet the needs of a changing world, they must be mindful that their definition of what makes them distinct should evolve along with it.

With the approval of a new definition of the museum at an Extraordinary General Conference in Prague, the international museum community has taken an important step towards the future. The new definition is a framework for action and a roadmap to guide museums in their efforts to meet the demands of a world facing economic uncertainty, social disruption, health challenges and climate change.

A new methodology has been formulated to allow greater transparency in the process of developing the definition and ensure that all voices are heard. The Standing Committee for the Museum Definition, Prospects and Potentials (MDPP) has launched a new phase of consultation that will see 4 rounds of consultation, with an expected timeline to conclude in early 2022.

Whether it is through art, history or culture, the most famous museums all over the world beckon visitors with their carefully curated collections and transcendent exhibitions. Despite those who are quick to dismiss museums as boring, the best ones are able to make people think differently about society. So next time you find yourself in a rut, why not spend the day at one of these inspiring museums?