A museum is a collection of objects that are used to educate people about different cultures, history and society. Many museums are large and have thousands of artifacts that are housed in a building or on a property. Some are small and have a limited collection.
In a modern context, a museum is a non-profit, permanent institution that acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment. It is an important and unique cultural institution.
The word museum originates in the ancient Greek and Roman world. Archaeological records show that there were treasuries and museums of all types, including votive offerings in temples. They were often open to the public and collected anything that might have religious, magical, economic, aesthetic, or historical value as well as curiosities.
There were museums of science, technology, and culture as well. During the Renaissance, a number of institutions were founded to collect and display works of art from various times and places. These included a museum of the fine arts, a military museum, and a collection of archaeological treasures.
Some museums are dedicated to a single topic, such as the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia or the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. Others are a combination of many topics, such as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
A large museum is often run by a director who is in charge of the collections and arranging their display. This person may also have a staff of conservators who work with the museum’s collections and arrange the care and storage of them. The director is usually appointed by a government department or by the board of trustees.
Curators of large museums are usually trained in a discipline that relates to the items they are responsible for. They are in charge of determining the best way to arrange and display the items, and sometimes conduct studies relating to them.
Researchers and historians are also often employed at the museum to do research on the objects in the collection. These individuals typically have a master’s degree in a relevant field, such as anthropology or a related discipline.
They are in charge of analyzing the objects in the collection to determine their history and significance. This information is then provided to the public through exhibitions, catalogs, publications, and other means.
The staff at a museum can include many roles, from building operator to curator of rare books and paintings. There are also security and archivists, photographers, building maintenance personnel, and more.
Some museums have a specific job description and qualifications for their employees, while other positions are performed by volunteers or staff members who work as an independent contractor.
A museum is a place to see the world’s greatest artwork and other incredible, often centuries-old artifacts that can be hard to find. In some cases, these are the stars of the show; in other cases, they are just there to draw people in.