Matagorda County Museum Our Blog What Is a Museum?

What Is a Museum?


A museum is a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development that acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment. There are many types of museums, from very large collections in major cities, covering a wide range of the categories below, to small museums that may focus on one particular location or subject, such as a local history museum, aviation museum, children’s museum or natural history museum.

Whether you think of hushed halls with a musty smell or bustling centers full of kids running hither and thither, museums are all about the treasures they hold. But a museum is more than that, as it also houses a staff that preserves and interprets the collection for us to see. It is the resulting combination of these three aspects that makes a museum what it is.

The new Icom definition challenges museums to be democratising, inclusive and polyphonic spaces where different voices are heard and debates take place about the past, present and futures of our world. They safeguard diverse memories for future generations and guarantee equal access to heritage for all.

What are the most famous museums in the world? From the iconic Mona Lisa to the jaw-dropping collections in the National Museum of Egyptian Art, these incredible institutions captivate visitors with their carefully curated exhibitions. They make you look at history, culture and the arts in a completely new way. And while some people might be quick to dismiss museums as boring, the best ones enlighten you, challenge your assumptions and leave you with something to take home.

Located in the heart of Paris, the Musée du Louvre has the most famous paintings in the world including Leonardo da Vinci’s The Mona Lisa and the enigmatic Coronation of Saint Louis. Its long lines of visitors show just how popular it is. It is the second most visited museum in the world and has a reputation that is hard to match.

The museum is also known for its collections of ancient Egyptian art and Egyptian history, Oriente Islamic art, Asian art, classical Greek and Roman art, and European modern and contemporary art. In addition to its main building, the Musée has several satellite museums and sites around France.

There are two major kinds of museums: natural history and art museums. Natural history museums are usually located on or near historic sites, and they don’t stray far from that history. Art museums, on the other hand, often specialize in a particular genre or a certain time period.

Some museums are called “living.” They collect live specimens, such as animals and plants, and are a form of natural history. Other museums are dedicated to the memory of a person, place or event. The Holocaust Memorial in Yad Vashem, Israel is a prime example, with the Hall of Names where names of the victims are read, and the harrowing underground museum that lets you see what it would be like to walk through the tunnels of the death camps.