Matagorda County Museum Our Blog Why Should You Visit a Museum?

Why Should You Visit a Museum?


Museums offer visitors a unique opportunity to learn about cultures and issues that affect us all. While many people may be quick to dismiss museums as boring, these cultural institutions have mastered the art of creating exhibitions that are both thought-provoking and awe-inducing. From Senegal to Japan, the best museums in the world showcase diverse collections and transcendent exhibitions that make history come alive. For anyone who is curious about the world around them, a visit to a museum is a must.

The museum as we know it today has a long and complicated history. The idea of collecting and displaying objects that were either educational or a source of pleasure dates back to antiquity. The term museum was used in ancient Greece to refer to an area dedicated to the Muses, and later became associated with places where the arts were cultivated. In the Roman empire, votive offerings were often housed in treasuries along with natural curiosities and exotic treasures.

In modern times, museums have struggled to define their role and purpose, with some institutions adopting a mission of promoting nationalistic or patriotic fervor, others focusing on commercial gain and still others attempting to be as inclusive as possible. The challenge is not in the number of objects that are collected, but rather in how they are managed and displayed. In order to achieve their primary objective of disseminating knowledge, museums have diversified their strategies, which include catalogs, temporary and permanent exhibitions, conferences, publications, guided visits, social media, and other such tools.

As a result, there are more and more museums worldwide that are trying to find their place in the ever-changing landscape of our global society. A museum is a not-for-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, that acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits tangible and intangible heritage for the purposes of education, study, enjoyment and inspiration. It is a non-profit making organization governed by a board of trustees or directors and operates on a self-supporting basis.

The museum is a polyphonic and inclusive space for dialogue about the pasts and futures. It acknowledges and addresses the conflicts and challenges of our time, safeguards the diversity of heritage for future generations, and guarantees equal access to culture.

The definition was developed by a group of museum professionals and enthusiasts led by Bruno Brulon, who is also the chair of Icom Define, the Standing Committee for the Museum Definition. It has gone through a series of consultations with the National Committees, International Committees, Regional Alliances and Affiliated Organisations that constitute ICOM. This first round of consultation produced richly varied proposals, which will be incorporated into the new definition and will inform the process going forward. The final proposal will be submitted to the ICOM Executive Board at its next meeting in Kyoto, Japan in September 2019.