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What is the purpose of a museum? Answer with reference to at least three examples

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What is the purpose of a museum? Answer with reference to at least three examples Museums are essentially institutions that collect and care for objects of historical or cultural importance and make them available for public viewing. Museums are very accessible to the public, often with free admittance and the information available is easy to read. There exists a wide range of topic and scope for which a museum is dedicated to. Despite a diverse range of themes, they all more or less have in common how they function, their contribution to society and their purposes. To explore the latter is the topic of this essay. Perhaps the most immediate function of a museum is to physically store historical artefacts, artwork etc. and intervene in the decay of such important items. The generic format for most museums is exhibits of artefacts, usually in lit vacuum display cases, are shown with bold, easy-to-read information regarding the artefact next to it. The cases are safely sealed, protect the artefact and allow for viewing. Museums are a popular days out to people of all ages, intellect and historical knowledge. In addition to the exhibits and aesthetics of the place, there are usually other activities that should be pleasurable. ...read more.


Rather a fortunate by-product of some museums? existence than a specific purpose, the grandeur and aesthetics of some museums such as the V&A Museum with its immense, lavishly decorated rooms can be quite overwhelming and may inspire people to be more interested in the contents of the museum and history in general (Sacks 1993, 78-80). An important function of many museums is to house and catalogue primary documents, photos, etc. that are important for academic research. Often, such documents are of age and fragile and are preserved in a specialist way. The Imperial War museum in London is a prime example of this as it protects about 11,500 documents such as original photographs, soldiers? letters, administrative items like records of the Nuremberg trails and manuscripts of notable war poets Isaac Rosenberg and Siegfried Sassoon. (IWM website, History of IWM London) Of these 11,500 items, the museum displays a large number. The greater understanding of our heritage that comes from museums can instil pride and identity. We obtain much of our identity from communities we are born into or we chose to belong to (Macmillan 2009, 53). On a worldwide scale; the V&A contains an immense collection of artefacts from across the globe, of all human cultural and artistic accomplishment. ...read more.


understand where they came from or an understanding and appreciation of a specific event such as what a visit to the preserved concentration camp Auschwitz and holocaust museum in Poland surely offers. Overall, there clearly are numerous, important purposes of a museum and the work they do. It is vital to preserve the past because it gives us better understanding of our current. As historical items, buildings and sites will only decline in number, items that have survived thus far should be preserved for future generations? benefit. Museums achieve this goal effectively in addition to giving a great number of other positive contributions to society such as education, inspiration, entertainment and instilling identity. A Brief History of the Museum. (n.d.). Retrieved April 23, 2010, from Victoria and Albert Museum: www.vam.ac.uk/collections/periods_styles/features/history/brief_history Corsane, G. (ed.) 2005. Heritage, Museums and Galleries - An Introductory Reader. London: Routledge. History of IWM London. (n.d.). Retrieved April 29, 2010, from Imperial War Museum: www.iwm.org.uk/server/show/nav.1220 Macmillan, M. 2009. The Uses and Abuses of History. Suffolk: Profile Books Ltd. Sacks, O. 1993. ?Remembering South Kensington? in Discover 14. Smith, L. 2006. The Uses of Heritage. London: Routledge. Sorensen, M. and Carman, J. (eds.) 2006. Heritage Studies: Methods and Approaches. London: Routledge. What's on around the country . (n.d.). Retrieved April 2010, 30, from The National Trust Website: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-events.htm ...read more.

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