What Is a Museum?


A museum is a building or institution that cares for and displays a collection of artifacts or other objects of artistic, cultural, historical, or scientific importance. Some museums allow the public to view these items, and others restrict admission. Many public museums also offer a variety of exhibits or programs that educate the public about their collections.

The word “museum” has classical origins in the Greek mouseion, meaning “seat of the Muses.” In classical times, the term referred primarily to places where philosophical discussion was conducted or contemplation was encouraged. By the 16th century, it had come to denote a place where knowledge was cultivated and acquired; the term was revived in 15th-century Europe to describe the library of Lorenzo de’ Medici in Florence.

In modern times, the word museum has become associated with institutions devoted to the preservation and interpretation of primary material evidence of humankind and the environment. These materials include works of art, archaeology, and natural history, as well as artifacts from other cultures.

Some museums are private; others belong to governments. Often, government-run museums have large and complex collections and have more direct contact with the public than private ones.

There are thousands of museums worldwide. They range in size and scope, but they all have one thing in common: an incredible collection of objects that enchant visitors from around the world.

These museums are worth visiting for their amazing collections and interactive exhibits that make learning about the past more engaging and exciting. The world’s most visited museums are ranked by the number of people who visit each year.

From the Louvre in Paris to the National Museum of China in Beijing, these world-class museums are some of the most popular places to visit in the world. Each boasts a stunning collection of artwork and artifacts that spans centuries, from the Middle Ages to the present.

A new definition of a museum is being developed by ICOM and will be submitted for a vote at the ICOM General Conference in 2022. The new definition calls for a shift from transmitting expert knowledge to fostering dialogue and connections.

The process of developing the new definition of a museum began with a series of consultations with ICOM members and the public, which gathered information about what people around the world think a museum is. The results of these consultations were used to draft five definition proposals that were then presented for public comment.

After receiving feedback from the public, the committee formulated a methodology for the next stage of the process, called Consultation 4. ICOM committees then ranked the proposals and selected their favorite. The Advisory Council voted on the final two proposals and selected one to be formally presented for vote at the ICOM General Conference in 2022.

The International Council of Museums (ICOM) is a global organization that serves as a voice for museums. Its membership includes 40,000 professionals in over 141 countries.