What Is a Museum?


A museum is a place where people can learn about different cultures. They can also visit a museum to see objects and artifacts that have a particular historical or cultural significance. These institutions care for and display collections, and most public museums make the items they have on display available for public viewing. Some exhibits are permanent, while others are temporary.

The International Council of Museums (ICOM) has been developing a method to define a museum. This process will include four rounds of consultations and 11 steps. The process is expected to take 18 months to complete, with a vote at the ICOM General Conference in 2022. However, it is expected that the schedule may be adjusted depending on the results of the consultations.

The debate over what a museum is also reflects the split within the museum world. While some museums only focus on exhibiting artifacts, others are dedicated to addressing social issues and engaging with the public. As such, there is no universally accepted definition of a museum, and many governments use a variety of definitions to define what a museum is.

Different people visit museums for different reasons. Some visit a museum for educational purposes, others to recharge, and a few go in search of awe-inspiring objects. As such, the field of museum research is now taking a more holistic approach to learning, participation, and deep audience engagement. Those who seek an education may find more value in a museum than in a traditional classroom.

General museums are often non-profit institutions, whose purpose is to serve the local community. Their missions are often based on civic pride, and they aim to promote knowledge about the area. They can also attract visitors and improve the quality of life in a community. Depending on their purpose, they can even promote nationalistic endeavors or transmit overt ideologies. Whatever the case, a museum’s mission is a worthy pursuit, and they should be viewed as a community asset.

The Standing Committee on the Museum Definition adopted a revised methodology with new aims. This approach aims to provide more transparency, a more democratic process, and a thorough consideration of proposals from the public. The new definition will be voted upon at ICOM’s Extraordinary General Assembly in Prague in August 2022.

The International Council of Museums (ICOM), a Paris-based nonprofit representing the interests of museums around the world, recently reshuffled its committee to define museums. Some members of the committee have left their posts, including the president. As a result, it appears that a new definition for museums will need to be developed.