A brilliant way to think about museums:
The Brain Scoop
What is a Museum?
Since my personal definition of what I believe a Museum to be has changed so much over the last few years, I’ve been really curious how others view these institutions. Are they institutions? what are they about - collections, preservation, education, display, entertainment, research?
What do you think? How would you define a museum?
The word “museum” traces its origin to Greek, meaning a temple dedicated to the Muses, the goddesses of inspiration in art and science. And today, millennia later, I think they hold a similar purpose: spaces set aside for inspiration in the arts and sciences.
Different museums accomplish that in different ways.
Some museums focus on preservation or conservation, ensuring that the past survives into the future, and that we use the former to better the latter. These sort of institutions aren’t intended for everyone, at least not directly. They serve to inspire mainly scientists and those dedicated to the study of yesterday and tomorrow.
Other museums focus on education. The science is often done off the exhibit floor. These museums try to enrich the present and future lives of their patrons by exposing them to worlds past. Some have broad audiences, some have specific, but I think they are democratic: Anyone who walks through their doors can see science and art come alive.
Most museums fall somewhere in the middle, trying to do the best work of both worlds.
Ultimately, I think a museum is an institution dedicated to creating connections. A museum is a meeting point between two arrows of time, the past and the future, and two arrows of complexity, greater and lesser, that originate at the point we call us, and now.
In other words, museums are the fourth dimension.