Ap Synthesis Essay: Museums

712 Words Jun 8th, 2008 3 Pages
Museums have long served a purpose as cultural staples. For every museum, big and small, careful consideration is used in selecting its contents. When securing new items for a museum, it is most important to consider public appeal, educational value, and cost-effectiveness.
What makes a museum different from a billionaire’s private collection is patronage. Thus, a museum must be able to attract visitors interested in its displays. This captivation of interest should be for the purpose of entertainment. No one wants to go to a dull, boring museum and look at dull, boring paintings. One museum that capitalized on human intrigue was that of Charles Wilson Peale. Peale established the first natural history museum in the United States. (AP
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Quoted by Handler and Gable, critic Ada Louise Huxtable declares the newly constructed reproduction of Colonial Williamsburg as “too clean,” arguing that it “does not include the filth and stench that would have been commonplace.” (Source E) This sanitation of the truth completely misrepresents history, and the educational value greatly suffers. Conversely, the National Museum of the American Indian hopes to avoid this lack of judgment by dedicating itself to the “preservation, study, and exhibition of the life, languages, literature, history, and Arts of Native Americans.” (Source C) The main goal of the museum is to “span all major cultural areas” (C) and educate the public about and preserve the rich history of such a vast culture. The authenticity and significance of artifacts are important to representing culture and history, and the ability of these artifacts to educate should be a key factor of the selection process.
Although a cultural center for entertainment and education, a museum is, at its core, a business. Being such, it must operate as such. Obtaining and maintaining valuable artifacts is expensive; procurement, transportation, upkeep, and security are some of the many costs involved. The revenue generated by the museum has to be sufficient enough to cover these large expenses. For that reason, the cost-effectiveness of a piece must be considered. A famous piece, such as the Mona Lisa, will…

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