Museums Essays

10752 Words Jan 25th, 2012 44 Pages
Museum
Museum, institution dedicated to helping people understand and appreciate the natural world, the history of civilizations, and the record of humanity’s artistic, scientific, and technological achievements. Museums collect objects of scientific, aesthetic, or historical importance; care for them; and study, interpret, and exhibit them for the purposes of public education and the advancement of knowledge. There are museums in almost every major city in the world and in many smaller communities as well.
Museums offer many benefits to their visitors, their communities, and society as a whole. As educational institutions, they offer unparalleled opportunities for self-directed learning and exploration by people of diverse ages
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Greek temples displayed votive offerings, statues, and paintings, which when displayed as a collection were known as pinakotheke (picture gallery). In the 5th century bc, the Prophylae, a hall in a building on the Acropolis in Athens, contained a collection of paintings that was available to the public.
When the empire of Alexander the Great crumbled, the motivations for acquiring objects of art and history began to change. The interest in Greek civilization created a desire for its art. As a result, the ruined, neglected, or abandoned cities and shrines of the classical age were widely looted. The Romans displayed these paintings and sculptures in public places, or they were acquired by wealthy and powerful citizens for display in their private homes. When, in turn, the Roman Empire fell, the Vandals, the Goths, and other newcomers to the Mediterranean shores looted its treasures.
In the Middle Ages, Christianity was the focal point for collecting. Cathedrals, churches, and monasteries became repositories for religious relics, jewels, precious metals, rare manuscripts, and fabrics. Beginning in the 7th century, spoils of the Crusades augmented these collections, as well as private collections. Collecting in the Islamic world and Asia followed similar patterns. Before ad 1000 royal collections of art objects were preserved in palaces and temples in China and Japan. Of particular note…