Essay about Why Are Museums Important?

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The Cambridge Dictionary Online defined museums as "places of study, buildings where objects of historical, scientific or artistic interest are kept, preserved and exhibited". To The Museums Association, a museum is "an institution which collects documents, preserves, exhibits and interprets material evidence and associated information for the public benefit". Since 1998, this definition has changed. Museums now enable the public to explore collections for inspiration, learning and enjoyment. They are institutions that collect, safeguard and make accessible artefacts and specimens, which they hold in trust for society. Mike Wallace (1996) categorised museums into four distinct types, namely National Museums that hold collection of national …show more content…
This, fundamentally, is the reason why museums are so important: it offers the only extensive evidential base for the contemplation and analysis of how societies function, and people need to have some sense of how societies function simply to run our own lives (Hudson, K, 1987). As Robert Crawford, Director General of The Imperial War Museum, so eloquently put: "This is not a Museum of the distant past, but about people still alive today, their parents and grandparents. The wars of the twentieth century have affected each and every one of us in some way, and the Museum is here to tell all our stories. We cover all aspects of life in wartime - heroes, villains and the millions who are neither - and all human experience, at home and on the battlefield." The past caused the present and the present would inevitably shape the future. Fairly recent history will suffice to explain a major development, but more often than not, we need to look further back in the realms of the past to identify the causes of change. This is where museums play a big part in our visual understanding of the world. Freud Museum documents the developments in the Psychology field while London's Transport Museum is the place to be if one wishes to witness and appreciate the changes in transportation through the years. Their collection ranges from a spiral escalator to enamel signs. The Museum's collection traces