I do not have much personal experiences on the inner workings of museums or just a general knowledge of museums in general. There may be different categories of Natural Museums as I have just learned. When I think of Natural History Museums, I think of skeletons or fossils of dinosaurs, extinct mammals, plants, or animals and how they may have evolved. I think they are more focused on the temporal and unique changes of plant life and human life. The collection will look different because it is being used for a different purpose and they collect based on the expertise and mission of the institution. The difference between Natural History Museums and other museums, such as art institutions or General museums is that Natural History Museums deal with more of scientific research and scholarly studies; they look at how the natural world has been shaped by humans and other interactions. Rather than how art institutions, History museums or Virtual museums use collections. Art Museums collect for all sorts of reasons; for aesthetic purposes to focus on one artist or art from a certain geographic area and to spread different interpretations on different topics. History Museums focus on a specific time or region. They tend to exhibit peculiar objects, with more historic information. Natural history Museums seem to collect fungi, plant life, specimens, paleontological data and more. After reading Species of Museums, their definition of a Natural History museum, I can agree that it seems to focus on scientific curiosity, not really entailing big historical events. By doing so, people get a clearer understanding of the natural world when visiting those types of institutions. Museums conserve and collect objects whether its displaying for the public, doing scientific research or general curiosity. I have not gone to a Natural History museum, as I stated in my last discussion post I have not gone to many places. When I was younger my family used to sell native artwork at the Alaska Native Heritage Center to visitors that had gone to experience all the activities that went on. I remember falling asleep under the tables, waking up hearing different styles of native singing, listening to the small touch screen in the Hall of Cultures going on about their heritage, going out to the village site exhibits and just wondering how they know all this information on culture, native healing plants, and natural dyes, the way structures were built. Later to find out it is because researchers, curators, archeologists, culture bearers and more made it possible. I find it cool that natural history has discovered so much more for the improvement of evolution.

(Photo of a display in Afognak Native Corporation in Anchorage)

Question: What is one good memory you have of visiting a museum institution? 

2 Thoughts to “Types of Museums”

  1. Hannah Terwilliger

    Hi Savanna!
    I really enjoyed reading your post and your personal experiences of museums, what you think about museums, and personal connections to heritage centers!
    I think a good memory of museums was when I volunteered as a presentor of the animals (lizards, snakes, etc) to the general public.

  2. Angela Linn

    Great summary of the uniqueness of natural history museums Savanna and thanks for sharing what a new experience this type of museum is for you. I hope in years to come, natural history museums are better able to integrate local knowledge of the natural world so different ways of knowing are included in the exhibits and research. It’s starting to happen and I’d love to see if we can find some good examples this semester.

    I have so many great memories growing up visiting museums with my family. We would drive to Chicago every year for spring break and always visited the Field Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry, and the Shedd Aquarium. I’m sure I would get tired and probably complained a lot, but all I remember now is being amazed by the Egyptian exhibits at the Field Museum, the Coal Mine exhibit at Science & Industry, and the amazing shark tank at the Shedd.

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