I have not visited many museums, nor have I traveled out of state much. My knowledge on museums is little to none because I am new on this subject. I have gone to the Anchorage Museum and Alaska Native Heritage Center here in Alaska. Some other museums I have visited were the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, African American Museum, and National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC. I believe a museum consists of art, history, science, inspiration to better people’s understanding of an exhibit, to make someone feel an emotion or bring that culture to them. While listening to some of the assigned videos, I got more of an understanding on “what is a museum.”  After listening to the first podcast A New Definition of Museum? by Museopunks; I see how others may have viewed that kind of institution and their input about putting a pliable definition down. A person stated during the podcast that “museum centers are like water that museums would define themselves without their community; museums have become multiples no longer singular.” What I perceived is that some foundations are decolonizing how they facilitate and store belongings. They also stated not every museum will be the same, which I agree with. Facilities operate and function differently from one another. Museums in the past were a place to go see extraordinary things or educational stuff and that is still somewhat true. What I have noticed, people visit a museum, they often see the item as just an object or piece of art, with a bit of basic information behind it. They do not see the value in it being a cultural belonging. As times have evolved, people are putting meaningful value behind an object by doing more research or asking for more context before putting it on display. More than just revenue or attraction piece to gain more audience. I do not know the inner workings of a museum or how they function. I think they should be transparent, true, while being cautious of how things are set up. An ideal museum is not something big, or extravagant, but engaging, interactive, thoughtful, not somewhat repetitive. Some museums need docents or guides, others do not. People like to go to museums to brainstorm, find useful information, or as a vacation stop.  A museum does not have to be trendy to gain an audience, maybe just needs the right information to help better understand the exhibition or museum itself. My thoughts on what one should look like or how one should be defined will likely change throughout this class as I learn more about this topic. My question is, what is one thing that caught your attention while listening and reading the assigned videos or readings? Something that stuck for me was the endnotes of Museums in Motion, Chapter 1. Stephen Williams mentioned how art, history, science, and nature museums essentially needed a collection to be considered a museum, that without them they would be just a gallery, local attraction, nature center, etc.

Example layout https://jacobyarchitects.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Classical-Modern-Museum-Design-05.jpg

One Thought to “What is a museum?”

  1. Korovin Ellis

    Something that caught my attention while reading was the debate about the necessity of collections to qualify as a museum. With recent developments in distance learning and developments in VR, the possibility of a virtual museum tour already exists. As we see more and more developments in this field, we will likely see more and more of a shift to virtual collections, just like with the rise of ebooks in libraries. Should museums remain focused on the artifacts that make up their collections as a core element of their existence or should they adopt these new technologies to increase their public interaction and availability?

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