Museum & Cultural Identity

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Museum & Cultural Identity

Museum & Cultural Identity

A museum is a building or institution which houses a collection of artifacts.

Museums collect and care for objects of scientific, artistic, or historical importance and make them available for public viewing through exhibits that may be permanent or temporary. Most large museums are located in major cities throughout the world and more local ones exist in smaller cities, towns and even the countryside.

“Early museums began as the private collections of wealthy individuals, families or institutions of art and rare or curious natural objects and artifacts.” (Message, 2006)

There are museums all over the world. The museums of ancient times, such as the Musaeum of Alexandria, would be equivalent to a modern graduate institute. The modern meaning of the word can be traced to the Museum of Pergamon in Anatolia, which displayed artwork.

Early museums began as the private collections of wealthy individuals, families or institutions of art and rare or curious natural objects and artifacts. These were often displayed in so-called wonder rooms or cabinets of curiosities. Public access was often possible for the "respectable", especially to private art collections, but at the whim of the owner and his staff.

The first public museums in the world opened in Europe during the 18th century and the Age of Enlightenment:

the Amerbach Cabinet, originally a private collection, was bought by the university and city of Basel in 1661 and opened to the public in 1671.

the Royal Armouries in the Tower of London is the oldest museum in the United Kingdom. It opened to the public in 1660, though there had been paying privileged visitors to the armouries displays from 1592. Today the museum has three sites including its new headquarters in Leeds.[2]

the Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'archéologie in Besançon was established in 1694 after Jean-Baptiste Boisot, an abbot, gave his personnal collection to the Benedictines of the city in order to create a museum open to the public two days every week.

the Museo Sacro, the first museum in the Vatican Museums complex, was opened in Rome in 1756[citation needed]

the British Museum in London, was founded in 1753 and opened to the public in 1759.[4] Sir Hans Sloane's personal collection of curios provided the initial foundation for the British Museum's collection.

the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, which had been open to visitors on request since the 16th century, was officially opened to the public 1765[citation needed]

the Belvedere Palace of the Habsburg monarchs in Vienna opened with a collection of art in 1781

These "public" museums, however, were often accessible only by the middle and upper classes. It could be difficult to gain entrance. In London for example, prospective visitors to the British Museum had to apply in writing for admission. Even by 1800 it was possible to have to wait two weeks for an admission ticket. Visitors in small groups were limited to stays of two hours. “In Victorian times in England it became popular for museums to be open on a Sunday afternoon (the only such facility allowed to do ...
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