institution that holds artifacts and other objects of scientific, artistic, cultural, historical, or other importance
(Redirected from Museums)

A museum is a building[1] which is open to the public.[2] It is also the institution where things are collected and then shown to people.[3]

The Japanese Shōsō-in in Nara is the oldest museum building in Japan.



The word, museum, originates from Musa which is the goddesses of literature, art, and science who appears in Greek mythology.

According to the International Council of Museums (ICOM), the definition of museums has changed over time.[2]

The oldest museum structure in the world is the Shōsō-in in Nara, Japan.[4]

Today's museums are non-profit, permanent institutions in the service of society and its development.[2]



A museum acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible heritage[5] and the intangible heritage[6] of humanity and the environment.[2]

Museums exist for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment.[2]

Some museums have things that visitors can do. For example, ecomuseums exist.

Museums can be about different things such as art, national history, natural history, or science. People go to museums sometimes to learn, or to simply have fun.

Museums with live animals are called zoos.


  • Temporary or changing exhibits
Exhibition which selects works along with some themes, e.g., a writer, a time, an area, etc.
  • Permanent exhibits
Exhibition which displays the works which the museum possesses.

Art museums


History museums


Literature museums


Natural history museums


Open air museums


Science museums


Museum ships



  1. Alexander, Edward Porter et al. (2008). Museums in Motion: an Introduction to the History and Functions of Museums, p. 2; excerpt, "Douglas Alan, former director of the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh, said that 'a museum in its simplest form consists of a building to house collections of objects for inspection, study and enjoyment."
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 International Council of Museums (ICOM), "Museum Definition" Archived 2015-03-02 at the Wayback Machine; retrieved 2012-6-26.
  3. Alexander, p. 2; excerpt, "The American Association of Museums ... defines 'a museum as an organized and permanent non-profit institution ... which organizes or utilizes tangible objects, cares for them, and exhibits them to the public on some regular schedule."
  4. Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Museums" in Japan Encyclopedia, pp. 671-672.
  5. Miyagi Prefecture, 文化財財案内 (Cultural heritage guide); excerpt, tangible objects include "arts and crafts, ... historical documents, textiles, swords, sculpture, paintings, houses, temples and shrines" Archived 2012-04-21 at the Wayback Machine; retrieved 2012-6-27.
  6. Miyagi, 文化財財案内; excerpt, "intangible cultural heritage is 'human technology', such as the process of traditional Japanese sword training, traditional Japanese dyeing and weaving, traditional Japanese theater like Kabuki and Noh" Archived 2012-04-21 at the Wayback Machine; retrieved 2012-6-27.

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