Museums: The Incomplete Picture

Museums have been a part of human history for over 2000 years but they weren’t always like the moderns ones we visited today. They are referred to as institution that cares for a collection of artifacts and other objects of artistic, cultural, historical or scientific importance. Historically, the word museum comes from the ancient Greek word “mouseion” which denotes a place or temple dedicated to the muses. The muses were the patron divinities in Greek mythology of the arts and hence a mouseion was a building set apart for study and the arts. The first museum is considered to be the one of Plato in Athens.

Early museums began as the personal collections of affluent individuals, families or institutions of art and uncommon or curious natural objects and artifacts. There were often displayed in so called wonder rooms or cabinet of curiosities. The Ennigaldi Nanna’s museum is the oldest of such museum dating back to 530 BC and it was devoted to Mesopotamian antiquities. Public access to these museums was often possible for the respectable especially to private art collection but it was always at the detriment of the owner.

One of the ways in which elite men of this period gained a higher social status was by becoming art collectors of these curious objects and displaying them. Many of these items were new discoveries and since theses collectors had interest in natural science, they were eager to obtain them. These collectors used their museum as a way to manage the empirical explosion of materials that means such as wider dissemination of ancient text, increased voyages of discoveries and more systematic forms of communication had produced.

The 18th century scholars of the age of enlightenment saw their ideas of the museum as superior and based their natural history museums on organization and taxonomy. The oldest public collection of art; the Capitoline museums began in 1471 when pope Sixtus IV donated a group of important ancient sculpture to the people of Rome. The Vatican museums followed suit as the second oldest museum and it origins can be traced back to the public display of sculptural collection in 1506. The oldest museum in London, the Royal Armouries in the tower of London was opened to the public in 1660.

The list continues to the botanical museum built in Ambon in 1662 by Rumphus. Although, nothing remains of this museum which used to be the oldest in Indonesia but it was succeeded by the Batavia society of art and science which was established in 1778. Most notable museums in the world like the British museum in London, the Uffizi gallery in Florence, Italy; the hermitage museum in Russia, the Museo del Prado in Madrid, Spain; the Louvre museum in Paris, France and the Charles Wilson Peale were all established in the 18th century. The oldest museum in India, the Indian museum in Kolkata was established in 1814 and house over one million collections of artifacts.

Modern museum first emerged in Western Europe, and then spreading into other parts of the world. The first public museums like the British museum which opened in 1759 were only accessible by the middle and upper class. There were initial concerns that large crowd could damage the artifacts so prospective visitors had to apply in writing for admission and only were small groups were allowed into the galleries each day. Artifacts were collected when collectors paid initial owners or as loot from victories of war like Napoleon I did.

Museums serve the function of keeping artifacts and preserving the material evidence of the human race, human activity and the natural world. They are also used by the government for different purpose such as economic drivers through tourist attraction. In recent years, some cities have turned to museums as an avenue for economic development or rejuvenation. While some museums have solved these political and economic problems, others have failed and ended in disappointment.

Great Museums Of The World

If your definition of vacation is to museum hop across the globe, then look no farther for holiday inspiration. These museums are well worth the trip. Here is a list of the world’s greatest museums, based off the reviews from real travelers.

The Louvre Museum: The louvre museum or the musee du louvre is the world’s largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris, France. It is a central landmark of the city and it is located on the right bank of the seine in the city’s first arrondissement. It houses approximately 38000 objects collected from the prehistoric times to the 21st century and covers nearly 73,000 square meters in floor areas. For the past couple of years, the louvre museum remains most visited art museum in the world receiving over 7.3 million visitors annually.

The louvre museum is housed in the louvre palace which was a fortress in the late 12th century under phillip 11. The fortress was converted into the main residence of the French kings in 1546 when it lost its defensive function due to urban expansion of the city. During the French revolution, the national assembly decreed that the louvre should be used as a museum to display the nation’s masterpieces. The addition of I. M. Pei’s pyramid shocked many when it was unveiled in 1989 as the new main entrance. The louvre museum houses collections which includes Egyptian, near eastern, Greek, Etruscan and roman antiquities, Islamic arts, sculpture, decorative art, paintings, prints and drawing. Notable artworks are Venus de Milo, winged victory of Samothrace and Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

The British Museum: The British museum is a public institution dedicated to human history, art and culture and is located in the Bloomsbury area of London, United Kingdom. It was founded in 17543 with based on the collections of physicians and scientist sir Hans Sloane. the British museum first opened to public on the 15th of January , 1759 in Montagu house which is the site of the current building. Its houses one of the largest and the most comprehensive collections in existence numbering over eight million works. These works originates from all continents, showing and documenting the story of human culture from inception to the present.
The British museum has continued to experience series of expansion which has resulted in the creation of several branch institutions. The main attraction in the British museum is the Egyptian gallery which boasts the world’s second finest collection of Egyptian antiquities outside Egypt and the Rosetta stone carved in 196 B.C.

The State Hermitage Museum: The state hermitage museum is a museum of art and culture in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It was founded in 1764 when the empress Catherine the great acquired and impressive collection of artworks from a Berlin merchant named Johann Ernst Gotzkiwsky. The museum has been opened to the public since 1852 and houses a collection of artwork comprising of over three million items, although, only a small part is on permanent display. The art collection occupies a large complex of six historic buildings along palace embankment including the winter palace which is a former residence of Russian emperors. Other buildings are the Menshikov palace, museum of porcelain, storage facility at Staraya, derevnya and the eastern wing of the general staff building.
Till date the state hermitage museum remains the largest museum in the world. Although only five out of sis buildings are open to the public. The museum focal points is the western European art and the works of great artist like Rembrandt, Ruben, Tiepolo, Titian, Da Vinci, Picasso, Cezanne, Van Gogh are Goya can be found here. The main attraction of the hermitage museum is the treasure gallery’s gold rooms golden masterpieces from Eurasia, the black sea littoral in antiquity and the orient.