Museums have always been a fixture of school trips around the world. Covering fields from fine art, to natural history, to science, museums have always been a place of wonder and learning for people of all ages. But with all the information available at our fingertips thanks to technology, some people feel like museums are a thing of the past, like the treasures they hold, and should be relegated to the backdrop.
This is compounded by the fact that museums are becoming the source of quite a bit of controversy. Countries like China have been demanding the relics housed in museums overseas be returned to them. Other museums struggle with funding, or charge fees at a rate that makes them impractical for most people. We feel that museums still hold an important place in the world today, though. Here’s why:
While we can get a lot of information from the internet now, it’s also important to remember that there are a lot of poorly researched sources there, as well as people who deliberately spread misinformation to further their own personal agendas. Museums are run by people who are experts in the fields that they cover, from archeologists, to artists. This helps ensure that the information you’re getting is accurate.
In addition, there’s nothing quite like learning from the actual displays and seeing them for yourself. The Guggenheim museum of Manhattan, for example, has art displays that while beautiful even in pictures, have qualities that can only be experienced when viewed in person. Nothing inspires learning more than the awe of being in the presence of your subject.
While there may have been a lot of stumbling points over the years when it comes to storing and caring for art and artifacts in their care, museums have come a long way when it comes to the storing, preserving, and restoring of the items in their care. The levels of security in protecting these items from theft or damage have also gone up in the recent years.
Preservation and restoration are extremely important. Even if the information and images of these artifacts and items can be saved through digital means, it’s still very different from the actual physical preservation of the items in question. Not to mention, there are items such as dinosaur bones and other fossils that still hold so many secrets. Secrets we may not be able to uncover through digital copies alone.
While there are some more exclusive museums that charge rather high for passes, most museums have very reasonable rates, especially for school or educational tours. This is significant because if not for museums, most of these art pieces and artifacts would probably be locked away in private collections, never to be seen by the public.
In fact, a lot of the displays in museums are from private collections, shared with the public. In order for art to be appreciated, it has to be accessible, rather than locked away from all but a select few. Museums give collectors, scientists, and artists a venue to share their work without having to worry too much about the safety and security of the pieces on display.