Museums Of London Essay, Research Paper
. The obsession of our era with museums is an intriguining phenomenon with many possible causes. Perhaps the first query we need to ask of ourselves is what has changed in society to cause this shift in priorities which has stimulated the massive new interest. The trends towards self improvement and the recent technology craze are two of the central influential trends which I feel have most directly caused the recent influx of museum interest. With more direct links to the public through mediums such as the television and internet, public awareness of museum exhibitions and special cultural opportunities is much more acute also explaining the increase in public interest. The demand then stimulates the industry and so more museums open every day. Today s trend towards self improvement, specifically the awareness of the importance of education and culture, is one that has many fewer class barrriers than historically such priveledges carried. It is not unusual to see a woman in a fur coat perusing the same gallery as a student in torn jeans. Historically, the vast opportunities offered by great museums were restricted to those affluent enough to have the time and connections to organize a visit to museums. Now, with so many free admission museums and such high public awareness, it is easy to pop into any number of institutions. As a result of this increase in visits, the first time visitors cultivate a new interest resulting in even more demand explaining the massive amounts of new museum openings. I feel that the technology craze has also contributed to the influx of cultural entertainment seekers. With our world becoming more and more globally interconnected each day, there is new interest in foreign cultures. The easiest way to satisfy these new interests is to go to a museum where at your fingertips lies the keys to any country or heritage of your choice. Wheras a century ago there was much less connection between say the UK and China, today we hear not only the news from China on the evening news but the two
countries economies are in many ways interdependant. For a UK citizen to satisfy their curiosity about Chinese culture, a trip to China is not necessary as a short trip to the British Museum houses an immaculate Chinese collection of articles from all different dynasties. This recent awareness and curiosity created by the global world we live in has without a doubt stimulated the museum industry. The question then becomes, do the museums existing satisfy these expectations that we as the public have, or are they somehow insufficient and in what ways? The first important aspect to note is that there are many more than one reason that people go to museums. I have discussed why I feel there has been such an increase in interest, yet there are many more motivations than simply curiosity or self improvement. Do museums then satisfy all expectations? I think not. I would instead subscribe to the thoughts that as a client(excuse the rough terminology) of museums we may find certain galleries that cater to our particular reasons for visiting them while others will be in the business for completely different reasons. Many are motivated by profit, while others are national suppositories, and still their are distint differences in who the museums are catering to. I feel that for whatever purpose the museum is opened, it is most likely a valid endeavor and the only problem I have with the existing system is that the typical individual knows very little of the actual behind the scenes decisions, especially in the cases of public institutions. As a supporter of the museum industry, I feel more direct public involvement is an aspect that most curators do not give enough weight to in their decision making. Although I disagree that we need be cautious of museums and the social control they hold, I do feel that the purchasing choices made by curators and their special exhibition choices should be more influenced by the public they serve and less by the personal likes and dislikes they hold.