What Kinds of Museums are Found Throughout the World? MS101


Being in a Museum Studies class is quite different from most classes that I have taken before. A relatively small class and a very one-on-one interaction with the professor made it very easy to learn and figure out what our goals are. We learned the beginnings of museums and how major museums began to pop up over the centuries and why. There are a couple of important topics about museums that we learned while in this class, which is what I will be discussing throughout this post.

What Kinds of Museums are There?

Before we could even dive into class discussions, we first had to learn about the different types of museums there are in the world and why each one is important. Museums are here to inspire us and even entertain us, though that is just one aspect of what museums do. There are many kinds of museums, ranging from children’s museums, planetariums, botanical gardens, art, history museums, etc. The list could go and on because there are museums for just about everything. I’m going to give a brief overview of some of the museums that I have just mentioned above.

  1. Natural History Museums
    • The intent of natural history museums are primarily focused education, but they could also be used for entertainment.
    • Dioramas are one of the main displays for natural history museums. They need to be very culturally sensitive, especially when people are displayed in a diorama.
      • Found in natural history museums
        • Detailed records of animals and mammals (zoology), insects (entomology), plants (botany), dinosaurs (paleontology), geology (how the earth works), etc. These can also include dioramas, but also sketches, drawings, fossils, etc.
  2. Art Museums
    • Art museums are meant to be very ascetically pleasing to the visitor. It shouldn’t be difficult for the visitor to feel calm and at peace while visiting this particular museum.
    • Art museums usually take a didactic approach to how they design their building and the contents inside. This means that there is a sense of order and structure, not a feeling of chaos that other museums might take a liking to.
    • Types of art museums
      • Encyclopedic– These types attempt to show all part of an era, genre, etc.
      • Geographic or Cultural Specific– There is a very focused collection policy that relates to that one region or culture.
      • Medium or Genre Specific- Dedicated to specific aspects of history, art, artist, etc. There is one medium, technique, genre, etc. that is displayed.
      • Sculpture Gardens– These are installations of outside sculptures, not only in a building.
      • Monographic- Dedication to one artist and that artist only.
  3. Botanical Gardens
    • Botanical gardens are living collections, cultivation, placement of a wide array and variety of plants.
      • Types of botanical gardens
        • Fragrance Gardens- Primarily known for their smells.
        • Herbarium- Herbs can be found here. They are regional, local, colonial, and defining herbs.
        • Butterfly Gardens- Contains plants that attract butterflies and/or moths.
        • Water Gardens- These are areas with ponds containing waterlilies, water-based plants.
        • Desert Gardens- These can be real or simulated types of gardens. They would contain cacti and succulents.

I have only gone into detail about 3 types of museums, but there is so much more information to learn about when discussing the importance of museums and why they do what they do.


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