May is Museum Month

All About Museums

There are many different kinds of museums. They may be located indoors or outdoors. All are storehouses of interesting things. The word museum comes from the Greek word “mouseion,” meaning “Place of the Muses.” The first museum in the world was established around 330 B.C. in Alexandria, a Greek city in Egypt. The museum included temples, gardens, a zoo, and a library. This museum was built to honor the Muses, nine daughters of Zeus who were believed to be protectors of the arts and sciences. Today, education is a strong component of museums. The collections of objects inside museums – books, artwork, scientific specimens, and cultural artifacts – connect people to the full spectrum of human experience: culture, science, history, religion and art.

Art museums feature paintings and sculptures. Natural history museums contain dinosaur skeletons and examples of animal and plant life. Museums of science and technology have many interactive exhibits. Creation museums explain the origins of life based on the Biblical account. Historical museums may cover the history of a region, city or town. Children’s museums specialize in exhibits created for and sometimes even by children. Special types of museums include: zoos (collections of animals); botanical gardens (collections of plants); and libraries (collections of books and writings). Virtual museums and online exhibits provide an opportunity to view objects from famous museums all over the world.

For a fun and educational field trip, plan on visiting a museum near you! Check out the directory of museums (many of which have online exhibits) at the Virtual Library museum pages: http://museumca.org/usa/index.html

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