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What is the primary role of the museum in the modern world?

Museums have many roles, responsibilities and functions, some of which arose with the origin of western museums hundreds of years ago, others very new. This is a major debate in the field of Museum Studies as well as other associated fields. Some historical roles have included the museum as a place for academic research, as an educational institution, or both. Most museums continue to perform in this role. More recently the museum has been championed as a place of social interaction, a center for social justice and even a space for experimentation, invention and innovation where visitors can learn how to get involved. What do you think the museum does?

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    Nov 20 2012: Personally, I would love to see more collaboration between our existing educational institutions and museums. Museums are a remarkable center for learning specific concepts or topics and our universities and K12 institutions are wonderful homes for broader educational initiatives. Traditionally, students travel to museums to learn extended topics, but (in St. Louis anyway) there are also some remarkable outreach efforts to bring the exhibits to those not as mobile.

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