TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

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?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Nov 21 2012: I think the type of museum matters immensely. In general, I would say though that the primary role is to aid us in walking through what we once were. If that lends itself to historical research, so be it. If it inspires cultures obsessed with what we once were and congregate in a social sense then sure, that's that museums purpose, but I do not think that there is a museum in existence that wouldn't fit into my above definition of a purpose.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.