Just because the 2009-2010 school year is almost over doesn’t mean that learning should stop. It simply means learning can grow legs and go on a field trip. Today’s field trip? The museum! It’s International Museum Day.
Alexander the Great’s Library of Alexandria (Yep, the same city which produced the windmill. Just imagine what their Chamber of Commerce sign looked like.) is credited as the first ‘museum’, keeping in mind ancient ‘museums’ were basically extensive collections of whatever.
In Ancient Greece, Socrates’ student, Plato opened The Academy, a school . . . and gallery of ancient texts, thus making it a ‘museum’.
Throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance, royals, nobles and assorted wealthy maintained various collections (texts, objects of art, etc.). With that in mind, the strange, estate-owner up the road with a bizarre love of the spoon could be called the curator of a ‘spoon museum’. Lovely.
It wasn’t until The Age of Reason (somewhere in the late 1600s) that enlightened folk decided to create what we modern folk think of as museums.
Not surprisingly, the first modern museum’s patrons were the educated wealthy. You know, just in case they hadn’t seen Duke-so-and-so’s spoon collection yet. Museums eventually opened their doors to the masses, and the general public frequented museums until T.V. came along and made museums ‘boring’. Now, museums are back to hosting the educated (read: interested) and wealthy (read: benefactors).
However, the Museum Circle of Life does not stop there. The Internet is breathing new life into museums. Instead of booking a flight to the Louvre in Paris, people can access the museum online. (The ear-piercing applause you hear about now belongs to the parents, teachers, and curators of the world.)
Whether you visit online or in person, consider the museums in your neck of the woods. Wonder what they are doing for International Museum Day? There’s only one way to find out!