Ask anyone what a museum is and most people will come up with an answer including a building and paintings on the wall. Or old stuff in displays. A somewhat older post by New Curator on the function of museums stresses education, inspiration, conservation…
A museum can be so much more, especially for its visitors. The following list gives some of the many things I’ve seen museum be and used museums for over the last year. It’s by no means conclusive. Please add.
A museum is,
- A flex work spot with Wi-Fi and good coffee.
- The perfect spot to finally read James Joyce or any other challenging book.
- A place to go on a first date.
- A place to propose to your future spouse.
- A place to organize your wedding.
- Somewhere to dump your kids when you go shopping.
- Somewhere to dump your partner when you go shopping (and need some time to decide on the right dress or suit).
- One of the schools in your life-long-learning ambition.
- Somewhere to celebrate your birthday.
- A free toilet (clean!).
- A great shop for birthday and Christmas presents.
- A meeting point and landmark.
- The starting point to get to know a new culture. (My favorite: ask local students in the museum to give you a tour and tell you stuff. They usually like it and tell great, unpolished stories.)
- A place to disconnect from work.
- A place to see a movie.
- The best bookstore in town for non-fiction.
- A wonderful organization to do a meaningful internship or volunteer work.
- A place to challenge your opinions and ideas.
- Somewhere to go with your dad and catch up.
- A quiet place to do homework.
- Somewhere to host a (business) meeting.
- A place to get inspiration for the decoration of your house.
- Somewhere to buy postcards to send around the world.
- A place with lockers for stuff you don’t want to carry with you all day.
- A place to meet new people.
- Warm inside when it’s cold outside.
- Cool inside when it’s hot outside.
- Somewhere to kill the time between meetings when in a different city.
- A venue to host a conference or debate.
- A lunchroom.
- An alternative to amusement parks.
- A place to feel young again.
- Somewhere to recharge your cell phone or laptop (usually there are sockets in the café).
If you’re working in a museum, the place can even be so much more! An incubator for social and cultural innovation, a tech lab, a university that pays you to do amazing discoveries… Aren’t we lucky to live in an age where museums are omnipresent?
Header image: The Lenin Icebreaker in Murmansk, also a museum.