What comes to mind when you think of the word “museum"? Do you think of paintings hanging on a wall? Quiet halls filled with exhibits full of relics from the past?
Or do you think of airplanes suspended from the ceiling? Perhaps hands-on experience with science experiments jumps to mind. All of these things and more can come to mind when you think about museums.
There are many different types of museums around the world. Each museum is usually dedicated to displaying certain types of exhibits based upon subject matter and the museum's specialty. Many museums go by names that don't have the word “museum" in them at all.
Let's take a look at some popular types of museums. If you love art, there's no shortage of art museums around the world. One of the most famous art museums in the world is the Louvre in Paris, France. It's the home of the Mona Lisa. Many other famous art museums can be found in New York City. In addition to paintings, art museums usually contain all sorts of art, from sculptures to fabric art.
Many cities now have specialty children's museums. What do they display there? Children from the past? We hope not! Children's museums usually feature a wide variety of hands-on activities that allow children to explore their imaginations by interacting with exhibits on a personal level.
If you love animals and nature, then you'll love natural museums. These museums might contain exhibits about various creatures, as well as hands-on activities that let kids interact with nature in ways they might not experience at home or school.
Science and space museums take children on a trip all around and even beyond Earth. If you WONDER about the world around you or what's “out there," then you'll want to find a science or space museum to tour.
Depending upon where you live, there may be a wide variety of specialty museums available to tour. What do specialty museums feature? It depends! You can find museums dedicated to trains, automobiles, ships, airplanes, dinosaurs, and more!
And, of course, there are good old-fashioned history museums. For example, no trip to Washington, D.C., is complete without a trip to the Smithsonian Museum of American History. It can be so neat to see original documents that shaped history!
Museums are probably easier to find than you might imagine. Did you realize there are more than 17,000 museums in the United States alone? How many of those are within an hour of your home? Now that's something to WONDER about!
Not all museums are buildings either. If you've ever been to a zoo or botanical gardens, you've been to a museum with living exhibits that are right out in the open instead of hanging on a wall or sitting behind glass. Have you ever thought of these types of places as museums? They are! What other types of open air museums can you think of?
Do you think you might want to work in a museum someday? It can be a fun career to work alongside historical items, helping to preserve them and showing the public how important they are. Perhaps you could be a docent, who takes people on tours around a museum. If you want to be in charge, you could be the person responsible for managing a museum's entire collection. We call these people curators!