Museums and Heritage

Museums and heritage have an odd connection. Although museums do preserve objects of historical significance they are often seen as detrimental in terms of heritage. By removing an object from its natural setting and separating it from its rightful owners a strong disconnect is created. A piece of their heritage is being taken away, but to some museums are one of the greatest methods of preserving and sharing noteworthy objects.

This view that museums are significant places in themselves may be slightly imperialist in nature seeing as many items housed by various museums, such as the British Museum, were obtained as countries were expanding and colonizing.


The British Museum

Propelling the idea that museums are beneficial is in itself beneficial. Museums increase tourism, which is often a key way countries generate revenue.


The Elgin Marbles. Taken from one of the pediments of the Parthenon.

There is little incentive for a museum to return the items they display. As mentioned, the British Museum has a variety of items belonging to an assortment of different cultures. The museum holds a relief from Persepolis, the Rosetta Stone, and the Elgin Marbles, and there has been dispute over the museum holding these items. There have been various attempts to have these items returned to their rightful homes, and yet these items remain in the museum.


A Zuni (Native American) shrine. Some sacred artifacts, such as those depicted here, have been taken by European museums and the Zuni tribe is attempting to have the items returned, but success seems bleak.

Although keeping these items in a museum and away from their rightful owners is detrimental to those who originally owned the items, it may be beneficial for the general public. Some items kept in museums today are seen as sacred by the cultures that own them, so if some of these items were not kept in museums there is a strong possibility that most of these items would not be available to the general public, and this is the biggest problem with the issue.

Museums inform the public about various cultures and their heritage. By removing items, you prevent the public from learning about these cultures.

Museums may be bad for specific groups and their heritage, but they may just be equally beneficial to the general public.

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8 Responses to Museums and Heritage

  1. olayinkaoredola says:

    Nice post. I totally agree with what you are saying here. Things that belong to certain people, you should stay at their respected places.

  2. mbaldwin3 says:

    This is very well worded. I enjoyed how you discussed the oppositions to museums but I agree with your opinion. Good job.

  3. I agree with your point with the positive and negative connotations of museums. Its true that even though some artifacts belong to certain people, they also make it beneficial to the public to seen

  4. This provides a great point on the relationship of museums and peoples access to this heritage through museums. Museums do provide a public view of heritage, but the battle for cultures items remain. Thank you for your contribution.

  5. acanas14 says:

    I think museums are more for people that don’t like the outdoors or traveling because the museum has the same history indoors

  6. Once a item is taken away from the rightful place it just isn’t the same anymore. I haven’t been to many museums but they are a good way for seeing heritage indoors

  7. storres27 says:

    i agree it may not be fair to take items from the owners but they are better preserved and appreciated in a museum rather than homes

  8. rdiaz29 says:

    You have a point. But if those items weren’t in museums, not as many people would be able to appreciate them.

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