The Importance of Museums: Preserving Local Culture

museumsMuseums play a crucial role in preserving local culture. With careful documentation and artifact preservation, a culture can be recorded and remembered regardless of its future. It can also be shared and understood by those from different cultural backgrounds. Here are a few of the reasons museums are so essential for cultural preservation.
They Document Daily Life
Recording everyday life within a culture is one of the most important pieces of preserving it. With the rate at which cultures are disappearing, careful preservation of daily life is the only hope a heritage group has for recovering its culture. Daily life encompasses rituals, religion, foods, art, and any other facets that make a culture unique. Regardless of what type of museum it is, odds are it has some cultural artifacts, art, music, or technology displayed.
They Educate Others on Local Culture
In order for a culture to be respected and survive globalization, those of the dominant culture must be educated about minority cultures and their way of life. The best way to do this is through a respectful display of local culture in a museum. With an educated populace who respects minority cultures, culture loss suddenly finds itself decreasing.
Furthermore, museums are a wonderful place to take children for both fun and education. They offer hands-on learning with knowledgeable employees and visual aids to hold any child’s attention and will likely give you other ideas on how to incorporate hands-on learning into your child’s education once you leave. The earlier a child is educated on the importance of accepting and embracing diversity, the more likely they are to become kind, tolerant adults.
They Display Alternative Perspectives on History
Many mainstream history courses and books are biased, focusing on the perspective of the dominant culture and ignoring the thousands of minority cultures with fascinating history to be told. Museums display histories, timelines, and perspectives you may have never heard before, potentially altering the mindsets of people who have simply never been educated outside the mainstream culture.
This differing perspective is something any well-informed person should have. When viewpoints are only taken from one’s own culture, they find themselves severely limited.
They Connect Those of Different Backgrounds
Two types of people will visit museums in search of information on other cultures: People with that heritage, and people interested in learning about that heritage who come from a different background. Museums focused on heritage and culture bring people together, creating a network of support for different minorities and groups. It is support networks like these that prevent cultures from disappearing and languages from dying.
Museums and their patrons are critical components in the effort to prevent culture and language loss. These losses occur when the minority culture feels inferior or unimportant and strives to make its children like those of the dominant culture. By using a museum to cultivate respect and interest in these minority cultures, we are already working to prevent cultural losses.
Catherine Workman grew up in a small town where she yearned to stretch her wings. Now that she’s left the nest, she spends every available weekend exploring different cities across the country and someday, across the world. She started WellnessVoyager.com with her friends to share her travels and experiences and hopes to inspire others to embrace the hidden gems of the world.
Image via Pixabay by johnhain

Related Posts
Showing 2 comments
  • Regan Brown

    Hey I wrote this!! I was trying to find a good source for another article and stumbled across some very familiar writing. What happened to all my cool, hyperlinked sources?

    • Deb

      Hello Regan. We obtained your article from Catherine Workman. As the administrator for the NJ Maritime Museum web site, I tried to post the article as we received it. But all the hyperlinks were ignored in the transcription. I tried to restore them but failed. I have written to our webmaster and asked for help in recreating the article with the hyperlinks included. That is where we stand right now, waiting for the webmaster to respond. If you disapprove of having the article on our web site without the hyperlinks, I will take it down until we can post it with the hyperlinks. My apologies for the omissions. Dave Swope, Volunteer for the NJ Maritime Museum.

Leave a Comment