WHO HOLDS AUTHORITY OVER THE MUSEUM?

The museum has solidified its position as an institution of authority since the beginning of its existence. It functions as a generator of historical, scientific, and artistic relevance. With its main purpose being to collect and display a collection of historical artifacts and objects of significance, one may question who holds the power to decide what is deemed important. Some may argue that museums identity lies with in the hands of the ruling class. Throughout history, the social elite has continuously commissioned craftsman of all medium to enshrine their culture and preserve their legacy. Those in position did this with the intention that the “artist” would individualize their way of life enough to separate them from the poor and legitimize their superior status. They also begin to collect objects of rarity to demonstrate their access to exclusive things. Craftsmanship, individuality, and rarity are the qualities that the social elite seek when collecting works of art. To obtain or hold possession of anything demonstrates ones power and authority over all who does not. I believe the concept of a museum stems from the ruling class. The invention of the museum, in some ways, may be a result of the aristocracies desires to distinguish themselves from everyone else.

If museums originated with the hope to preserve and share the history and culture of our planet, then the wealthy funds and governs it. It is no secret that those who maintain the collections within the museums have a prestigious education, which is usually a person from a wealthy background. People trust education, resulting in the public trusting the museums decisions on what we deem significant or of quality. If we desire more of a diverse audience for these museums, we must promote local artists that demonstrate craftsmanship and thoughtfulness within their given medium. The museum must do its best to remain current with technology to help customize the viewer’s experience. We must also not deny access to artists who work in a nontraditional way. The museum has a duty to everyone, not just the elite.

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