Museums are what connect the present to the past. They are at the threshold of all things changing and everything that once was. Museums small and big contain treasures that are valued and appreciated by those who enjoy rich cultural, social and historical experiences.
International Museum Day is celebrated every year on May 18. Introduced by the International Council of Museums, it has been celebrated every year over the past 43 years, since 1977.
Today, it is also true that museums face the challenge of staying relevant and keeping people interested. During an exclusive interaction with indianexpress.com in 2019, museum man Vinod Daniel had said the museum sector in India “needs a good shake-up”.
“One of the things that we probably haven’t done here in India, which institutions in Europe, the US, Australia, New Zealand have done, is that they have put in more substance. We call this relevance. The biggest debate at this stage is, ‘are museums relevant?'” he had said.
While we put this debate for another time, some time after we are done dealing with the pandemic, on the occasion of International Museum Day today, here are five of the most interesting and prominent museums from around the world which you must visit, if you have not done so already. Read on.
Did you know that this museum was founded in 1929 as an educational institution? The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is dedicated to being the world’s foremost museum of modern art. Its collection boasts of famous artworks like ‘The Starry Night’ by Vincent Van Gogh, ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’ by Pablo Picasso, self-portraits by Frida Kahlo, etc.
This is the world’s largest museum and research complex with 19 museums. It was founded in 1846 with funds from James Smithson (1765-1829) according to his wishes, “under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” The Wright brothers’ 1903 Flyer, the Apollo 11 command module at the National Air and Space Museum entices most visitors.
The gorgeous museum invites — or used to, before the pandemic — visitors from all over the world. The grand palace that houses the museum, dates back to the late 12th century. It is a lesson in architecture, for from 1200 to 2011, many innovative architects have built and developed the Louvre. Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’ is its most famous attraction.
The British Museum was founded in 1753, and it opened its doors in 1759. It was the first national museum to open to visitors from around the world. Its Egyptian gallery has on display the world’s second finest collection of Egyptian antiquities outside of Egypt.
This museum was constructed in 1901 by Garozzo-Zaffarani, an Italian construction company. Did you know the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities has about 1,20,000 items? There is the famous gold mask of Tutankhamun, which is made of 11 kg solid gold. Many other such attractive exhibits entice visitors.