When many people think of museums, they think of widely recognized museums like the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) or the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), both located in New York City, or perhaps a global attraction like the Vatican Museums situated in the Vatican City in the heart of Rome. While these massively popular attractions may be the first to come to mind, they’re certainly not the only museums with something to offer.
In fact, you’ll find museums of all sizes and varieties situated not only in major metropolitan areas but also in rural cities throughout the U.S. and beyond. All museums, despite their often-historic nature, play an important role in modern society. Here’s a look at how museums are impacting local communities.
Cultivating Appreciation of Diversity
Beyond bridging generational gaps, museums have the ability to connect people from different cultures and regions of the world by offering a glimpse into the lives of people from other regions of the world, other ethnicities, and those who have different experiences from what others may perceive as the norm. Visitors to Hawaii, for instance, can experience the Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai’I and leave with a deep appreciation for the Hawaiian culture.
Many rural communities have museums of their own, honoring the history of the town or region. While these museums don’t often receive the prominent attention that major metropolitan museums like MoMA often do, they, too, serve a valuable purpose in their communities. Visitors to any area can seek out local museums and get a glimpse into the local society and events that have influenced and shaped the region to what it is today.
Tapping into Technology for Increased Engagement
It’s not difficult to find someone who is disenchanted with today’s society. As advances like mobile technology first began to gain ground, museums lost a bit of prominence in some communities, particularly those smaller, rural areas. With new and exciting things to do and experience online, some museums became fixtures in the community largely utilized by schools.
But today, museums are tapping into the power of technology to better engage the communities they serve and gain the prominence they once possessed as a valuable staple in society. By integrating technology into the experience, museums generate interest and ignite curiosity in young minds. With features like virtual tours, children and adults alike can experience a museum without even physically being there. Combined with hands-on learning activities, museums have become an interactive, exciting experience as well as a valuable instructional resource for educators.
Bridging Generational Gaps
A trip to a museum can be an enriching experience that can help children and young adults gain appreciation for previous generations. When grandparents take their grandchildren to a museum showcasing local history, for instance, and are able to discuss historical events that they lived through, these personal stories combined with seeing artifacts from those same periods creates a sense of intrigue and wonder.
It’s not just an impact experience for younger generations, though; museums truly create opportunities for bridging the generational gap from both sides. People from older generations often appreciate the chance to discuss the things that happened in their lives decades ago, and it’s heartwarming for them when children and young adults ask questions and express an interest in their lives.
Museums have a lot to offer their respective communities, no matter what their focus. There’s simply nothing quite as immersive as visiting a museum, gaining an in-depth perspective of a niche region, historical event, culture, art, or something else, particularly when technology is combined to blend the real world with the digital and the past with both the present and the future.
Image via Pixabay by PublicDomainPictures
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