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According to the International Council of Museums (ICOM), the definition of museums has changed over time.
Today's museums are non-profit, permanent institutions in the service of society and its development.
Museums exist for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment.
Some museums have things that visitors can do. For example, ecomuseums exist.
Museums can be about different things such as art, national history, natural history, or science. People go to museums sometimes to learn, or to simply have fun.
- Temporary or changing exhibits
- Exhibition which selects works along with some themes, e.g., a writer, a time, an area, etc.
- Permanent exhibits
- Exhibition which displays the works which the museum possesses.
Natural history museums
Open air museums
Mushitec in Fukushima is about insects
- Alexander, Edward Porter et al. (2008). Museums in Motion: an Introduction to the History and Functions of Museums, p. 2; excerpt, "Douglas Alan, former director of the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh, said that 'a museum in its simplest form consists of a building to house collections of objects for inspection, study and enjoyment."
- International Council of Museums (ICOM), "Museum Definition"; retrieved 2012-6-26.
- Alexander, p. 2; excerpt, "The American Association of Museums ... defines 'a museum as an organized and permanent non-profit institution ... which organizes or utilizes tangible objects, cares for them, and exhibits them to the public on some regular schedule."
- Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Museums" in Japan Encyclopedia, pp. 671-672.
- Miyagi Prefecture, 文化財財案内 (Cultural heritage guide); excerpt, tangible objects include "arts and crafts, ... historical documents, textiles, swords, sculpture, paintings, houses, temples and shrines"; retrieved 2012-6-27.
- Miyagi, 文化財財案内; excerpt, "intangible cultural heritage is 'human technology', such as the process of traditional Japanese sword training, traditional Japanese dyeing and weaving, traditional Japanese theater like Kabuki and Noh"; retrieved 2012-6-27.
- Simon, Nina K. (2010). Simon, Nina K. (2010). The Participatory Museum.