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KSU Faculty Member websites > بكر محمد احمد برناوى > Summary of Decision HERT 301

What is museology?


Museology is science of running a museum, most frequently applied to the operations of the museum dealing with its collections rather than its administration or business operations. 

The term 'new museology' has been introduced in museological literature at least three different times at three different places. The use of the term is connected with the changing role of museums in education and in  society at large. Current museum practices are considered obsolete and the whole attitude of the professional is criticized. The profession is urged to renew itself in the perspective of a new social commitment.

A museum is ultimately a place where items of interest are kept. Most museum also have galleries, where items of interest, from science to lingerie, and there are also galleries of every kind – but not every gallery is attached to a museum. 

Items displayed in a gallery may belong to a private party, or a company, or an institution other than the gallery itself. The inventory of items kept in a gallery may be constantly changing. The gallery itself may never have a legal title of ownership for an item on display. The emphasis of a gallery is on presentation, and often on selling.

The emphasis of a museum may be almost anything, but usually one of the goals of a museum is to educate its constituency about the area of interest it represents- and a museum keeps items useful to this goal in its collection. The inventory of a museum collection may (but is less likely to) be constantly changing, but there is a focus and a central concept to guide what is taken in and what goes out. The museum may possess items on loan from individuals, companies, or other institutions- however, the museum is very likely to own, or have a legal role as perpetual guardian of, the majority of the items in care. The museum may have no obligation to display its collection; it may only be available to researches, for example. It is the process of keeping these items of interest, and the additional process of educating a constituency, that is usually encompassed by the term museology. 

A museum is defined by The International Council of Museums (ICOM) as a non-profit making, permanent institution in the service of society and of its development, and open to public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits, for purposes of study, education and enjoyment, material evidence of people and their environment.


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Summary of Decision HERT 301