Museum looks to the future

The Museum of Art and History in Geneva currently has an exhibition devoted to...museums.

This content was published on February 18, 2000 - 14:05

The Museum of Art and History in Geneva currently has an exhibition devoted to...museums.

It examines the changing role of museums from the 19th century to the present day and looks ahead to how their function will be shaped by new technologies in the future.

"A hundred years ago the main function of a museum was to house and protect works it had collected," says Claude Ritschard, curator of the Geneva museum, "and those collections were only seen by a select few. They were rarely open to the public."

But as the exhibition shows, museums have now become multi-functional instruments for the acquisition and sharing of knowledge about their contents - and, of course, appreciation of them. They play an increasing role for researchers and as a teaching tool for school students.

Ritschard points out that the evolution process has not been without problems, some of which still need to be tackled: "Many of the older ones are short of space. Not only have collections grown thanks to donations and acquisitions, but these days more space is needed around works being exhibited."

Many older museums - including the Museum of Art and History in Geneva - are undergoing renovation work which can increase exhibition space. But it is generally agreed that in the long term the only solution is to build more museums.

As part of the exhibition - which ends on June 11 - the Museum of Art and History has organised an international symposium for May 11 and 12 on the transformation of museums.

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