Why museums still matter

For Museum Week, we ask curators, digital storytellers and Museum Directors how their organisations stay relevant in a busy age.

The definition of what it means to be a ‘museum’ has been constantly changing. The word originates in the Temples of the Muses – ancient Greek goddesses of the arts among whom were the Muses of Comedy and Astronomy alongside more traditional museum subjects, such as History.

On the surface museums seem to show us who we are but their real mission is to transform. Visiting a great museum you should emerge as a different person, having looked at your society and your place in it, and reconsidered how you will live in it – ideally for the better. 

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George Dunford is Director of Content at ArtsHub and Screenhub. He has written for Meanjin, The Big Issue, Lonely Planet, The Good Food Guide and others. He has worked in digital leadership roles in the cultural sector for more than 10 years including at the National Library of Australia, National Museum of Australia and the Wheeler Centre. You can follow him on Twitter: @Hack_packer