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Museum facts for kids

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World museums
Map of museums all over the world (interactive version)
Grand Egyptian Museum, Cairo, Egypt
Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum
Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor Site Museum in Shaanxi province, China
Senegal Gorée (8)
House of Slaves, a museum and memorial to the Atlantic slave trade, in Gorée, Senegal
Amsterdam (NL), Anne-Frank-Huis -- 2015 -- 7185
Anne Frank House, Amsterdam, Netherlands

A museum ( mew-ZEE-əm; plural museums or, rarely, musea) is a building or institution that cares for and displays a collection of artifacts and other objects of artistic, cultural, historical, or scientific importance. Many public museums make these items available for public viewing through exhibits that may be permanent or temporary. The largest museums are located in major cities throughout the world, while thousands of local museums exist in smaller cities, towns, and rural areas. Museums have varying aims, ranging from the conservation and documentation of their collection, serving researchers and specialists to catering to the general public. The goal of serving researchers is not only scientific, but intended to serve the general public.

There are many types of museums, including art museums, natural history museums, science museums, war museums, and children's museums. According to the International Council of Museums (ICOM), there are more than 55,000 museums in 202 countries.


The word, museum, originates Musa which are the goddesses of literature, art, and science who appear in Greek mythology.

According to the International Council of Museums (ICOM), the definition of museums has changed over time.

The oldest museum structure in the world is the Shōsō-in in Nara, Japan.

Today's museums are non-profit, permanent institutions in the service of society and its development.


A museum acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible heritage and the intangible heritage of humanity and the environment.

Museums exist for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment.

Some museums have things that visitors can do.

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.

Museums with live animals are called zoos.


  • 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.


Art museums

History museums

Literature museums

Natural history museums

Open air museums

Science museums

Museum ships

Most visited museums

This section lists the 20 most visited museums as compiled by AECOM and the Themed Entertainment Association's annual report on the world's most visited attractions. The cities of London and Washington, D.C. contain more of the 20 most visited museums in the world than any others, with six museums and four museums, respectively.

Rank Museum City Country Visitor count (annually)
Louvre Paris  France 8,600,000
National Museum of China Beijing  China 7,290,000
National Museum of Natural History Washington, D.C.  United States 6,900,000
National Air and Space Museum Washington, D.C.  United States 6,900,000
British Museum London  United Kingdom 6,820,686
The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York City  United States 6,533,106
Vatican Museums Vatican City (Rome)   Vatican City 6,002,251
Shanghai Science and Technology Museum Shanghai  China 5,948,000
National Gallery London  United Kingdom 5,908,254
National Palace Museum Taipei  Taiwan 5,301,860
Natural History Museum, London London  United Kingdom 5,284,023
American Museum of Natural History New York City  United States 5,000,000
Tate Modern London  United Kingdom 4,712,581
National Gallery of Art Washington, D.C.  United States 4,104,331
National Museum of American History Washington, D.C.  United States 4,100,000
State Hermitage Museum St. Petersburg  Russia 3,668,031
Musée d'Orsay Paris  France 3,440,000
Victoria and Albert Museum London  United Kingdom 3,432,325
The Science Museum London  United Kingdom 3,356,212
Reina Sofía Madrid  Spain 3,249,591

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