January 12, 2011

First Public Museum in America – 1773

Established on this date in 1773, the Charleston, South Carolina, Museum offered visitors exhibits on natural history, agriculture, and herbal medicine.

For centuries museums were private collections, usually owned by wealthy people or institutions. They were displayed in what were often called “wonder rooms” or “cabinets of curiosities.” The exhibits were meant to be viewed by scholars or collectors—not the general public—and although respectable people could often gain a viewing, it was at the whim of the owner or his or her staff.

There were some moves to make truly public museums in Rome during the Renaissance, and a few other public museums were founded some years before the opening of this Charleston Museum, including the British Museum in London, U.K., in 1753, and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, in 1765.

The Louvre is one of the world's first public museums.

Celebrate by going to a museum!

In my small town we have two small museums: a children's museum, and a “Planes of Fame” air museum. Art, history, and science museums can be found just 20 - 40 minutes away in nearby towns. What museums are near you?

Or...try a virtual museum.

I recommend the American Museum of Natural History or the Exploratorium. Lots to click and see and do there! 

There are many more possibilities here

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