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by Archaeology Newsroom

On what terms and limitations museums communicate with their public

Given the scope of the subjects mentioned by the title and the limitations of an article, our aim is to raise some of the issues concerning both the need for museums and the role they play in modern society. In an age flooded with images and dominated by computers, a museum exhibition of any kind constitutes a mass medium, but with a specific difference: exhibitions are concerned primarily with actual objects. This sense of immediacy is the basic stimulus which draws the public to museums. And ,in turn, museums function mainly, but not exclusively, as a medium of visual communication between the past and the present, between man and his complex environment. Thus museums justify their existence through exhibitions, which are, on the whole, products of their times. As to their social role, this should perhaps be assessed less on the number of people visting them and more on the potential opportunities they offer visitors to enrich their life —by bringing them into contact with a wide range of subjects and viewpoints.