Museums have a central place in the cultural pattern of modern Europe and of the European-influenced world. Museums, objects and collections are the three faces of a cultural triangle, each showing different features to the world, but together making up a whole. The study of the various theories and cultural traditions that lie behind museums, the role of museums in contemporary society and the symbolic nature of objects, collections and exhibitions are an essential part of the work of museum professionals. They relate to their everyday practice, and every single museum decision is a philosophical act which arises from a cultural context and has cultural implications. Museums and their collections are a part of the wider world of society and its material culture, and so a cultural study of museums must both reflect that world, and lead to its better understanding.