History of Museums - From Oldest to Modern Museums - Deepstash
History of Museums - From Oldest to Modern Museums

History of Museums - From Oldest to Modern Museums


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History of Museums - From Oldest to Modern Museums

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A museum is a place and an institution that collects, maintains and interprets valuable articles of human history and nature and makes them available for viewing to the general public.


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  • The word "museum" comes from Ancient Greek "mouseion" which meant "seat of Muses." It was used as a place for contemplation.
  • In Rome, "museum" was a place used for philosophical discussions.
  • In the 15th century, the word "museum" was used to describe the collection of Lorenzo de Medici in Florence.
  • Only in the 17th century was "museum" used to describe collections of curiosities.
  • In 1677, the collection of John Tradescant was moved to the University of Oxford and made available for public viewing. It marks the moment when “museum” starts being an institution and not just collection of items.


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Over time, museums expanded to accommodate different types of artefacts.

There are now open-air museums that have preserved buildings as objects, ecomuseums, virtual museums, history museums, maritime, military and war museums, and many more.


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  • The oldest known museum was Ennigaldi-Nanna's museum, a private collection that was collected by Princess Ennigaldi and dated from 530BC.
  • Museums started opening for the public in the Renaissance. The oldest public collection of art is the Capitoline Museum. It began in 1471 with a donation of sculptures by Pope Sixtus IV to people of Rome.
  • The oldest museum in the United Kingdom opened in 1660. It is the Royal Armories in the Tower of London.
  • The private collection of Sir Hans Sloane was a basis for the British Museum in London and founded in 1753.


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