Open Air Museums - Definition

Definition

The International Council of Museums (ICOM) defines a museum as "a non-profit-making, permanent institution in the service of society and of its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits, for purposes of study, education and enjoyment, the tangible and intangible evidence of people and their environment." Most open-air museums specialize in the collection and re-erection of old buildings at large outdoor sites, usually in settings of re-created landscapes of the past. Most of them may therefore justly be described as building museums. Open-air museums tended to be located originally in regions where wooden architecture prevailed, as wooden structures may be trans-located without substantial loss of authenticity.

Common to all open-air museums, including the earliest ones of the 19th century, is the teaching of the history of everyday living by people from all segments of society.

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