New Church Life March/April 2017 - Page 72

new church life: march/april 2017 museum is sharing its mission with the broader community 4. Preserving the Past and Looking to the Future: How the museum is preserving its collections and the building; next steps for Glencairn and the Historic District Brian noted that museums in the United States are a $698 billion industry; they spend more than $2 billion a year on educational activities; preserve and protect more than 1 billion objects; and are visited by 850 million people a year – more than all major league sporting events and theme parks combined. He asked Retreat attendees how many had visited a museum in the past year and to reflect on: What experience had the most impact? How were you enriched by your visit? And are museums still important and relevant in our culture today? A primary use, of course, is education: bringing to life what is taught in the classroom and developing appreciation and empathy for other people and cultures. Research has shown that children who visit a museum during kindergarten have higher achievement scores in reading, mathematics and science in third grade than children who did not. What museums do is tell stories. They use artifacts to tell about people and history, about their lives and values, and promote better understanding of our collective heritage. Brian offered several testimonials from experts in the field: • “Access to museums . . . allows everybody to enter another world, think of another world, see the world from somewhere else, reimagine their own world, reimagine themselves. . . . The point of the museum is to allow the citizen to be a better citizen.” Neil MacGregory, Director of the British Museum • “In every museum there is a little bit of you, whether it’s a recognition that history does mean something to you – and that maybe you should have listened harder at school – or finding that one object that makes your heart sing.” Tamsin Loveless, National Maritime Museum, Cornwall • “Museums are magical places. They are treasure troves of interesting stuff that make us think and see the world and our place in it differently. They have the power to make us stop and wonder and be curious, to challenge our views, and ask new questions.” Miriam Bader, New York Tenement Museum “These are just a few of the reasons why museum professionals and researchers believe that museums are important today,” Brian said, “but why 138