World Museum Day – 18th May
Why do museums intrigue us?
They remind us of the millions of years of humanity that have existed before us, giving glimpses of the cultures, life, language and riches of times past and civilization wiped out. Most importantly, they remind us, that if not saved, large chunks of history just vanish, leaving huge gaps in the evolution of mankind.
International Museum Day is celebrated every year for the very same reason – To remind us of the importance of safeguarding our history and to encourage students to visit museums, learn from them and help in their growth.
Here are a few amazing facts about museums and artifacts around the world :
- The work “Museum” was taken from the Greek word “Mouseion”, which were originally temples dedicated to muses and the arts they inspired. In around the 4th Century B.C, Aristotle opened a mouseion in his Lyceum school which showcased specimens for his zoological studies.
- World’s oldest museum was built 2,500 years ago by Ennigaldi-Nanna, a Babylonian princess. The museum dates from c. 530 B.C and boasted some of the oldest Mesopotamian artifacts.
- The Olduvai Stone Chopping tool, now in the British Museum, is the oldest item in any museum across the world. The stone dates back 2 million years and is probably one of the first few technological inventions.
- One of the most bizarre items found in a museum is a set of prayer beads made out of a snake’s vertebrae in the Rubin Museum of Art. The beads were most probably used by Tibetan monks for Himalayan Shamanic rituals.
- The largest and oldest museum in India is the Indian Museum in Kolkata which was founded in 1814.
- Archaeologists analyzed a bunch of stone tools from Attirampakkam, a renowned archaeological site in southern India. The oldest artifacts found at the site are 1.5 million years old, and were made in Acheulian styles associated with the Early Stone Age.
- The Louvre Museum, in Paris, is the largest museum in the world which has a display of 38,000 artifacts and receives about 8.1 million visitors every year. The displays that date from prehistoric times to the 21st century, are spread over 72,735 meters.