In my Museum Studies program we spend a lot of time picking apart what it means to be a museum on its most fundamental level. We have concluded that they are repositories of history, storage houses of culture, libraries of the tangible aspects of human existence. But aside from these literal definitions we also attempt to interpret what it means to house these artifacts and seek to understand why, as people, we place such an immense and unquantifiable value on what is contained within.
One of the analogies that has had the most impact on me personally is that of museums as temples; buildings facilitating the worship of our world and all of its people, shrines to knowledge, cathedrals to beauty. Through these objects we seek to understand what it means to be human, and in the process we are faced with much self-reflection and assertion of being. We are forced to take responsibility not only for ourselves in this moment but for the past, present, and future of our collective existence. I feel this reverie when I am in the zoological museum, one-by-one piecing together the lives of the silent individuals that surround me, attempting to decipher what compels us to retain their physical selves, seeking to define and understand our relations — all the while in a state of wonderment I remain unable to adequately articulate.