Museums are institutions created in the public interest. They engage their visitors, foster deeper understanding and promote the enjoyment and sharing of authentic cultural and natural heritage. Museums acquire, preserve, research, interpret and exhibit the tangible and intangible evidence of society and nature. As educational institutions, museums provide a physical forum for critical inquiry and investigation.
Museums are permanent, not-for-profit institutions whose exhibits are regularly open to the general public. This definition encompasses institutions that pursue similar objectives and accomplish most or some of a museum’s functions. Accordingly, the following are also recognized as museums:
- Exhibition places such as art galleries and science and interpretation centers;
- Institutions with plant and animal collections and displays, such as botanical gardens, biodomes, zoos, aquariums and insectariums;
- Cultural establishments that facilitate the preservation, continuation and management of tangible and intangible living heritage resources, such as keeping houses and heritage centers;
- Natural, archaeological, ethnographic and historical monuments and sites.
Canadian Museums Association definition of a museum as adopted by the Association of Nova Scotia Museums Board of Directors. May 28, 2010.