Museum is a place where valuable knowledge can be gained at once. It is a non-profit institution for public, exhibiting the historical or cultural heritage. Museums encourage us to learn the past and make better in the future. It is an institution which preserves the material evidence of the human race, culture and history. Museum and its architecture represent the country’s standard.
ETYMOLOGY OF MUSEUMS
Lewis (2017) claimed that the word, “Museum” was derived from the Greek word, “Mouseion” that meant “seat of the Muses” and specified as a philosophical organization or a place for discussing and observation in Roman times. During the 19th and most of the 20th century, the word “Museum” is used to indicate a building housing cultural material to which the public had access. Later, as museums continued to respond to the societies that created them, the emphasis on the building itself became less dominant and museums or study with outdoor environment like open-air museums, eco museums were established. Furthermore, virtual museums exist in electronic form on internet. Although the virtual museums have opportunities and benefits to the existing museums, they still need depend on the processes such as collection, preservation, and clarification of materials and facts made by the real museums. Museums have a long history, dating back to Ancient Greece. Many early museums were private, established by wealthy individuals, and later made public.
TYPES OF MUSEUMS
There are several types of museums in the world to be classified. They are classified according to their diverse origins, different philosophies, funding sources and nature of the museum collections. Basically, museums can be classified into (5) categories:
- General museums
- Natural history and natural science museums
- Science ad technology museums
- History museums
- Art museums.
General Museums – They are also called as multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary museums as these museums display more than one type of collections. National museums, children’s museums and museums, which serve a region or local area are some examples of general museums. Natural history and natural science museums – Science ad technology museumsHistory museumsArt museums.
HISTORY OF MUSEUMS IN MYANMAR
Phayre Museum(Naing, 1980) claimed that the first museum of our country is called Phayre Museum. It is named in honor of Sir Aurthur Phayre who was selected as a commander of Bago Division. In 1871, the Phayre Museum was built in the gardens of the Yangon Agri-Horticultural Society where Yangon General Hospital is situated nowadays. Bagan Archaeological MuseumAccording to (Department of Archaeology and National Museum, 1997), Bagan Archaeological Museum was established near Ar Nandar Pagoda in Bagan in 1903.
It was the first museum after Myanmar had been taken over by the British. In 1942, the artifacts of this museum were buried in order to prevent from destructions in the Second World War. After Myanmar had repossessed the independence in 1948, the Ministry of Union Culture was established in 1952 and started trying to reopen the museum. The Bagan Archaeological museum was reopened in 1945. Museum collections increased and a new octagonal-shaped museum had to be built in 1979. In 1995, the present Bagan Archaeological museum was established in 1995 and opened to the public on April 17,1998.
The Earliest Museums of MyanmarOne of the earliest museums of Myanmar, established in Hmawza Village in Pyay, was the Sri Ksetra Archaeological Museum. In the 1900s, the Epigraphy Department explored and collected antiquities within the area of Sri Ksetra and between 1907 and 1910, a small building called Thayet Taw Museum was established near the ancient palace site of Sri Ksetra to store them. After it was burnt down in 1915, Kyaukka Thein was constructed as the first museum of Sri Ksetra in 1915.
The current museum building near Kyaukka Thein Museum and the Monastery Museum was built in 1960.One of the earliest museums in Myanmar is Myauk-U Archaeological Museum.Another early museum was established in Shwebo in 1904. At first, the Indian government provided fundings but later it was difficult for it to stand permanently. Now, it has been substituted by the Shwebonyadana Palace Museum, built in 1994 and opened in 1999. Another early museum was located in Mandalay. It was established in 1905 in Mandalay Palace City and called the Mandalay Palace Museum.
It is totally different from the present Mandalay Palace Museum, because its collection, comprising objects related to the Palace and various other artifacts, was destroyed by fire because of bombing during the Second World War. (Naing, 1980)National MuseumAfter regaining independence, the National Museum was opened at the Jubilee Hall Building on the Shwedagon Pagoda Road in June 1952. The collection gradually increased and in 1957, the Royal Lion Throne was moved from the President’s Residence to the National Museum and exhibited there. In 1968, it moved to a building in Pansodan Street, which was a former private bank, and it was opened to the public on February 8, 1970 with six exhibition rooms. Twenty-five years later, the National Museum moved to its present location on Pyay Road, Dagon Township in Yangon, and was opened to the public on18th September, 1996. (Naing, 1980)
HISTORY OF MILITARY MUSEUM
(Giebelhausen, 2006) suggested that collections of war materials became popular during the colonial period as the power of the armed forces increased. Armies were ruled by the royals and noblemen in the colonial period. After battles, the treasure and loot from foreign lands illustrate the power of the King and his armies. In the earlier times, war materials are only displayed as the symbols of powerful military and loses or defeats were excluded.According to (Dresden, 2012), warehouses of weapons known as armories were exhibited to emphasize the heroic sacrifices and unforgettable battles showing the brave spirit of soldiers serving their lives to protect the country in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
During the late 19th century, nationalism and democracy encouraged the western world museums to turn out to be more formal. Armories were transferred from simple warehouses to formal exhibition where the rooms and other conditions were already suitable to exhibit the museum objects properly.Due to World War I, there were changes in the military strategies. These changes made people understand more about wars and what it meant for a society. The need for a collective identity to let the generations know what had happened and a memorial place for the heroic soldiers. This would eventually lead to the formation of military museums. (Szacka, 2013)(Malvern, 2000) commented that countries began to develop bigger museums, committed to the military history of the nation instead of local collections.
The Imperial War Museum in England was created to honour the dead and the lived experiences of people who suffered from the horrors of World War I. It was the first museum created for memorializing a war in its entirety. England was among the countries struggling to deal with its losses during World War I, and became concerned with creating some sort of physical and memorial record of the terror. (Hacker, Barton, & Margaret, 2013) stated that he United States also felt the need to recognize pieces of its own history while Europe was the primary location for World War I memorials and museums. With the end of World War II, military museums grew exponentially in Europe and in the United States. They became places to celebrate victory and remember the sacrifices. At the end of the 20th century, communities had temporal distance from major World Wars and military museums became tourist centers. They have become tourists’ attraction till nowadays.
STANDARDS AND REQUIREMENTS OF MUSEUM
Humidity and temperature (Littlefield, 2008) claims that he control of the relative humidity, temperature and air pollution of areas in the museums (For example; exhibition areas, collection storage, and conservation, display and photographic work areas) need to be taken into consideration. Full air conditioning is necessary to handle climatic extremes, and to ensure proper temperature and moisture.Air pollutionSeeking information about local air quality is required to decide whether air filtration system is necessary or not. If it is needed, it should not be the electrostatic type, as it can lead to damaging ozone levels. (Littlefield, 2008)Light and lightingDavid Littlefield, claimed that museum lighting is a complex subject. It is important to determine a balance between natural and artificial lighting. Direct sunlight should not fall on any collection item.
Chemical changes can occur in vulnerable materials due to direct sunlight. Thus, UV radiation must be effectively eliminated from all light reaching a collection item. The maximum light dosage recommended for different categories of collection item is shown in the following table. These dosages are achieved by limiting the level of illumination on collection items during visiting hours. Sudden changes in lighting levels and extreme contrasts of brightness in the field of view should be avoided as the eyes have only a limited ability to adapt to changes. (Littlefield, 2008)Acoustics and zoningAccording to Littlefield: ‘The transport of sound through structure should be controlled. Functional zones should be provided with surface or sub-surface materials that dampen impact sounds and isolating cavities to interrupt the structural transmission of sound. Noise levels should be controlled within zones by appropriate choices of material finishes on floors, walls and ceilings, and the shaping of interior spaces to prevent flutter and unwanted amplifying effects. To generalize and simplify, the penetration of low-frequency sound is lessened by structural mass, of middle frequencies by diffusing and absorbing surfaces, and of high-frequency sound by the elimination of small- scale air gaps in doors, windows and partition walls.’