A museum is an institution that cares for (conserves) a collection of artifacts and other objects of artistic, cultural, historical, or scientific importance and makes them available for public viewing through exhibits that may be permanent or temporary.Most large museums are located in major cities throughout the world and more local ones exist in smaller cities, towns and even the countryside. Museums have varying aims, ranging from serving researchers and specialists to serving the general public. The goal of serving researchers is increasingly shifting to serving the general public.
Some of the most attended museums include the Louvre in Paris, the National Museum of China in Beijing, the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., the British Museum in London, the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., the National Gallery in London and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. There are many types of museums, including art museums, natural history museums, science museums, war museums and children's museums.
As of the 2010s, the continuing acceleration in the digitization of information, combined with the increasing capacity of digital information storage, is causing the traditional model of museums (i.e. as static bricks-and-mortar "collections of collections" of three-dimensional specimens and artifacts) to expand to include virtual exhibits and high-resolution images of their collections that patrons can peruse, study, and explore from any place with Internet. The city with the largest number of museums is Mexico City with over 128 museums. According to The World Museum Community, there are more than 55,000 museums in 202 countries.