Museums serve to educate the public. They accomplish this by collecting, preserving, interpreting and displaying items of artistic, cultural and scientific importance. Additionally, museums can also be the means of entertainment. A museum community is seen by the leadership as an economic growth tool due to the revenue that museums earn and employment for members of the community. On the other hand, a museum is viewed by professionals as a way of educating the public on history and environmentalism.

Many large museums like the Smithsonian Institution are respected research centres. However, research is not their main purpose currently. Museums focus on the interpretation of artefacts, their protection and preservation for future generations. All artefacts displayed in museums are important to our culture, that is why a lot of expertise, care and expenses are invested towards preserving these artefacts. The purposes of museums vary from one museum to another. While some are for education purpose, others are specifically for preservation. For instance, in the 1970s, the Canada Science and Technology Museum had the sole purpose of preservation of exhibits. They displayed objects as well as their functions. One exhibit featured a historic printing press that a staff member used for visitors to create museum memorabilia.In addition, some museums are different in that they can accommodate larger audiences while other smaller ones like the state museum can only cater for smaller visitors. Museums can be themed depending on the requirements outlined in the mission statement. The fragility of artefacts is the cause for restrictions of having physical contacts with the artefacts in the museum. Tampering with some artefacts may decline their value.

The most visited museums include:

Louvre France, Paris

National museum of China in Beijing, China

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, United States

Vatican Museums, Vatican City in Italy, Rome

National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, United States

Tate Modern Museum in London, United Kingdom     

British Museum in London, United Kingdom

National Gallery in London, United Kingdom        

Natural History Museum in London, United Kingdom London  

American Museum of Natural History, New York City, United States

National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C. United States

National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. United States 

China Science and Technology Museum,  Beijing, China

State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg,  Russia         

Zhejiang Museum, Hangzhou, China  

National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C. United States

Victoria and Albert Museum, London, United Kingdom  

Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain       

National Palace Museum, Taipei, Taiwan     

Nanjing Museum, Nanjing, China