About Museums

From aquariums to art museums, botanical gardens to battlefields, children’s museums to cultural heritage centers, America’s diverse and engaging museums capture the attention of nearly 900 million visitors each year. More people explore museums than the number that attend sporting events or visit amusement parks combined! Whether they’re managed by volunteers or operated by large staffs, run by government, universities, nonprofits or for-profits, museums have something to offer everyone.

How Museums Help

In addition to opening their collections, exhibits, and activities to the public, museums contribute to our society in a variety of ways. For example, museums

  • Contribute more than $21 billion to the national economy
  • Employ 400,000 people
  • Invest more than $2 billion a year in education

Frequently Asked Questions about Museums

Q: I’m looking for information about a specific museum. Can the Alliance help?

A: Most museums maintain their own websites that include contact information. Unfortunately, we do not provide contact information for individual museums.

Q: I’m looking for information about how museums impact the communities they serve. Where can I find data on this?

A: Visit our Museum Facts and Data page to learn more.  MuseumStat is an online resource to support museums, communities, and researchers in gaining insights into the reach of museums and the communities they serve.

Q: I have an object that I think should be in a museum. What should I do?

A: The Official Museum Directory has an online database of products and services as appraisers. You can also consult the American Society of Appraisers. Most museum websites include information about missions and collections so you can find a museum that may be interested in your item.

Because museums are selective in what they add to their collections, they typically accept objects only if there are no conditions or restrictions required by the donor or seller. Museums must meet legal, social, and ethical obligations in providing proper physical storage, management, and care for the collections and their documentation.

Q: How do I start a new museum?

A: We’ve put together great resources about the steps you need to take when you’re considering creating a new museum. Visit this page to learn more.

Photo by J Caldwell, Nasher Museum at Duke University

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