Piety, Purity, and the Public : Views of the Art Museum, Past and Present
The creation of the public art museum in Western European society was simply a change in the way a culture viewed art. Since the creation of the public art museum, art in Western society has changed what was an exclusively elitist medium into a medium that can be accessed and, at certain times, should be accessed by all citizens. What citizens are supposed to gain from their museum experience has changed over time and is still in flux today. This paper explores the different purposes of museums within society in the past, social reform to pure aesthetic appreciation, and the present, entertainment and wonder.