Academic Task 2 (Essay) as seen in Iran
The following essay topic was asked on an IELTS test held in Iran in April 2012.
Some people believe that museums should entertain people, while others are of the opinion that their purpose is to educate. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.
What exactly is the purpose of a museum? Is a museum supposed to entertain people? Some people believe so, but others are of the opinion that the main purpose of a museum is to educate. Which view is correct? Let’s examine.
A museum is a building in which objects pertaining to art, history, science etc are displayed. Although the reason that draws people to museums can be different, the truth is that almost all of us are interested in the educational value they provide. If people are only interested in entertainment, they are more likely to visit a cinema theatre than a museum. Therefore, the argument that museums exist with the purpose of entertaining people is hard to support.
The best thing about a museum is that it provides visitors an opportunity to actually see and perhaps touch objects they may have only heard about. A good historical museum has the power to take people on a journey down the centuries. It is a bit like reliving the past. In the same way arts museums offer people an opportunity to see great works of art in person. It is not an experience that a television can provide.
After analyzing both views it is felt that the main purpose of a museum is to educate rather than entertain. Of course, nothing should prevent a museum from keeping its visitors entertained using modern technology. For example, some science and technology museums now provide a demonstrational experience for their visitors. This is not only entertaining but also educative. But establishing a museum with the sole objective of providing entertainment will defeat the very purpose of its existence.