Museum (Gr. A Temple Of The Muses), a repository of objects relating to history, science, or the arts. In the modern sense of the term the temples of Apollo at Delphi and Juno at Samos, and the acropolis at Athens, as receptacles of works of art, were museums. In history the name was first applied to the academy founded by Ptolemy Philadel-plius at Alexandria. Cosmo the Elder began the first of the now celebrated galleries of Florence, and to him is due the conception of the museum in its modern signification. Pope Julius 11. founded the museum of the Vatican. During the 16th and 17th centuries the museum mania led to the stripping of the provinces of works of art, which were col-lected in the capitals; and thus were begun the great museums and galleries in nearly all the leading cities on the continent. Besides paintings and statuary, many of the museums comprise collections of bronzes, medals, gems, cameos, and intaglios. The Ashmolean museum in Oxford, founded about 1680, is the oldest in England; and the British museum in London, established in 1753, is the most important in the world.
In some of the European cities there are special repositories, like the Thor-waldsen museum in Copenhagen and that in Paris established by Plon in the Louvre in 1875. The celebrated collections are described in this Cyclopedia under the names of the cities in which they are situated; and the more prominent, such as the British museum, the Louvre, and the Vatican, are particularly described under their own titles. There are also special museums of palaeontological, anatomical, zoological, geological, and mineralogical collections, which are mentioned in connection with the places or institutions in which they are situated, or with which they are connected.