A museum is one of these places that you visit once a year, maybe twice, but still it's mere presence is important for your everyday existence. Knowing it is there. Knowing you can.
On the other hand, when you are a tourist, a museum is one of the first places you will want to visit and in most museums the tourists are the lion share of the visitors, with the locals filling in the off seasons.
Most museums have a strong geographical and cultural orientation , and are being helped by the local municipalities. Or at least that is the ideal situation, but as we know art and culture are never on top of the city's budget, and the truth is most of them survive on contributions and donations, which is a sad but necessary aspect of these institutions.
I love the fact that going into the museum in Barcelona I can learn a lot about the Spanish culture, the Spanish artists, the geopolitical stories that made the country what it is, and I love the fact that young Spanish people have a place where they can see artists from all over the world. The same thing apply to museums in Hong-Kong , in los Angeles, in Jakarta and in Johannesburg.
Museums are the art history guides to a place, to a culture, to a nation. If we look at the internet as the greatest globalization tool, museums are like computers connected in an international network of art and culture, working together, communicating with each other and most important giving us the access to a world of creation, of stories, of achievements, of perfect exemplars of human life, right here in our own city.
I know a lot of people who have never been in a museum before. The ones who didn’t have the possibility are lucky , as once they do their world will suddenly be much wider, much bigger both in the big picture sense and in their cultural references.
The ones who were never interested in going to a museum are just…. Well, sad. I am sure they just didn’t have the right person to show them around, explain and tell the story of the works, of the cultural significance they contain, of the joy of being exposed to such works of art.