The museum world is diverse. Besides, a lot of changes and innovations are taking place in the field of exhibition design, collection management, financing, education and project management.
Types of museum
There are no official categories, but we can apply general ones. For instance, the Netherlands Museums Association Museana recognises five categories: art, history, natural history, ethnology, and company, science and technology. There are of course examples of museums that combines two or three of these categories.
Museums with art as main subject of their collection and exhibitions. Examples are Stedelijk Museum, Museum De Pont, Van Abbemuseum and Kröller-Müller Museum.
Museums with history as main subject of their collection and exhibitions. Examples are Louwman Museum, Nederlands Openluchtmuseum, Maritiem Museum Rotterdam and Amsterdam Museum.
Museums with natural history as main subject of their collection and exhibitions. Examples are Natuurhistorisch Museum Maastricht, Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam, Naturalis and Ecomare.
Museums with ethnology as main subject of their collection and exhibitions. Examples are Wereldmuseum, Tropenmuseum, Museum Volkenkunde and Afrika Museum.
Company, science and technology
Museums with 'company, science and technology' as main subject of their collection and exhibitions. Examples are Museum Boerhaave, Museon, Science Center NEMO and Twents Techniekmuseum HEIM.
The collection of the state is mainly managed by the state museums. There are also museums with collections of their own and museums that only borrow parts of collections. It is increasingly common for collections to be exchanged between museums at both national and international level. There are also collections that are offered to museums by companies or private individuals and exhibited under their name.
All museums depend on the income that they generate themselves (donations and ticket sales) and to a greater or lesser degree on grants. Funding also happens by the state and private funds.
Most state museums are funded to a large extent by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Regional, provincial and local museums are often funded partly by the state and partly by the provincial and/or local authority. The private museums usually depend on funding from the corporate world and on sponsoring.
With the introduction of the Erfgoedwet, 29 museums get a long-term perspective on part of their state funding. From 2017 they are getting structural funding for the management and conservation of their collection and housing costs. The museums can still apply once in four years to get funding for other projects.