During the 20th century the world of culture - ranging from cinema to the internet - has been impacted by communication technologies that previous generations could not have even imagined. So why do we continue to be so susceptible to the language of museums? Why are buildings full of relics still, after centuries, such a vibrant and growing cultural phenomenon? This book does not address only the history of these extraordinary time machines; it also explores the reasons why they exist and how they behave; it looks at them as if they were living creatures, intrinsically interesting, but understandable only by adopting a comprehensive viewpoint. Facing demographic, technological, and economic changes, museums have reacted as if they were an evolving collective cultural organism. In the internet age - when we risk knowing everything but understanding nothing - museums help us have unexpected ideas. They teach, but they also inspire. When stereotypes and triviality abound, we are reminded of how amazing the beauty and the diversity of the world are.
Vittorio Falletti teaches Art Economics at the Albertina Academy of Fine Arts in Turin and is a member of the International Council of Museums.
Maurizio Maggi is a research director at the Piedmont Region's Economic and Social Research Institute (IRES) and a member of the International Council of Museums.