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Are Art Museums a Public Good When you approach a museum even from the outside you begin to enter a realm of possibilities Most art museums enrich the senses breech the outer thickness beneath your hard skull and start your mind on a journey that an educated society feels can only better your life experience But is it a public good A museum may be a public good in terms that it provides a service that enriches those that come to it but in economic terms and by definition of our textbook Survey of Economics by Irvin B Tucker all museums are not a public good A public good as defined by the Tucker textbook has two qualities One it can not bar anyone access to that good or service and two more than one user can use it at a time An example of a public good are the traffic lights that we speed under every day on our way to work or school Everyone can use them and they will not diminish in their ability to serve the public Although we pay taxes to pay for the light to work people who cannot afford to pay are not blocked from using them Art inside of museums where you did not have to pay to get in would be another example of a public good Anyone can see them and watch them at the same time while not hindering another person from viewing the same piece A general mission statement of a museum is to collect and properly preserve curate and conserve collections of art provide educational exhibits and programs for the enrichment of students children and adults of all ages conduct scholarly research applied and pure employ the collections as a teaching resource offer informal training programs and provide service to society at large This mission statement may be well thought out but in some cases it is not for
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