The Joy of Museums

Finding Meaning in Art & History

Quotes about Museums, Art & History

Medieval and Renaissance Galleries at the Victoria and Albert Museum - geograph.org.uk - 1651929

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“The modern world thinks of art as very important: something close to the meaning of life.” Alain de Botton

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“The best introduction to art is to stroll through a museum. The more art you see, the more you’ll learn to define your own taste.” Jeanne Frank

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“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” Michelangelo

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“If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.” Michael Crichton

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 “Man: a being in search of meaning.” Plato

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“The philosophy I love is very selective. It is really just the bit that is involved in a search for wisdom, and this means a short roll call of names; Socrates, Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Epicurus, Montaigne, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche.” Alain de Botton

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“We used to build temples, and museums are about as close as secular society dares to go in facing up to the idea that a good building can change your life.”
Alain De Botton

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“If his heart rules him, his conscience will soon take the place of the rod.” Ancient Egyptian Proverb

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“What you are doing does not matter so much as what you are learning from doing it. ? It is better not to know and to know that one does not know, than presumptuously to attribute some random meaning to symbols.” Ancient Egyptian Proverb

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“If you search for the laws of harmony, you will find knowledge.” Ancient Egyptian Proverb

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“Exuberance is a good stimulus towards action, but the inner light grows in silence and concentration.” Ancient Egyptian Proverb

“A country that has few museums is both mater

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ially poor and spiritually poor…Museums, like theaters and libraries, are a means to freedom.”
Wendy Beckett

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“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” Marcus Garvey

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“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” George Orwell

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“The only way to understand painting is to go and look at it. And if out of a million visitors there is even one to whom art means something, that is enough to justify museums.”  Pierre-Auguste Renoir

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“The best and shortest road towards knowledge of truth is Nature.” Ancient Egyptian Proverb

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“For every joy there is a price to be paid.”  Ancient Egyptian Proverb

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“Day by day, what you choose, what you think and what you do is who you become.” Heraclitus

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“I love the name of honor, more than I fear death.” Julius Caesar

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“Everything flows and nothing abides, everything gives way and nothing stays fixed.” Heraclitus

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“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” Heraclitus

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“Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” Edmund Burke

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“If you really want to seriously think about life, and therefore take painting very seriously… and take seriously the joys that it can bring to one, then you want to go to museums. You want to study the great of the past.” Nelson Shanks

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“History is written by the victors.” Walter Benjamin

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“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” Mark Twain

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“Art has always had as its test in the long term the ability to speak to our innermost selves. People have experiences in art museums today that they used to have in church.” Bill Viola

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“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?” Marcus Tullius Cicero

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“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.” Pericles

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“If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it.” Julius Caesar

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“Time is the wisest counselor of all.” Pericles

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“A museum has to renew its collection to be alive, but that does not mean we give on important old works.” David Rockefeller

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“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Rudyard Kipling

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“When in a museum, walk slowly but keep walking.” Gertrude Stein

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“The sea is nothing but a library of all the tears in history.” Lemony Snicket

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“The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” Winston S. Churchill

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“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” Socrates

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“Men in general are quick to believe that which they wish to be true.” Julius Caesar

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“He is richest who is content with the least, for contentment is the wealth of nature.” Socrates

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“I am always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.” Winston Churchill

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“I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.” Winston Churchill

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“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” Socrates

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“History, like love, is so apt to surround her heroes with an atmosphere of imaginary brightness.” James Fenimore Cooper

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“Preservation of one’s own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures.” Cesar Chavez

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“The greatest wealth is to live content with little.” Plato

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“Courage is knowing what not to fear.” Plato

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“Necessity is the mother of invention.” Plato

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“Ignorance is the root and stem of all evil.” Plato

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“Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.” H.G. Wells

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“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.” Aldous Huxley

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“At the museum a troubled woman destroys a sand painting meticulously created over days by Tibetan monks. The monks are not disturbed. The work is a meditation. They simply begin again.”
Susan Griffin

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“I’m a closet nerd. I love to study history and visit museums.” Shakira

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“We learn from experience that men never learn anything from experience.” George Bernard Shaw

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“The soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts.” Marcus Aurelius

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“When I was growing up, my mother would take me to plays and museums, and we’d talk about life. Those times helped shape who I became.”
Jill Scott

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“I love doing normal things …  I also love to go to art and history museums.” Christina Aguilera

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“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” Winston S. Churchill

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“I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies, for the hardest victory is over the self.” Aristotle

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“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” Aristotle

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“It is the mark of an educated man to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Aristotle

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“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle

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“I love going to museums, especially the Met, because there’s always room for discovery, … It’s a great jewel box.” Aerin Lauder

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“A painting in a museum probably hears more foolish remarks than anything else in the world.”  Edmond De Goncourt

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“I feel that the great challenge of our time is the communication of ideas.” Alain de Botton

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“I go to a museum and see a painting someone living in the past has made and I’m completely blown away. The nature of human beings has not changed. Everyone wants to avoid suffering and look for love.” Dana Levin

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“Give me a museum and I’ll fill it.” Pablo Picasso

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“History is a set of lies agreed upon.” Napoléon Bonaparte

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“The Museum is not meant either for the wanderer to see by accident or for the pilgrim to see with awe. It is meant for the mere slave of a routine of self- education to stuff himself with every sort of incongruous intellectual food in one indigestible meal.”
Gilbert K. Chesterton

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“Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering – because you can’t take it in all at once.”
Audrey Hepburn

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“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”  Winston Churchill

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“A museum is a place where one should lose one’s head.”
Renzo Piano

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“Each man must look to himself to teach him the meaning of life. It is not something discovered: it is something molded.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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 “Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises.” Demosthenes

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“I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.” Joseph Campbell

“The best museums and museum exhibits about science or technology give you the feeling that, hey, this is interesting, but maybe I could do something here, too.”
Paul Allen

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“Nobody ever flunked a science museum.”
Frank Oppenheimer

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 “Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.” Plato

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“If people don’t like Marxism, they should blame the British Museum.”
Mikhail Gorbachev

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“Study the past if you would define the future.” Confucius

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“Museums should be places where you raise questions, not just show stuff.”
William Thorsell

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“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Winston Churchill

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“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” Carl Sagan

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“The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.” Leo Tolstoy

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 “One thing I know, that I know nothing. This is the source of my wisdom.” Socrates

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“Fear the goat from the front, the horse from the rear and man from all sides.”
– Assyrian Proverb

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“Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.”  Winston Churchill

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Photo Credit: PAUL FARMER [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons