Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Why Do Museums Matter? A Case Study on the Maramures County Museums

Coman, Adela and Pop, Izabela (2012): Why Do Museums Matter? A Case Study on the Maramures County Museums. Published in: The International Conference in Economics and Administration (8 June 2012): pp. 121-133.

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The first natural question that any museum visitor should ask himself/herself should be related to the importance and the role played by museums in the economy of the 21st century. Do museums have any contribution to the market economy and to the development of society in general? Just like any other organization, the museum’s role is to create products, services and information in order to satisfy man’s needs. What is nevertheless different from private organizations is the fact that a museum’s survival in the marketplace is not dependent on the breakeven point. In Romania, unlike other European states, the activity of museums is entirely state-funded no matter if any minimal parameters are reached or not. Under these circumstances is the existence and functionality of museums still justified, or are these mere useless consumers of resources which only burden the state’s already weak budget with extra expenses? The purpose of this article is to sketch an economic perspective of museums as productive organizations. In the case study carried out in the Maramureş County museums we seek to demonstrate the economic and social benefits of museums through concrete figures, as well as to identify the possible ways of improving their performance.

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