Museums in the modern world

Museums have changed. They are no longer places for the privileged few or for bored vacationers to visit on rainy days. Action and democracy are words used in descriptions of museums now.

At a science museum in Ontario, Canada, you can feel your hair stand on end as harmless electricity passes through your body. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, you can look at 17th century instruments while listening to their music. At the Modern Museum in Sweden, you can put on costumes provided by the Stockholm Opera. As these examples show, museums are reaching out to new audiences, particularly the young, the poor, and the less educated members of the population. As a result, attendance is increasing.

More and more, museums directors are realizing that people learn best when they can somehow become part of what they are seeing. In many science museums, for example, there are no guided tours. The visitor is encouraged to touch, listen, operate, and experiment so as to discover scientific principles for himself. He can have the experience of operating a spaceship or a computer. He can experiment with glass blowing and papermaking. The purpose is not only to provide fun but also to help people feel at home in the world of science. The theory is that people who do not understand science will probably fear it, and those who fear science will not use it to the best advantage. Many museums now provide educational services and children's departments. In addition to the usual displays, they also offer film showings and dance programs. Instead of being places that one should visit, they are places to enjoy.

One cause of all these changes is the increase in wealth and leisure time. Another cause is the rising percentage of young population. Many of these young people are college students or college graduates, they are better educated than their parents. They see things in a new and different way. They are not content to stand and look at works of art; they want art they can participate in. The same is true of science and history. In the US., certain groups who formerly were too poor to care about anything beyond the basic needs of daily life are now becoming curious about the world around them. The young people in these groups, like young people in general, have benefited from a better education than their parents received. All these groups, and the rest of the population as well, have been influenced by television, which has taught them about places and other times.

The effect of all this has been to change existing museums and to encourage the building of new ones. In the US. and Canada alone, there are now more than 6,000 museums, almost twice as many as there were 25 years ago. About half of them are devoted to history, and the rest are evenly divided between the arts and sciences. The number of visitors, according to the American Association of museums, has risen to more than 700 million a year.

In fact, the crowds of visitors at some museums are creating a major problem, admission to museums has always been either free or very inexpensive, but now some museums are charging entrance fees for the first time or raising their prices. Even when raised, however, entrance fees are generally too low to support a museum, with its usually large building and its highly trained staff.  

1. paragraph 2 _________.
2. paragraph 3 _________.
3. paragraph 4 _________.
4. paragraph 5 _________.

A. causes of changes
B. increasing number of museums and visitors
C. museums getting closer to more spectators
D. movies shown in museums
E. new notions about the management of museums
F. places to visit

5. Now museums are no longer restricted to the privileged few, but_______.
6. With the development of society, people, especially the young people, _____.
7. To meet the needs of society, more museums _____.
8. Two major problems for museums are that they have too many visitors and they ____.

A. have higher demands of museums
B. are open to more people with different social background
C. to lengthen their opening hours
D. charge too little for admission
E. have been built and open to public
F. by lowing the admission fees


1. C。 剖析:借助段落中的语言特性―很明显地提到了各种类型的博物馆(science museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Modern Museum), 首先推测这个段落可能在引见博物馆的类型, 但是所给的被选项中没有这样的内容, 于是注意察看段落中的能否有总结句(观念句), 这样在段落的结尾处发现“总结性”的结构“As these examples show, museums are reaching out to new audiences”, 这个结构的内容是“正如上面这些例子所显示的那样, 博物馆正在向吸引新观众的方向展开”, 段落的最后一句中说“As a result, attendance is increasing(结果参观人数正在增加)”, 这两个句子都是总结性的句子, 它们的内容与B和C最接近, B中还提到了博物馆数量的增加, 但是这方面的信息在段落中基本没有呈现, 因而判别C是答案。




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