It is not easy to give a commonly accepted definition of Museum, mainly because its role and function differentiates depending on where it is located, the content, size and nature of its collection. Furthermore, because there are differentiations in the interests of those who manage the collections, in the significance that they attribute to them, in their personal choices, in the opportunities presented to their managers and the way they perceive them. However, it is commonly accepted that the Museums have a dominant role as intellectual and cultural sources.
The Museum is something more than a collection and exhibition of items. It is a range of cultural and intellectual activities, the responsibility of the maintenance of the collections, the reinforcement of the feeling of pride for the members of the communities and also the collective experience of the visitors. Museums are sources of inspiration for public activity, are ahead in new ideas and are innovative in alternative uses of meanings and objects. Today, that we do not have any known precedent in great changes in society and the environment, the majority of the Museums are still stuck on irrational behaviors and constantly increasing use of sources. Many Museums are tending to adjust to the tendency of a society for more entertainment. Some others form strategies adjusted to the apparent future needs for collections and buildings, with the least possible use of material. Few of them are pioneers in research and bring results to society, with innovative exhibitions of collections for the environment. Water, and its multiple qualities and uses, is considered to be as much hindrance as link between human, animal and plant activity. The informing of society and the alertness for safety and preservation of the water sources and supplies has not spread to the point that modern needs call for. Neither have the artists of the alternative and environmental artistic or non-artistic projects seriously dealt with the matter till now. Few artists within or outside the Museum activities, respect the aesthetic qualities, the idea and the value of water creating contemporary art projects.
A special artist is Ulay, who participates, organizes and innovates in acts of symbolic safeguarding of potable water and inventory of water sources and kinds of water such as icebergs, glaciers, clouds and rivers. The initiatives of sensitizing the authorities – citizens – creators, though, are probably quite few in terms of resonance, while on the other hand, they are of great importance.
The following Museums are mainly activated in collections of mechanological and hydraulic equipment from ancient and old aquaducts, historic data of transporting water for consumption, impressive constructions for religious or other symbolisms and they also specialise in scientific research. Museums are expected to act on a more direct and clear activation for public sensitizing. All these “small but big” and big initiatives have social value and help us look at reality in the eye with a sense of hope or realism. In the group of islands belonging to Japan, the museum of Awaji Island Project which was created based on the architectural style of Tadao Ando, places emphasis on connecting the place with living things, such as the movement of water and people. The peak of his career is probably the Hompuki Water Temple. There he uses water and its echo in the area of the holy altar, provoking aesthetic experiences which bring to mind symbolisms of the purifying procedure of water, the need to defend it (in cement flaps) and an urge of visitors for meditation and ascetism.
Tokyo Water Science Museum,http://www.japanvisitor.com/index.php?cID=1760 , presents in a friendly way, the value of water, its supplying and its history since the time of cavemen till today.
The Sayamaike Historical Museum, designed by Tadao Ando presents the wreckages of the hydro mechanological equipment of the 7 th century in Osaka, but also the history of the community and its historical bonds with water. http://www.arcspace.com/architects/ando/sayamaike.html
In two of his significant works, the Glass/Water (1995) in the Nezu Museum of Tokyo in 2009 with influences from 16th century Japanese architecture, Kengo Kuma uses the element of water promoting water as a main horizontal arrangement (the second one being glass) and its soothing sound dripping on vertical surfaces made by bamboo. http://www.architonic.com/aiabt/kengo-kuma-associates/5204970
In Abu Dhabi, Jean Nouvel created the Louvre of the Emirates designed on water, with a dome to protect the Museum from the sun – resembling Arabic architecture and other elements which relegate orders of keeping and guarding civilization and the environment. http://www.jeannouvel.com/english/preloader.html
In the Water Museum of St. Petersburg, visitors often have the ability to operate the hydraulic system and to comprehend the use of the water-tank and the steam engine which pumps water. http://www.saintpetersburg.com/museums/museum-water.asp
In 1974, the Waterworks Museum of Hereford was founded in the Victorian hydraulic plant which had been in operation since 1863, the Age of the Industrial Revolution. http://www.waterworksmuseum.org.uk/?module=main&class=aboutus
In Egypt, the Science Museum of Water Theories has just opened and refers to the scientific research of the qualities characterizing water.
The Water Resources Museum in India is under the authorization of the Centre for Water Resources Development and Management. http://www.cwrdm.org/index.php
Here, in Greece, the Ministry of Culture sends invitations to a festival named “Myriad voices of water”. Two museums, one dealing with the promotion of water as a source of energy and the other as a basin with a rich organic world of underground and superficial routes, participate in this activation. They are, respectively, the Open-Air Water Power Museum in Dimitsana
http://arcadia.ceid.upatras.gr/arkadia/culture/museums/ymydim.htm and the Environmental Museum in Stymfalia, http://www.econews.gr/2010/06/07/environment-museum-stymfalia/
Aristi Costopoulou Museum Studies email@example.com +306948201280