The 8 Best Documentaries About Museums

Sep 22, 2023 | Art, Best Of, Culture

Are you a fan of history, art, and culture? Then documentaries about museums are for you! These films explore the fascinating stories behind some of the world’s most renowned museums, their collections and exhibitions. Discover the stories of individuals who have dedicated their lives to preserving and protecting these important institutions and artifacts. Whether it’s uncovering an untold story or getting an inside look at the day-to-day operations of a museum, these documentaries are sure to provide knowledge and entertainment. Here’s our list of some of the best documentaries about museums that you need to watch!


1. Should Museums Return Ancient Artifacts To Their Home Countries? | Hard Bargaining

Museums around the world are embroiled in a heated debate: should ancient artifacts be returned to their home countries? Many leading institutions, such as the Louvre, the Musée du quai Branly, Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Muséum de Rouen are being called on to return works of art from Egypt, Mali and New Zealand. Currently, there is no hard and fast agreement as to the best course of action; both sides are locked in a game of hard bargaining. On one side, those who believe in repatriation argue that artifacts are part of a nation’s heritage and should be returned to their rightful home for preservation and public display. On the other, some experts maintain that museums have been custodians of these works for centuries and are better equipped to provide the necessary care and attention. As this discussion moves forward, the future of many artifacts hangs in the balance.


2. From Nefertiti to Beuys — Berlin’s museums

Admiring the world’s history has been made even easier with the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation. This foundation is known as one of the most influential collections in the world, boasting 20 museums and an impressive 5 million objects ranging from ancient Egyptian relics to modern artworks. From Nefertiti’s bust to Joseph Beuys’ artwork, this stunning collection offers a unique look into the past. Discovering the treasures of humanity is just a few clicks away with the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation’s museums and exhibitions. Immerse yourself in stories of antiquity, artistry, and advancement that will leave you spellbound.

3. From Nefertiti to Beuys — Berlin’s museums

Berlin is a city that has much to offer when it comes to cultural discovery and exploration. It is home to the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, one of the world’s largest collections encompassing 20 different museums with over five million objects. From renowned works such as Nefertiti’s bust to masterpieces from Joseph Beuys, there’s something for everyone to explore – and appreciate. With such a wealth of art, culture, history, and design at your fingertips, there’s no better way to discover the city than through one of its many amazing documentaries.


4. Riches Rivals & Radicals: 100 Years of Museums in America

America is full of a rich culture and history that can be explored in the beautiful museums throughout our country. From coast to coast, these museums offer sanctuary, discovery, and solitude. Explore America’s greatest pasts: meet the people whose passion revolutionized our nation’s museums. Narrated by journalist Susan Stamberg, Riches Rivals & Radicals: 100 Years of Museums in America captures the beauty and variety of these national gems. Learn their stories, enjoy their wonder – it’s all here, brought to you by Great Museums in association with Public Television. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to explore America!


5. Dark secrets of German museums

Most German museums today are reluctant to part with the artefacts they have in their possession, even if those pieces rightly belong to the cultures from which they were taken. The truth of the matter is that many institutions still prefer to keep such objects hidden away than to reckon with the consequences of restitution. This could be for a variety of reasons – such as not wanting to arouse desire in others and the fear that comes with losing control over such powerful objects.


6. Inside the Vatican Museums | EWTN Vaticano Special

Welcome to Vaticano, the show that gives you an exclusive look into the heart of Rome and behind the scenes of one of the world’s most iconic museums. From ancient artifacts to masterpieces of art, explore the Vatican Museums in this episode as we tour its vast halls and galleries with special insight from experts. Plus, get up to date news and events from the Holy See. Take a journey back in time and uncover the secrets of history with Inside the Vatican Museums! From ancient artifacts to masterpieces of art, marvel at the wonders of this timeless treasure trove. Discover some of the most remarkable sculptures, frescoes, and tapestries that have been preserved for centuries.


7. How Do Museums Preserve Priceless Artefacts? | The Art Of Preserving Art

Preserving art is a complex and delicate process. To ensure that priceless artefacts remain in their original condition, conservators must possess an intricate understanding of the various materials used for artistic expression. We witness the work it takes to protect pieces that span from 17th century globes and Celto-Iberian necklaces to mysterious objects unearthed on 18th century expeditions, and everything in between. This includes Medieval fabrics, mother-of-pearl mosaics, feather art from indigenous cultures, finely worked parchments and mud sculptures. These precious works of art require special attention to ensure they remain untouched by time—a task that requires the expertise of knowledgeable conservators dedicated to preserving them for future generations.


8. Jurassic Parking Lot: Behind The Scenes Of National History Museums (Full Documentary)

Unearth the incredible stories of famous national history museums in Jurassic Parking Lot: Behind The Scenes Of National History Museums. From ancient artifacts and fossils to stolen paintings, this full documentary reveals the remarkable secrets behind iconic exhibits. Discover how war-time shelters have been transformed into fascinating displays and learn more about the mystery surrounding Mayan ceramics. Explore centuries of art and the shocking twists of history that have made these exhibits what they are today. Get ready for a truly mesmerizing journey into the past!

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David B