The history of the Arab and Ottoman world was new and exciting for the European public.
The major European powers needed cultural institutions befitting their political status: the British Museum in London, the Louvre in Paris, the Hermitage in St Petersburg, the Imperial Museums in Vienna. The growth of national identity in the early 19th century caused museums to spring up across Europe. They educated and entertained a public who increasingly lived in cities. They also cultivated the sense of taste and design, and an appreciation of technical achievement.
The great International or World's Fairs stimulated the development of such museums, providing the founding collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, for example. The rate of museum foundation increased as the 19th century advanced, with mass education becoming normal, forging citizens of modern nations striving towards “progress”.