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This study tries to find out the characteristics and functional changes of a major space in museums. In so doing, the study suggests that the major space of a museum is a significant architectural element reflecting the contemporary public museum. In this respect, it can be said that to design a real public museum in a true sense, it is first of all necessary to find out the intrinsic characteristics and the functional changes of the major space in museums. By definition, the major space is generally classified into two types; Corridor type and Rotunda type. The function of Rotuda type has been gradually changed from a symbolic space to multi-functional space such as exhibition, orientation, gathering, focal point, and so on. On the other hand, the Corridor type which had only the function of movement has shown several functions such as exhibition, centrality, resting and so on. In some museums recently built, however, it is commonly seen that the two different types are unified in some senses. As a result, it can be seen that the changes shown in the major space correspond with the changes of the social role of museums. That is, it is now suggested that the major space has a clue towards a public museum. The major space of recently built museums has multi-functions; exhibition, information, resting, shopping, and so on. In addition, the major space has close relationship through visual integration with other area such as exhibition area, education area and service area. These characteristics of the major space of recent museums can give delightful social experience to the visitors.