In the seventeenth century, museums and libraries were the expression of an individual choice. However, in a society like ours, Foucault argues, museums and libraries operate as heterotopias of indefinitely accumulating time, in which time never stops building up and topping its own summit. Thus, he claims,

“the idea of accumulating everything, of establishing a sort of general archive, the will to enclose in one place all times, all epochs, all forms, all tastes, the idea of constituting a place of all times that is itself outside of time and inaccessible to its ravages, the project of organizing in this way a sort of perpetual and indefinite accumulation of time in an immobile place, this whole idea belongs to our modernity.”

The museum and the library, in this sense, are heterotopias that are proper to western culture of the nineteenth century.