In local government, a city hall, town hall, civic centre, (in the UK or Australia) a guildhall, a Rathaus (German), or (more rarely) a municipal building, is the chief administrative building of a city, town, or other municipality. It usually houses the city or town council, its associated departments, and their employees. It also usually functions as the base of the mayor of a city, town, borough, or county/shire. By convention, until the mid 19th-century, a single large open chamber (or 'hall') formed an integral part of the building housing the council. The hall may be used for council meetings and other significant events. This large chamber, the 'town hall', (and its later variant 'city hall') has become synonymous with the whole building, and with the administrative body housed in it. The terms 'council chambers', 'municipal building' or variants may be used locally in preference to 'town hall' if no such large hall is present within the building. The local government may endeavor to use the town hall building to promote and enhance the quality of life of the community. In many cases, "town halls" serve not only as buildings for government functions, but also have facilities for various civic and cultural activities. These may include art shows, stage performances, exhibits and festivals.
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