International Museum Day is celebrated on 18 May every year, since 1977, to convey the message that “Museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.” The main purpose of celebrating this day is to inform the public about the awareness of museums and their important works.
It aims that common people from all over the world visit the museums to get to know about the important information about their ancient history and rich traditions. On this day various museums plan creative events and activities related to the theme of that year to engage with their public and highlight the importance of the role of museums as institutions that serve society and its development.
The theme for 2020 is “Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion” which aims at becoming a rallying point to both celebrate the diversity of perspectives that make up the communities and personnel of museums, and champion tools for identifying and overcoming bias in what they display and the stories they tell.
In 1977, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) started International Museum Day at ICOM General Assembly in Moscow, Russia with the aim of further unifying the creative aspirations and efforts of museums and drawing the attention of the world public to their activity. Before creating International Museum Day the council of Museums conducted Crusade for Museums, by gathering all the international museum community for a 1951 meeting. Every year museums around the world organize it inside their respective countries. They spread awareness about the importance of the museum during the program. In 2019, more than 40,000 museums held a special event in some 150 countries and territories, with the support of 78 Ministries of Culture around the world.
The purpose of celebrating this day is to make the society aware of the importance of the museum. The museum is said to have no political power but has the potential to influence political processes. In the beginning, the role of museums was to collect and store important things. Those collections are now used by museums as an archive for the changing world.
What happens on this day?
There are many organizations that organize free trips to museums on this day. People also visit museums with their friends, family, and relatives. In India too, all kinds of programs are organized for the preservation of museums. The main objective of these programs is to inform the general public, students, and researchers about the rich cultural heritage of the past that is available in the museums. It is our responsibility to preserve and spread the knowledge of nations’ history, culture, and heritage we have in museums. Many museums on World Museum Day gives free entry to tourist and special treatment is given to the visitors on this day.
Who is the International Council of Museums (Icom)?
It is the main organization that keeps things of historical, religious, and cultural importance. It has 31 international committees worldwide. All the committees are distinct in different grounds associated with the museum. This organization is committed to protecting and promoting natural and cultural heritage. Committees are responsible for extensive research work. Apart from this, this organization also works to prevent illegal smuggling of important things and also provides help to museums in case of emergency.
Importance of museum
The museum plays an important role in preserving and promoting our cultural heritage. The museum collects and preserves the things and materials of our religious, cultural, and historical importance. There is no doubt that the museum is a storehouse of ancient artifacts, carvings, sculptures, other things, history, etc. People move forward but its the museum which keeps them connected to the past. The pictures, stone sculptures, and manuscripts, rock articles in the museum would tell us what the life of a human was during that time.