On May 18th, museums all around the world will come together to celebrate International Museum Day. This year, the theme is Museums as Cultural Hubs: The Future of Tradition
Every year since 1977, ICOM has organised International Museum Day (IMD), which represents a unique moment for the international museum community. On this day, participating museums plan creative events and activities related to the International Museum Day theme, engage with their public and highlight the importance of the role of museums as institutions that serve society and its development.
The objective of International Museum Day is to raise awareness of the fact that, “Museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.” Organised on and around 18 May each year, the events and activities planned to celebrate International Museum Day can last a day, a weekend or a whole week.
Participation in International Museum Day is growing among museums all over the world. In 2018, more than 40,000 museums participated in the event in some 158 countries.
International Museum Day 2019 will focus on the new roles of museums as active actors in their communities
“Museums as Cultural Hubs: The future of tradition”
The role of museums in society is changing. Museums keep reinventing themselves in their quest for becoming more interactive, audience focused, community oriented, flexible, adaptable and mobile. They have become cultural hubs functioning as platforms where creativity combines with knowledge and where visitors can also co-create, share and interact.
While preserving their primary missions – collecting, conservation, communication, research, exhibition – museums have transformed their practices to remain closer to the communities they serve. Today they look for innovative ways to tackle contemporary social issues and conflict. By acting locally, museums can also advocate and mitigate global problems, striving to meet the challenges of today’s society proactively. As institutions at the heart of society, museums have the power to establish dialogue between cultures, to build bridges for a peaceful world and to define a sustainable future.
As museums increasingly grow into their roles as cultural hubs, they are also finding new ways to honour their collections, their histories and their legacies, creating traditions that will have new meaning for future generations and relevance for an increasingly diverse contemporary audience at a global level. This transformation, which will have a profound impact on museum theory and practice, also forces us to rethink the value of museums and to question the ethical boundaries that define the very nature of our work as museum professionals.
At once a focal point for the community and an integral part of a global network, museums offer a platform for translating local communities’ needs and views into a global context.