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International Museum Day 2021: Current Theme, History and Significance

Shikha Goyal

International Museum Day 2021: Since 1977, every year, ICOM has organised International Museum Day. The day also represents a unique moment for the international museum community. International Museum Day is celebrated on 18 May.

The day highlights the importance of museums in the development of society. Every year International Council of Museums (ICOM) Advisory Committee organises the theme of the event and various countries celebrate it. The event may last a day, a weekend, a week, or even a month. International Museum Day has gained popularity from America to Oceania including Africa, Europe and Asia all around the world.

It is rightly said that "Museums have no political power, but they do have the possibility of influencing the political process. This is a complete change from their role in the early days of collecting and hoarding the world to one of using the collections as an archive for a changing world. This role is not merely scientifically important, but it is also a cultural necessity." - Richard Fortey

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International Museum Day 2021: Theme

The theme of International Museum Day 2021 is "The Future of Museums: Recover and Reimagine”.

The theme of International Museum Day 2019 was “Museums as Cultural Hubs: The future of tradition”.

The theme of International Museum Day 2018 was “Hyperconnected museum: New approaches, new publics”.

The theme of International Museum Day 2017 was “Museums and Contested Histories: Saying the unspeakable in museums “.

The theme of International Museum Day 2016 was “Museums and Cultural Landscapes”.

The theme of International Museum Day 2015 was “Museums for a Sustainable Society”.

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International Museum Day: History

In 1977, International Museum Day was created by the International Council of Museums. Every year this organisation chooses a separate theme and coordinates it. Some of the themes focus on globalization, indigenous peoples, bridging cultural gaps, caring for the environment, etc. On this day, since 1977, every year all the museums of the world are invited to participate and promote the role of museums in the world by organising several activities that are focussed on the theme. Do you know that in 2009, International Museum Day attracted the participation of 20,000 museums hosting events in more than 90 countries? In 2010, 98 countries participated, 100 countries in 2011 participated, and in 2012 around 30,000 museums from 129 countries participated.

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International Museum Day: Celebrations

Several organisations organise free trips to visit museums and it can be related to farming, fashion, space and astronomy, archaeology, art and culture, history, etc. Even people with their relatives, friends, and family also visit nearby museums to celebrate the day.

About International Council of Museum (ICOM)

It is the main organisation of museum professionals with a global scope which is committed to promote and protect the natural and cultural heritage. Its commitment towards the promotion of culture and knowledge is reinforced by its 31 International Committees which is dedicated to a wide range of museum specialties, have vast knowledge and done advanced research in their respective fields for the benefit of the museum community. Not only this, but it also fights against illicit trafficking, assisting museums in emergency situations, etc.

Therefore, it will not be wrong to say that Museum plays an important role in preserving and promoting our cultural heritage. Museum collects and preserves our objects and materials of religious, cultural, and historical value. No doubt, it is a storehouse of old artifacts, sculptures, objects, history, etc.

According to ICOM "As institutions at the heart of society, museums have the power to establish a dialogue between cultures, to build bridges for a peaceful world and to define a sustainable future."

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