International Museum Day
annually on May 18th (since 1977)
According to the International Council of Museums (ICOM), a museum is "a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment." International Museum Day, founded and organized by the ICOM, aims to raise awareness that "museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples."
International Museum Day got its start in 1977 when a resolution was adopted at the ICOM General Assembly in Moscow to create an annual event "with the aim of further unifying the creative aspirations and efforts of museums and drawing the attention of the world public to their activity." The number of museums participating in the day has increased in the decades since. Since 1992, there has been a unique theme each year that is devoted to an issue that deals with the role of museums in the development of society and is at the forefront of the global museum community. There has been an official poster for the day since 1997, and in 2011 online resources were expanded.
Participating museums plan events and activities related to the year's theme, engage with the public, and "highlight the importance of museums as institutions that serve society and its development." All museums around the world can take part, with equal access to museums for everyone being a value of the day. Events may last the day, for a weekend, or for the whole week.
How to Observe International Museum Day
Observe the day by visiting a museum! Check the International Museum Day interactive map for official events near you and the International Museum Day Facebook page for up-to-date information about the day. If you are associated with a museum, organize free events that promote the role of museums in society and are related to the year's theme. Posters, information about the theme, and a communications kit can be found on the day's official webpage. You could hold your event today, on the weekend, or throughout the whole week. Make sure to list your event on the day's interactive map.