The worldwide community of museums will celebrate International Museum Day on and around May 18. For an hour, a night or an entire week, participants are free to mark this unifying, universal occasion, which turns 38 this year, as they see fit.
In 2016, the theme of the International Museum Day will be “Museums and Cultural Landscapes”, also at the heart of debates that will take place during the ICOM General Conference, to be held in Milan from 3 to 9 July 2016. This theme implies that museums have a certain responsibility towards the landscapes where they are located, to which they are able to bring their own specific knowledge and skills. The main mission of museums is to oversee the safekeeping and protection of the heritage that lies both within and beyond their walls. In the Siena Charter, the cultural landscape is proposed as “the country where we live, which surrounds us with the images and symbols that identify and characterize it.” According to this vision, the landscape is considered as the context – geographic, historical, economic, social and cultural – in which museums exist and operate.
The International Council of Museums (ICOM) established International Museum Day in 1977 to increase public awareness of the role of museums in the development of society. This initiative has proven successful, according to ICOM President Hans-Martin Hinz: “Museum visitors should learn about the past and enjoy the diversity of cultures (…)”. The event benefits from growing popularity, and in 2015, gathered more than 35,000 museums which organised celebrations in some 145 countries on five continents.
Visit the International Museum Day official website