Today is International Museum day, and this year’s theme is ‘The Future of Museums: Recover and Imagine.’
International Museum day is an event run by the International Council of Museums (ICOM). Although it began officially in 1977, it can be traced back to 1951 to a meeting called the Crusade for Museums. The ICOM state their mission as:
“The research, conservation, continuation and communication to society of the world’s natural and cultural heritage, present and future, tangible and intangible.”
The participating museums plan events and exhibitions in accordance with a different theme each year. The theme in 2021 is ‘The Future of Museums: Recover and Imagine’, inspired by the changes the world has experienced in the last year and urging people to reimagine the museums of the future, to respond to the issues we face in the present.
The event is a yearly celebration of the role of museums in our society and aims to engage the public with lots of interesting and creative activities. It also provides a platform to raise awareness of any topics or issues that the museums feel are important.
Why’s it important?
Museums are there to preserve history. Walking through a museum is like going back in time, experiencing things as they were thousands of years ago and learning about different races and cultures.
They’re a place where cultures exchange – an exchange that has a positive impact on contemporary society. Witnessing the rich histories of different nations, races and religions helps improve understanding and cooperation between cultures. These curated stories and artefacts expand our awareness, helping us to be more welcoming to other people.
Preserving and understanding history is vital if we are to progress as the kind of compassionate and understanding society that we all hope for. It’s important to recognise the important role that museums play in this, whilst also reflecting on how they can improve in what they do.