International Museum Day: History, Significance, Theme, Importance

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Feb 23, 2022, 12:51

On the 18th of May, International Museum Day is commemorated to enhance public awareness about museums as critical venues for cultural exchange and the promotion of mutual understanding, collaboration, and peace.

IMD (International Museum Day) is a worldwide commemoration every year on or around the 18th of May. This event is organised by the International Council of Museums (ICOM). The programme always focuses on a different issue each year that is at the heart of the international museum community's concerns. The International Museum Day provides an opportunity for museum professionals to gather and inform the public about museums' difficulties.

On this day, the importance of museums in the evolution of society is recognised. The International Council of Museums (ICOM Advisory)'s Committee organises the event's subject each year, commemorated by various countries. It could last just one day, a weekend, a week, or even a month. International Museum Day has become increasingly popular from America to Oceania, spanning Africa, Europe, and Asia.

History of the International Museum Day

Every year since 1977, ICOM has celebrated International Museum Day. The day is also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the international museum community. The 18th of May is designated as International Museum Day.

International Museum Day was created in 1977 by the International Council of Museums. Each year, this organisation chooses and coordinates a different subject. Globalisation, indigenous peoples, cultural differences, environmental conservation, and other issues are discussed. Since 1977, all of the world's museums have been urged to participate and propagate the importance of museums.

International Museum Day, which took place in 2009, brought 20,000 museums from over 90 countries to participate in festivities. In 2010, 98 countries participated, followed by 100 countries in 2011, and approximately 30,000 museums from 129 countries in 2012.

The Themes for International Museum Day

  • "The Future of Museums: Recover and Reimagine" is the theme of International Museum Day 2021.
  • "Museums as Cultural Hubs: The Future of Tradition" was the theme of this year's International Museum Day.
  • "Hyperconnected museum: New approaches, new publics" was the theme of International Museum Day 2018.
  • "Museums and Contested Histories: Saying the Unspeakable in Museums" was the theme of International Museum Day 2017.
  • "Museums and Cultural Landscapes" was the theme of International Museum Day 2016.
  • "Museums for a Sustainable Society" was the theme of International Museum Day 2015.

The Celebrations on International Museum Day

Several organisations offer free museum visits on farming, fashion, space and astronomy, archaeology, art and culture, history, etc. People celebrate the day by visiting nearby museums with their relatives, friends, and family.

Important Museums in India

New Delhi's National Museum (Subordinate Office under the Ministry of Culture), New Delhi's National Gallery of Modern Art, Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad Indian Museum, Kolkata Archaeological Survey of India site Museum, Goa National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), and New Delhi National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) are among the important museums in India.

The International Museums Day aims at bringing cultures today. It's time to give the museums the value they deserve.

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FAQs About International Museum Day

  • When is International Museum Day celebrated?

International Museum Day is celebrated on the 18th of May every year.

  • What was the theme of International Museum Day 2021?

"The Future of Museums: Recover and Reimagine" was the theme of International Museum Day 2021.

  • What was the theme of International Museum Day 2015?

"Museums for a Sustainable Society" was the theme of International Museum Day 2015.