Today is International Museum Day (IMD), the worldwide community of Museums will celebrate the Day of and around 18 May, 2015. The International Council of Museums (ICOM) established IMD in 1977 to increase public awareness of the role of museums in the development of society. This year's theme for the event will be Museums for a sustainable society. It highlights the role of museums in raising public awareness about the need for a society that is less wasteful, more cooperative and that uses resources in a way that respects living systems.
On the occasion, ICOM President, Professor Dr Hans-Martin Hinz, said, "Museums, as educators and cultural mediators, are adopting an increasingly vital role in contributing to the definition and implementation of sustainable development and practices. Museums must be able to guarantee their role in safeguarding cultural heritage, given the increasing precariousness of ecosystems, situations of political instability, and the associated natural and man-made challenges that may arise. Museum work, through education and exhibitions for example, should strive to create a sustainable society. We must do everything we can to ensure that museums are part of the cultural driving force for the sustainable development of the world."
ICOM, created in 1946, ICOM is an international non-governmental organisation maintaining formal relations with UNESCO. Within the United Nations, ICOM has a consultative status with the Economic and Social Council. ICOM is the only international organisation representing museums and museum professionals on a global level.
Participation in IMD is growing among museums all over the world. In 2014, International Museum Day garnered record-breaking participation with more than 35000 museums hosting events in some 145 countries. In 2012, the participation was 32,000 museums in 135 countries.
ICOM's commitment to culture and knowledge sharing is reinforced by its 31 International Committees, which are dedicated to a wide range of museum specialties and conduct advanced research in their respective fields for the benefit of the museum community. The organisation's International and National Committees, Regional Alliances and Affiliated Organisations hold conferences and symposiums worldwide that focus on pre-defined themes with a view to fostering exchange among museum professionals of all nationalities.
The objective of International Museum Day is to raise awareness of the fact that Museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.
Before officially creating International Museum Day, ICOM gathered the international museum community for a 1951 meeting called Crusade for Museums, to discuss the theme ''Museums and Education.'' The idea for International Museum Day was inspired by the framework for museum accessibility that was developed at this meeting.
As the event attracted more and more museums, and increasingly favoured diversity in unity, ICOM suggested a theme for the first time in 1992: Museums and Environment. Since then every year ICOM select a theme to celebrate the day.
In addition to the activities participation in International Museum Day is an opportunity to:
# Implement partnership with schools, associations, other museums, etc, to promote the event as a moment of sharing and collaboration;
# Use and disseminate the graphic materials of the event in order to spread the news of activities efficiently throughout the world;
# Spread information about International Museum Day to the public via your web spaces (website, social media, etc.);
The following programmes may be undertaken to observe the day:
# Free entry or free guided tours;
# Free entry is an option, but the financial cost that it generates must be taken into account. A free entry policy should be supported by an interesting educational programme to attract the public to your museum.
Discounts on some services offered by the museum:
# Open day, longer opening hours or late-night openings
# Activities organized in European museums for European Night of Museums are excellent examples.
# Visits of storage areas or scholarly research collections; display of recently restored collections.
# Exhibitions, activations, conferences or guided tours based on the International Museum Day theme.
# Practical workshop or visits led by a museum professional.
# Meeting with partners, fundraising events
# Special cultural activities, concerts, theatre or dance shows, artistic performance, films screening, etc.
# Activities based on interaction using, for example, social media or virtual visits, etc.
# Games, contests, award giving ceremonies.
In Itu, Brazil, the Museu da Energia organised an event called Arte no Beco (Art in the Alleyway), bringing the museum to the street to raise awareness on the significance of museums and heritage preservation. (2014)
Since 2011, ICOM has been sponsoring the European Night of Museums, which is celebrated every year on the Saturday Just before International Museum Day.
To observe the International Museum Day 2015, Bangladesh National Museum in collaboration with ICOM-Bangladesh, have undertaken a daylong programme, including a rally, seminar and cultural function. Two posters have also been published on the occasion. Different museums of the country including Liberation War Museum and others museums are being observed the day in a befitting manner.
Jahangir Hussain is a Keeper, Department of Contemporary Art & World Civilization, Bangladesh National Museum and Chairperson, ICOM, Bangladesh National Committee.