International Museum Day - May 18th 2021
Every year on May 18th, the International Museum Day is celebrated. It was established in 1977 by the International Council of Museums (ICOM), to increase public awareness of the role of museums in the development of society, and it has been steadily gaining momentum ever since. International Museum Day 2021 will focus on rethinking the museum of the future, to meet the challenges of the present. With the theme "The Future of Museums: Recover and Reimagine", the museums, their professionals and communities are invited to create, imagine and share new practices of (co-)creation of value, new business models for cultural institutions and innovative solutions for the social, economic and environmental challenges of the present. The message of this anniversary is to make museums institutions of cultural exchanges, "with the aim of enhancing education, promoting mutual understanding, peace and cooperation between peoples". Thus, on May 18th, admission to all museums is free.
Each year, along with the general message of the celebration, a special theme related to museums and their role in modern society is explored in all ICOM member countries, through speeches, exhibitions, meetings and other events.
The theme of this year's celebration for 2021 is "The Future of Museums: Recover and Reimagine", as for example in 2020 it was "Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion" in a digital-only format...
Museums in modern time
The year 2020 has been like no other. The Covid-19 crisis has swept the whole world abruptly, affecting every aspect of our lives, from the interactions with our loved ones, to the way we perceive our homes and cities, to our work and its organisation. Some already pressing issues have been exacerbated, questioning the very structure of our societies: the call for equality is stronger than ever.
Museums are no exception to these changes, and the cultural sector is among the most affected: surveys conducted by ICOM and other international organisations present a dire situation for museums and their professionals, with serious economic, social and psychological repercussions in the short and long term alike.
But this crisis also served as a catalyst for crucial innovations that were already underway, notably an increased focus on digitisation and the creation of new forms of cultural experience and dissemination.
This is a pivotal moment for our society, and museums are called to embrace it and lead the change. The time is now to rethink our relationship with the communities we serve, to experiment with new and hybrid models of cultural fruition and to strongly reaffirm the essential value of museums for the construction of a just and sustainable future. We must advocate for the creative potential of culture as a driver for recovery and innovation in the post-Covid era.
Free in all museums on May 18th
Did you know that?
Museums in Greece after quarantine reopened to the public on June 15th 2021.
Given the prolonged adverse health situation, the International Museum Day 2021 will be celebrated digitally this year as well.