International Museum Day 2013

International Museum Day is coming up on May 18, 2013. Wondering how your museum can make the most of this opportunity? Read on!

What is International Museum Day?

The International Council of Museums (ICOM) established International Museum Day in 1977 to encourage public awareness of the role of museums in the development of society.

Traditionally, International Museum Day was organized on May 18. Now celebrations can last a day, a weekend or the whole week.

This year the theme of International Museum Day is “Museums (Memory + Creativity) = Social Change”. Essentially this means taking the traditional mission of museums, the preservation and display of heritage, and mixing it with creativity, allowing an evolution museums are striving for.

Each year thousands of museums participate. You can take part in the 2013 International Museum Day, and share in the celebration.

How can a museum participate?

This year to help organize an event or develop an activity a set of 5 sub-themes are provided:

  • Informal education structures. Museums educate in a recreational way; they are places of initiation without obligation that foster knowledge through continually renewed means.
  • A social space rooted in its territory. Museums play a role in the identity and dynamism of their territory. Through their action, they contribute to promote the past of their territory and build its future.
  • An intergenerational link. Museums keep the relationship between a community and its history alive. They are spaces for dialogue between generations.
  • Displaying heritage in a modern way. Museums have quickly been able to seize the communication and mediation opportunities offered by new media and have broken away from the old-fashion image they once had.
  • Innovative practices for a better conservation. Conservation devices are improving and the museum is becoming a real laboratory where work techniques continue to evolve.

Examples of activities could be:

  • Free entry or free guided visits.
  • Discounts on services offered by the museum.
  • Open longer or late-night openings.
  • Visits of storage areas or scholarly research collections.
  • Exhibition, activities, conference or guided tours based on the IMD theme.
  • Practical workshops led my museum professionals.
  • Fundraising events.
  • Opening of new rooms.
  • Special performances: concerts, theatre or dance shows, artistic performances, film screenings, etc.
  • Activities based on interaction using social networks, internet and media workshops, virtual visits, etc.
  • Games, contests, and awarding of prizes.

Examples of activities related to the 5 sub-themes:

  • Informal education structures. IMD can be an opportunity to reach the younger generations and raise their awareness of the role of museums. Partnering with schools in an option where educational kits could be created, workshops could be available (in the form of role-plays, contests or treasure hunts) as well as creating an exhibit within the school or developing a project to be displayed in the school with the help of the students (exhibition, film, etc).
  • A social space rooted in its territory. Branch out and meet the community by organizing activities outside the museum walls or by partnering with local businesses. Tours of the community or guided visits on the museum history of the city (architectural aspect) can be a means of placing the museum at the heart of the territory.
  • An intergenerational link. This theme can be highlighted by facilitating film screenings, storytelling in the museum, reception of groups of young people by retired volunteers, memory games in the museum, etc.
  • Displaying heritage in a modern way. Activities can be planned such as a video contest in the museum, launch of a mobile application or social networking account, installation of touch screens, etc.
  • Innovative practices for a better conservation. IMD can be an occasion to showcase the technical skill of museum professionals in your area. This can be done by organizing a seminar, offering visits of storage areas, having restorers do work in front of visitors, etc.

What tools are available?

ICOM has created an IMD poster linked to this year’s theme. The poster can be downloaded for IMD 2013 on the IMD website.

website is dedicated to IMD 2013 and a Facebook page has also been created.

If you are on Twitter, use the hashtag #IMD2013 when you are promoting your events.

Museum kit that has everything you need to know about IMD is also available.

What IMD activities will you be planning? Let us know in the comments section below! 

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