International Museum Day, Current Theme, History, Significance, and Quotes

Updated October 6, 2022

Every year, 18 may is celebrated as International Museum Day across the world. The day is observed to raise awareness among people about the role of museums in various types of cultures. Museums enable people to explore the ancient civilizations including, ancient cultures, traditions, and institutions, for inspiration and learning.

A museum is not just a building, a place, or a non-profit institution it is a treasure of historical items. It protects and cares for a large number of interesting and valuable objects. Let us tell you an interesting fact, Museum itself owes its roots in the Greek word Μουσεῖον (Mouseion), referred to sites dedicated to the muses (the patron divinities in Greek mythology of the arts).

International Museum Day

Since 1977, ICOM (International Council of Museums) has been celebrating International Museum Day on the 18th of May. Museum Day is celebrated to promote the importance of museums in the development of societies. Also, May 18 represents a unique moment for the international museum community.

Each year, the Consulting body of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) organizes an event, in which they discuss a specific theme of Int’l Museum Day. The event highlights a relevant issue facing museums. And, the event may last a day, a week, or even a month.

History of International Museum Day

The first International Museum day was held in 1977, coordinated by the International Council of Museums (ICOM). And, the very first an annual theme and an international poster were created by the Int’l Council of Museums (ICOM) in 1992 and 1997 respectively. In 1997 International Museum Day attracted only 28 countries to participate the event.

Moving forward, in 2009, IMD attracted the participation of 20,000 museums hosting events in more than 90 countries. In 2010, 98 countries participated, and 100 countries took part in the 2011 celebration, whereas, in 2012 around 30,000 museums from 129 countries joined the celebration.

Significance of International Museum Day

The main objective of celebrating the International Museum Day (IMD) is to educate people that, “Museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures, community-building, preservation of historical artifacts, international cooperation, and development of mutual understanding.”

IMD (International Museum Day) provides the opportunity for museum professionals to draw the attention of the world and let them know the challenges that museums face, and generate public awareness about the significant role that museums play in the development of society.

International Museum Day 2022 Theme

Every year, the International Council of Museums announces a theme for the International Museum Day, to highlight the purpose of the event. “The Power of Museums” is the theme of International Museum Day 2022.

Museums have the power to transform the world and shape civilization. As incomparable places of discovery, they educate us about our past and open our minds to new ideas — two essential steps in building a better future.

How is International Museum Day Celebrated?

Usually, on Int’l Museum Day several online events and offline activities are organized by the organization for the old, adults, and children. Events can be related to space and astronomy, archaeology, culture, history, etc. And, people can visit nearby museums with their family, friends, and relatives to celebrate the day.

International Council of Museums (ICOM)

The ICOM also stands for International Council of Museums is a worldwide non-governmental organization of museums and museum professionals dedicated to the promoting and protecting of natural cultural heritage, present, and future, tangible and intangible.

It was founded in 1946 by Chauncey J. Hamlin, and he was the first president of the International Council of Museums. The ICOM is an NGO having a consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and maintains formal relations with UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

Quotes for International Museum Day

  • “Don’t go to a museum with a destination. Museums are wormholes to other worlds. They are ecstasy machines. Follow your eyes to wherever they lead you…and the world should begin to change for you.” – Jerry Saltz
  •  “A museum has to renew its collection to be alive, but that does not mean we give on important old works.” – David Rockefeller
  • “I love doing normal things … I also love to go to art and history museums.” – Christina Aguilera
  • “A visit to a museum is a search for beauty, truth, and meaning in our lives. Go to museums as often as you can.”– Maira Kalman
  • “The only way to understand painting is to go and look at it.”

  • “Nobody ever flunked a science museum.” – Frank Oppenheimer
  • And if out of a million visitors there is even one to whom art means something, that is enough to justify museums.” – Pierre-Auguste Renoir
  • “A painting in a museum probably hears more foolish remarks than anything else in the world.” – Edmond De Goncourt
  • “Murals in restaurants are on a par with the food in museums.” – Peter De Vries
  • “A museum is a place where one should lose one’s head.” – Renzo Piano

  • “A visit to a museum is a search for beauty, truth, and meaning in our lives. Go to museums as often as you can”—Maira Kalman
  • “Real museums are places where Time is transformed into Space”—Orhan Pamuk
  • “Museums should be places where you raise questions, not just show stuff”—William Thorsell
  • “The primary purpose of the Museum is to help people enjoy, understand, and use the visual arts of our time”—Alfred H. Barr, Jr.
  • “The most basic task of any museum must be the protection of works of cultural significance entrusted to its care for the edification and pleasure of future generations”—Martin Filler

Questions Mostly Asked About Int’l Museum Day

Q. Why do we celebrate International Museum Day?

Ans: Museum Day is celebrated to promote the importance of museums in the development of societies.

Q. What is the theme of the International Museum Day 2022?

Ans: “The Power of Museums” is the theme of International Museum Day 2022.

Q. When was International Museum Day first held?

Ans: 18 May 1977

Q. Who started International Museum Day?

Ans: International Council of Museums (ICOM)

Q. Where is the biggest museum in India?

Ans: Kolkata

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