Celebrating Museums Around the World

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Educational activity in Preah Norodom Sihanouk Angkor Museum in Siem Reap, Cambodia for the UNESCO-Japanese Funds-in-Trust project ‘Revitalising the World Heritage Site Museums in Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam’
© UNESCO/APSARA
17 May 2016

Every year on 18 May, International Museum Day is celebrated worldwide to raise awareness of the importance of museums for fostering intercultural dialogue and cultural enrichment. According to the International Council of Museums (ICOM), participation in this event is growing among museums across the globe. In 2015, more than 35,000 museums from some 145 countries participated in the celebrations.

International Museum Day was officially established in 1977 with the adoption of a resolution by the ICOM General Assembly in Moscow, Russian Federation, to create an annual event "with the aim of further unifying the creative aspirations and efforts of museums and drawing the attention of the world public to their activity." On this day, participating museums organize creative events and activities related to the International Museum Day theme.

 The 2016 theme of Museums and Cultural Landscapes, brings together nature and history. It recognizes that individuals and communities are not solely responsible for protecting and enhancing cultural landscapes. This duty is also shared by museums, as bearers of the tangible and intangible legacies of these territories.

Museums have always occupied a vital place at UNESCO. In November 2015, the 38th General Conference of UNESCO unanimously adopted the Recommendation concerning the Protection and Promotion of Museums and Collections. This instrument reflects the solemn commitment of UNESCO and its Member States to promote the role and diversity of museums and collections, in line with International Museum Day’s mission. In order to further disseminate the Recommendation, UNESCO is organizing a High-Level Forum on Museums, which is expected to take place in Shenzhen, People’s Republic of China in November 2016. The Forum will serve as a laboratory of ideas, which will help   generate innovative approaches and policy advice to strengthen the role of museums as vectors for intercultural dialogue and sustainable development.

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