International Museum Day

Quick Facts - US

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2024 DateMay 18, 2024
2025 DateMay 18, 2025

International Museum Day

International Museum Day in
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International Museum Day History

International Museum Day (IMD) aims to raise public awareness about the important role museums play in social development. This recognition underscores how museums serve as institutions that conserve, communicate, and transmit the cultural heritage and history of societies. Highlighting global diversity, it presents museums as sites of dialogue for promoting mutual understanding, cooperation, and peace among people across the world.

IMD originated in 1977 when ICOM, in its 12th general conference in Moscow, passed a resolution for an annual worldwide observance. Universally, it involves the participation of more than 30,000 museums located in more than 120 countries. In the United States context, IMD provides an occasion for Americans to reflect and appreciate their history, their diverse cultures and their relationship with the rest of the world. In essence, it gives Americans an opportunity to connect with their roots and comprehend their placement in the global cultural map.

In the United States, International Museum Day is marked with numerous activities and specific programs across various museums. Museums acutely plan diverse events, including workshops, exhibits, lectures, and even free entries to lure the public in appreciating their value. Whether it's the art museums in New York, the historical museums in Boston or the Smithsonian museums in Washington D.C., each brings a unique dimension to this important day. International Museum Day typically falls on or around May 18 each year.

International Museum Day facts

  • The theme for International Museum Day in 2024 will be Museums for Education and Research.
    In 2023 the theme was Museums, Sustainability and Well-being.
  • In 2023, the International Council of Museums estimated that there were 104,000 museums around the world.
    In 2022, There were about 95,000 museums around the world according to UNESCO.
  • The oldest known museum in the world is the Ennigaldi-Nanna's museum, built by Princess Ennigaldi in what is now modern-day Iraq in 530 BC.
  • The Capitoline Museum, located in Rome, is the worlds oldest museum which was founded in 1471.

Top things to do in the US for International Museum Day

  • Browse the International Museum Day 2021 reading list. The collection focuses on the theme, the future of museums: recover and recreate.
  • Find a museum near you. Museums offer a lot of information about a variety of topics. Find one near you and spend the day learning something new.
  • Explore an interactive map to find events happening near you. The International Council of Museums hosts global events and programs that focus on museums around the world.

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