International Museum Day

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2024 Date18 May 2024
2025 Date18 May 2025

International Museum Day

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International Museum Day History

International Museum Day is an annual celebration that aims to raise awareness about the importance of museums in preserving cultural heritage and educating the public. It is a day marked by events that include free entry to museums, special exhibitions, and educational activities. The event holds special significance for India, as the country has a rich cultural history and a plethora of museums dedicated to showcasing valuable artifacts, art, and heritage.

The inception of International Museum Day goes back to 1977, when the International Council of Museums (ICOM) designated a day to advocate the significance of museums in societal development. This event is an opportunity to appreciate the role of museums in preserving India's history and traditions.

In India, museums commemorate International Museum Day by organizing workshops, lectures, art contests, and guided tours. These activities allow visitors to appreciate the rich cultural legacy of India. Celebrated annually on May 18, the event encourages all to visit a local museum and become more aware of their cultural roots.

International Museum Day facts

  • The theme for International Museum Day in 2024 was 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 first museum in India, the Indian Museum in Kolkata, was established in 1814.
  • The National Museum in Delhi, established in 1949, is one of the most largest museums in India. It houses over 200,000 works of art that span over 5,000 years of Indian history, including the Indus Valley civilization artifacts.

Top things to do in India 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.
  • Watch a documentary to learn more about Museums in India:
    The Museum of India (2015) - This documentary takes you on a journey through the galleries and exhibitions at the National Museum in New Delhi. It provides a fascinating insight into Indian art, history, and culture.
    India's Frontier Railways: Matheran Hill Railway (2015) - This BBC documentary series explores various heritage railways across India, including a visit to the Railway Museum in Matheran. Although it's not entirely about museums, the series offers a unique perspective on Indian history and heritage.
  • Visit the National Museum in New Delhi: The largest museum in India, it boasts a rich collection of artifacts, paintings, sculptures, and textiles from various periods and regions of the country and the world.

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