Forty-one years ago, the International Council of Museums created International Museum Day in order to emphasize the importance of museums to our society. This year’s event takes place on May 18 with 36,000 museums located in over 156 countries hosting special events and free admissions.
Museums provide a space for the public to become aware of arts and history, and preserve the legacy of many artists and historical figures. This year’s theme for International Museum Day is “Hyperconnected museums: New approaches, new public.” In our modern world, where the internet affords us access to unlimited information, ways to connect with the world, and with other people, museums are a part of these significant social connections. Whether this means providing a digital catalogue of their collection, providing digital tours of the museum, or simply reaching out to a marginalized group with a queer or person of color focused, each participating institution embraces its role as a public space for culture and learning.
The range of activities and exhibitions are as diverse as the museums themselves. The Harvard Art Museum in Boston is simply hosting a free admission day, allowing those who normally would not want to spend money on a ticket to connect with the artwork within, while the McNairy County Museum of Tennessee is hosting a scavenger hunt. In Baku, the Azerbaijan National Museum of Art’s exhibition Underground: Reconsideration Through Times highlights soviet underground artists who were previously ostracized for their refusal to conform to soviet ideology. In Helsinki, the Museum of Finnish Architecture will host guided walks in interior spaces throughout the city, allowing visitors into places that are not normally available to the public. View the full list of museums participating in International Museum Day.