International Museum Day 2021 will focus on rethinking the museum of the future to meet the challenges of the present
The year 2020 has been like no other. The COVID-19 crisis has swept the whole world abruptly, affecting every aspect of our lives, from the interactions with our loved ones, to the way we perceive our homes and cities, to our work and its organisation. Some already pressing issues have been exacerbated, questioning the very structure of our societies: the call for equality is stronger than ever.
Museums are no exception to these changes, and the cultural sector is among the most affected: surveys conducted by ICOM and other international organisations present a dire situation for museums and their professionals, with serious economic, social and psychological repercussions in the short and long term alike.
But this crisis also served as a catalyst for crucial innovations that were already underway, notably an increased focus on digitisation and the creation of new forms of cultural experience and dissemination.
This is a pivotal moment for our society, and we call museums to embrace it and lead the change. The time is now to rethink our relationship with the communities we serve, to experiment with new and hybrid models of cultural fruition and to strongly reaffirm the essential value of museums for the construction of a just and sustainable future. We must advocate for the creative potential of culture as a driver for recovery and innovation in the post-COVID era.
With the theme “The Future of Museums: Recover and Reimagine”, International Museum Day 2021 invites museums, their professionals and communities to create, imagine and share new practices of (co-)creation of value, new business models for cultural institutions and innovative solutions for the social, economic and environmental challenges of the present.
The International Council of Museums (ICOM) established International Museum Day in 1977 to increase public awareness of the role of museums in the development of society, and it has been steadily gaining momentum ever since. In 2020, despite the limitations imposed by a digital-only format, #IMD2020 activites reached more than 83 000 000 users on social media, on May 18 alone!