In 2017, the theme of International Museum Day is “Museums and contested histories: Saying the unspeakable in museums”. In this day and age, It is a rather pertinent topic and here is how ICOM explain why museums are important institutions in our tumultuous world.
History is a vital tool for defining a given people’s identity, and each of us defines ourselves through important and fundamental historic events. Contested histories are unfortunately not isolated traumatic events. These histories, which are often little known or misunderstood, resonate universally, as they concern and affect us all.
Museum collections offer reflections of memories and representations of history. This day will therefore provide an opportunity to show how museums display and depict traumatic memories to encourage visitors to think beyond their own individual experiences.
By focusing on the role of museums as hubs for promoting peaceful relationships between people, this theme highlights how the acceptance of a contested history is the first step in envisioning a shared future under the banner of reconciliation.
This year, the theme of ICOM’s International Museum Day is Museums and Cultural Landscapes. Here is how the International Council of Museums describe this theme:
The theme Museums and Cultural Landscapes makes museums responsible for their landscapes, asking them to contribute knowledge and expertise and take an active role in their management and upkeep. The primary mission of museums is to oversee heritage, whether it be inside or outside their walls. Their natural vocation is to expand their mission and implement their own activities in the open field of cultural landscape and heritage that surrounds them and for which they can assume varying degrees of responsibility. Highlighting the link between museums and cultural heritage enhances the idea of museums as territorial centres involved in actively protecting the cultural landscape.
You can download a pretty postcard to colour (similar to the poster above) right HERE!
Did you know that since 1977 museums are celebrated internationally each year on or around May 18. International Museum Day was declared by the International Council of Museums (ICOM) in order to raise awareness in the fact that “Museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.” (As quoted from the IMD page on the ICOM website.)
In 2015, the theme of IMD is “museums for a sustainable society.”
In late August, I attended the annual conference of CIPEG (Comité international pour l’égyptologie), one of the many committees of ICOM (International Council of Museums). The meeting is mostly attended by curators who have charge of Egyptian and Nubian collections in museums around the world. It was a very well attended event: I met old friends and made new ones…
Attendees of the 2014 CIPEG meeting, at least those who were there on the first day.
The meeting was held in Copenhagen (my first visit!) at the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters and we had extremely interesting papers on the theme of ‘sources and resources’. I did not present at this meeting, but I hope to do so next year.
My colleague Tine Bagh, curator of Egyptian art at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, and her team did a fabulous job of organising this lovely conference and scheduling activities that allowed us to discover Copenhagen and Denmark. Cheers!
Launch of ICOM’s International Observatory on Illicit Traffic in Cultural Goods
TheObservatory acts “as a databank for all information related to illicit trafficking of cultural goods. It will centralise and disseminate various resources and instruments relating to illicit traffic in cultural goods, providing important tools to fight it.”