Each year since 1977, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) has organized International Museum Day, a unique celebration of museums for the international museum community. Organised on 18 May each year or around this date, the events and activities planned to celebrate International Museum Day (IMD) can last a day, a weekend or an entire week. Last year, more than 37,000 museums participated in the event in about 158 countries and territories.
As the museum community – and the communities we serve and live within – are impacted by COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, this year’s IMD is going digital! ICOM and ICOM Canada invite Canadian museums to join the international museum community to host online activities around May 18 and celebrate with us.
See below for information about this year’s theme, ways you can participate, resources for your work, and much more!
This year’s IMD theme is “Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion”
As we look to digital events, IMD’s theme gives us a chance to focus on the “inclusive” part of digital museum work and online community engagement. How can museums ensure diversity and inclusion in their digital activities, exploiting the potential of the web? Learn more about this year’s theme and ICOM’s work promoting diversity and inclusion here.
Get Involved for IMD 2020
Join the IMD celebrations and colour your own IMD Poster to promote museums as leaders in diversity and inclusion. This year’s edition aims to represent “Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion: through figures that are both similar and diverse, together championing for the four UN Sustainable Development Goals ICOM is focusing on this year.
Download the poster colouring version.
There are over 25 different language versions available. Why not create a colouring activity for your children’s resources, or share your staff or volunteer posters on social media?
Need other content for social media? Here are some ideas:
- Share how your museum raises awareness of inclusion and diversity through exhibitions, programs, or other activities
- Share how your museum supports marginalized or under-served groups in your region
- Showcase items or stories from your collection that represent society’s changing attitude towards diversity and inclusion
- Engage your audiences by inviting questions for an #AskACurator (or other staff) thread (consider volunteers or other voices that may not normally be heard!)
- Get off social media. No, seriously! Think about who is not engaging with your channels and consider a way to reach them. Radio spots, postcard events, or even a phone hotline are all ideas museums have explored in light of COVID-19 lockdowns.
Think about what audience demographic you are trying to reach, what your goal is, and what content can maximize your chosen platform.
Share on social media using the following tips:
- Pre-schedule your posts for May 18, or post for the week leading up to IMD 2020
- Tag ICOM Canada (ICOMCanada) on Facebook and Twitter
- Tag ICOM (IcomOfficiel) on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter
- Use the hashtags #IMD2020 and #Museums4Equality to join the international celebrations
Diversity and Inclusion Resources for Digital Work
How are you reaching your public while they cannot visit your site in person? Are you remaining aware of diversity and inclusion in your communications and online activities?
ICOM has shared resources for reaching your public remotely and is also encouraging museums to champion tools for identifying and overcoming bias in what they display and the stories they tell.
As a quick overview, consider what voices are being heard and what voices are not being heard in your collections, communications, and activities. Consider what audiences you are reaching out to, and which groups are not able to get your message. And finally, be aware of the link between audience and medium – is it consistent, relevant, and meeting your goal?
What about onsite activities?
If you want to hold a museum celebration at your museum once lockdowns and restrictions are over, ICOM has proposed a three-day alternative celebration between November 14 (coinciding with the Long Night of Museums) and November 16, 2020 (ICOM’s 74th anniversary). ICOM Canada will share news and plans for this celebration as more information about restrictions and re-opening becomes available.