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International Museum Day 2024 – May 18

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International Museum Day - May 18 2024International Museum Day (IMD) is annually observed across the globe on 18 May, to increase public awareness of the role of museums in the development of society and recognise their role in education, and heritage preservation.

  • The 2024 theme of IMD is, “Museums for Education and Research.”

Each year, the IMD theme changes, encouraging participating museums to design unique activities that align with it.

Note: The 2024 theme underscores the pivotal role of cultural institutions in providing a holistic educational experience.


IMD raises awareness about the importance of museums as centers for cultural exchange and the development of mutual understanding, cooperation, and peace among peoples.


i.The International Council of Museums (ICOM) officially established International Museum Day in 1977 by adopting a resolution during the ICOM General Assembly in Moscow, Russia.

  • The resolution was adopted to create an annual event aimed at further unifying the museums’ creative aspirations and efforts, and drawing the attention of the world public to their activity.

ii.Every year since 1977, ICOM has organised IMD, representing a unique moment for the international museum community.

Note: In 2023, over 37,000 museums participated in the IMD event in about 158 countries and territories.

Crusade for Museums:

Before officially creating IMD, ICOM gathered the international museum community for a 1951 meeting called Crusade for Museums, to discuss the theme “Museums and Education.”

  • The idea for IMD was inspired by the discussions on museum accessibility.

Uniting the Museum Community:

First Theme in 1992: ICOM introduced the theme “Museums and Environment” to promote diversity in unity.

Creation of a Universal Identity:

In 1997, ICOM launched the first official poster focusing on the theme of fighting illicit traffic in cultural goods, adopted by 28 countries.

Strengthening Communication:

2011 Milestones: Introduction of institutional partners, a website, and a communications kit for IMD.

  • ICOM also became the patron of the European Night of Museums for the 1st time in 2011.


i.Each year since 2020, the IMD supports a set of Goals from the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations (UN).

ii.In 2024, the IMD will highlight the following 2 SDGs:

  • Goal 4: Quality Education – Ensure inclusive, equitable, and quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
  • Goal 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure – Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation.

About International Council of Museums (ICOM):
President– Emma Nardi (Italy)
Director General (interim)- Medea Ekner
Headquarters– Paris, France
Established in– 1946