Tag: <span>Museums as a place of Learning</span>

International Museum Day Appeals

International Museum Day: The Advancement of Learning.

18 May has been designated by UNESCO as the International Day of Museums to highlight the role that museums play in preserving beauty, culture, and history. This year, 2024, the theme is:

“Museums for Education and Research, to develop a future where knowledge transcends barriers and where innovation unites with tradition.”

Museums come in all sizes and are often related to institutions of learning and libraries.  Increasingly, churches and centers of worship have taken on the character of museums as people visit them for their artistic value even if they do not share the faith of those who built them.

    Museums are important agents of intellectual growth and cultural understanding.  They are part of the common heritage of humanity, and thus require special protection in times of armed conflict.  Conserving a cultural heritage is always difficult.  Weak institutional capabilities, lack of appropriate resources, and isolation of many culturally essential sites are compounded by a lack of awareness of the value of cultural heritage conservation. 

Cultural Heritage Conservation.

However, the dynamism of local initiatives and community solidarity systems are impressive assets.  These local forces should be enlisted, enlarged, and empowered to preserve and protect a heritage.  Involving local people in cultural heritage conservation both increases the efficiency of cultural heritage conservation and raises awareness of the importance of the past for people facing rapid changes in their environment and values.

    In many societies, traditional systems of knowledge are rarely written down; they are implicit, continued by practice and example, rarely codified or even articulated by the spoken word.  They continue to exist as long as they are useful, as long as they are not supplemented by new techniques. They are far too easily lost.  Thus, it is the objects that came into being through these systems of knowledge that become critically important.

Museums as a place of Learning.

    Thus, museums must become key institutions at the local level.  They should function as a place of learning.  The objects that bear witness to systems of knowledge must be accessible to those who would visit and learn from them.  Culture must be seen in its entirety: how women and men live in the world, how they use it, preserve and enjoy it for a better life.  Museums allow objects to speak, to bear witness to past experiences and future possibilities and thus to reflect on how things are and how things might otherwise be.

    Museums help to build new bridges between nations, ethnic groups and communities through values such as beauty and harmony that may serve as common references.  Museums also build bridges between generations, between the past, the present, and the future.  Therefore on this International Museum Day, let us consider together how we may advance the impact of beauty upon the world.

   René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.