18th May 1997, ICOM celebrated the 20th Anniversary
of International Museums Day. The theme was the ongoing
fight against the illicit traffic of cultural property,
one that will be kept in 1998.
mobilisation for the ongoing fight against the illicit
traffic of cultural property
year International Museums Day was a real success!
To mobilise ICOM's National Committees for the Day's
celebrations, and to help them raise public awareness
concerning theft and looting, each Committee was invited
to create a poster based on a format proposed by the
Secretariat to illustrate the problem in its country.
The number of posters created and the events organised
throughout the world are unfortunate proof of the
extent of the theft and looting of cultural property,
and of the international scale of illicit traffic.
All museum professionals are faced with the same urgent
requirement: protecting heritage. The following is
a brief look at the information sent to ICOM Secretariat
on the activities organised on International Museums
Day. Over to you now; tell us about your activities!
total of 28 countries made posters with the model
supplied by ICOM (only two chose a different format).
Each country had included the image of an object,
part of the national heritage, that had been stolen.
During the Advisory Committee meeting in Paris last
June the posters that were sent to the Secretariat
by the following countries were exhibited at UNESCO
Algeria, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Seychelles
Latin America and the Caribbean:
Argentina, Barbados, Brazil, Cayman Islands, Costa
Rica, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru.
Azerbaijan, China and Sri Lanka.
Europe: Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic,
Finland, France, Greece, Macedonia, Poland and Spain.
from the posters, museums organised different activities
to celebrate International Museums Day, often taking
up the theme of illicit traffic. The Day provides
museums with the opportunity to promote their role
vis-à-vis the public, and in many countries the occasion
took on the importance of a national event.
Diskette of the poster sent to all the museums in
the country. Morocco
Newsletter of the Moroccan National Committee devoted
to the problem of illicit traffic of cultural property.
A week of events. Exhibition at the National History
Museum on protecting cultural heritage, and the role
of the museum. Swaziland
A day's seminar on illicit traffic: 34 participants,
including 19 police and customs officers. Tunisia
Documentary exhibition at the Bardo National Museum
on the means for fighting against illicit traffic.
America and the Caribbean
A day on preserving cultural property, and on illicit
traffic, organised by the Argentinian National Committee
in conjunction with the Museo Historico del Banco
de la Provincia de Buenos Aires. Information from
the press kit sent by ICOM translated into Spanish.
Brazil Open days. Throughout the year,
the Heritage Institute will be organising discussions
on protecting cultural property. Costa
Rica Activities at the Centro Nacional de
Cultura, focusing on national and international legislation
concerning the protection of cultural and natural
heritage. Event given extensive coverage by both press
and television. Ecuador
Exhibition at the Centro de Arte de la Universidad
Technologica Equinoccial on Science and Technology
in the service of Conservation. Discussions on the
theme of illicit traffic. Poster sent to all the museums
in the country. Many press articles.
Cayman Islands Exhibition at the National
Museum on national and international legislation on
heritage. Open days. Paraguay
Press conference and exhibition called Objects, eight
artists from MERCOSUR member countries organised by
the Paraguayan National Committee. Poster printed
on T-shirts. Peru
Exhibition at the Ricardo Palma Miraflores Cultural
Centre organised by the Peruvian National Committee
in conjunction with other national institutions. Presentation
of the plan for legislation on protecting cultural
heritage, as well as other events in a week of activities.
Poster in the form of a leaflet, with information
on illicit traffic. Subject widely covered by the
Kitts and Nevis Leaflet entitled Protect our
Cultural Property handed to each museum visitor. Uruguay
Colloquium on the Day's theme with extensive press
Emphasis on the destruction of cultural property during
the war. China
Activities on a national scale organised by the Chinese
National Committee. Singapore
This year, for the first time, the Day was celebrated
as a national event, attracting a large number of
visitors. Open days and special activities in 13 institutions.
18th-24th May: stressing the importance of protecting
world heritage and the need to introduce international
criteria on museology. Sri
Lanka Seminar on illicit traffic.
Programme of activities developed by the French-speaking
Belgian National Committee for October 1997, intended
for museum professionals as well as the authorities
and the general public. Czech
Republic Open days. Bagpipes in Bohemia, Moravia
and Silesia exhibition at the J.A. Comenius Museum
presenting legal exchanges of property as a counterpoint
to the theme on illicit traffic, thanks to co-operation
between 27 of the country's institutions. Cyprus
Photo exhibition of stolen objects at the Nicosia
Museum. Extensive information given to the public
on the theft of the works, ways to combat theft, and
ICOM's Code of Professional Ethics. Finland
Prize for museological activity awarded to the Heinola
Museum by the Finnish National Committee. Great interest
in the Day's theme shown throughout the country, reflecting
current concerns regarding export of national cultural
heritage. Many articles in the press. Greece
Special activities in many museums. Evening of lectures
by the Society of Greek Archaeologists. Special magazine
issue of the daily newspaper Kathimerini, produced
in conjunction with the Greek National Committee,
devoted to the worldwide problem of illicit traffic
of cultural property. Leaflet on the repatriation
of the Aidonia Mycenean Treasure. Italy
Day of lectures at the Museo delle Culture Extraeuropee
"Dinz Rialto" on entrusting to museums collections
of archaeological objects belonging to Ecuador, organised
by the Italian National Committee. Poland
Meeting on illicit traffic held by the Polish National
Committee with museum professionals at the Royal Castle
in Warsaw. Meeting with the Minister for the Arts
and museum personnel. Spain
Exhibition on stolen objects and illicit traffic at
Jaen Provincial Museum with support from the Caja
Foundation in Grenada. Lectures on protecting heritage,
attended among others by an officer from the Guardia
17th October: day of debates on the theme of illicit
traffic at the Ethnographic Museum in Stockholm, organised
by the Swedish National Committee.