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International Museum Day 2003 - MUSEUMS AND FRIENDS

February 2003

On 18 May 2003, museums all over the world will be celebrating International Museum Day. This year's theme is "Museums and Friends".

Who are these "friends"? Some are voluntary workers, whilst others are partners or benefactors, but "museum friends" are essentially people who love museums. They may assist a museum in its daily work, enable it to add to its collection, help build bridges between the museum and the public, or intercede with government bodies on its behalf, acting either as individuals or as members of an association or friends' group.

ICOM has decided to dedicate International Museum Day 2003 to museum friends, to pay homage to the valuable and little-publicised role they play and to strengthen links between museums and their friends.

As Jacques Perot, President of ICOM, has put it, "Museums must place themselves at the heart of society and ensure that they are open to the communities around them. The development of our institutions depends in large part on the support of the public, and we must offer that public opportunities to support our aims and involve themselves in our activities. So it is important that museums and their friends work together in a spirit of creativity and innovation."

The World Federation of Friends of Museums (WFFM), which comprises over a million friends, volunteers and donors from all parts of the world and works closely with ICOM and with museums, is joining forces with ICOM to celebrate International Museum Day 2003, when it will be offering advice on how to set up a friends' group if your museum does not already have one.

International Museum Day was launched by ICOM in 1977. The aim of this annual event is to raise public awareness of the vital role museums play in society, and every year, museums all over the world mark the occasion with open days, guided tours and public events and workshops.

18 May 2003 will be a celebration of museum friends as well as of museums.

For further information, see:
ICOM News N4/2002
The WFFM website:

Updated: 30 September 2005