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2002 Museums and Globalisation

International Museum Day 2002

ICOM is inviting museums all over the world to celebrate International Museum Day on or around 18 May 2002. The central theme chosen for the 2002 edition is "Museums and Globalisation".

ICOM President Jacques Perot is calling on museum professionals to take this opportunity to defend the role played by their institutions in debates on globalisation. He stresses that museums "urgently need to take steps to ensure that they gain from the new world order, whilst remaining vigilant as to its possible repercussions on cultural development and the respect for differing identities."

International Museum Day 2002 will provide professionals with an opportunity to implement the resolution adopted by the ICOM General Assembly in July 2001, uniting with colleagues to "oppose vigorously any proposal to abolish or weaken the long-established [principle of] cultural exception, in order to continue to protect the significant cultural and natural heritage of the various nations around the world."

However the context of global free trade has also been a terrific stimulus to museums to become more outward-looking. Recent advances in communications technologies, the growth of the media, and the lowering of barriers between countries have made it easier for ideas and people to circulate freely, and have proved to be substantially beneficial in that they promote cultural diversity and enhance the cultural capital of civilisations.

Placed as they are in the heart of the global village, museums are well aware of the effects globalisation can have on the way they are run; but they also need to realise that museums' basic remit acquires especial relevance in the context of globalisation. Insofar as museums help people learn about difference, they are the chief custodians of the "mutual understanding, co-operation and peace among peoples" enshrined in the definition of International Museum Day.

This year, the members of ICOM have once again opted for a theme which is relevant to museums everywhere in the world, of whatever nature, whatever type of collection they house. This should ensure that the 24th edition of International Museum Day draws the attention of visitors all over the world to the highly topical preoccupations of these cultural institutions, which have such a vital role to play in our globalised societies.

International Museum Day has steadily grown in popularity with both museum professionals and the public, and each year sees more and more ICOM members taking part in the event.

International Museum Day receives support from the Réunion des musées nationaux (RMN) and the Direction des musées de France (DMF)

Updated: 30 September 2005