International Museum Day

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Musuems at Night isn’t just wandering around a museum at night. At Brighton’s Toy and Model Museum there is a stand up comedy show…

Friday is International Museum Day, the aim of which is to demonstrate to everyone that museums are an important means of cultural exchange.

This year the theme will be “Hyperconnected museums: New approaches, new publics”. What does it mean? In the words of the oganisers it means that it is” impossible to understand the role of museums without taking into account all the connections they make. They are an inherent part of their local communities, their cultural landscape and their natural environment. Thanks to technology, museums can now reach way beyond their core audience and find new publics when approaching their collections in a different way: it can be the digitalisation of their collections, adding multimedia elements to the exhibition or something as simple as a hashtag that allows visitors to share their experience in social media”

Last year more than 36,000 museums from 137 countries participated so what can we expect from British and Irish museums this year?

If you go to the International Museum Day website and click on the UK or Ireland you will find… absolutely nothing! On the face of it that there is void in activity in British and Irish museums whereas, for example, in Greece museums will be free tomorrow and in the Spanish city of Vilafranca, the VINSEUM – Catalan Wine Cultures Museum- will have free entry and be open until midnight.

… and at the Scottish Fisheries Museum at Anstruther, you can see the fish that fisherman have caught during that day!

I looked at the British Museum website – nothing; the same applied to the national museums of Ireland, Scotland and Wales. It looks as though we just don’t celebrate the day.

But what we do celebrate at the same time is Museums at Night. Running over three days, the 16-19th of May, the event is the brainchild of Culture 24 a charity that helps cultural sector organisations in the UK to understand digital change and build digital capacity. In that sense, Museums at Night is close to the aims this year of International Museum Day.

Once again there are hundreds of events happening at museums around our country as part of Museum at Night and, like last year, Just about Travel, doesn’t have space to name them all. Click here or go to the website – and you can see all that is happening over the three nights.

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