What drives people to flock to museums? A sense of duty, a thirst for knowledge, curiosity, boredom, travel tips, or a tribute to fashion? Whatever it is, these venues have been popular year-round cultural attractions since the dawn of time.
The world’s oldest known museum, some historians believe, was founded 2 500 years ago, around 530 BC. Princess Ennigaldi, a high priestess of the moon god Nanna and daughter of the last Neo-Babylonian king Nabonidus, created a collection of antiquities dating back to the 20th century BC. It was located in the state of Ur in southern Mesopotamia, in what is modern-day Iraq.
The primary role of museums remains unchanged and inarguable since then — they educate, entertain, inspire, and engage. Many cultural institutions, including Louvre, Uffizi, Rijksmuseum, d’Orsay, Guggenheim, British Museum, and Van Gogh Museum, stay committed to the noble cause even under the lockdown, offering virtual tours and online galleries. We have a rare chance to explore plenty of must-see places from our cosy sofas.
However, do we really need a crisis to truly appreciate their importance? Let’s do them justice and celebrate International Museum Day, organised on or around 18 May each year. The tradition started in 1977, gaining increased attention every year.
Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion is the theme of this year’s event, which of course has gone digital. Museums across the globe will share both on-site community and online digital activities lasting a day, weekend, or entire week. The organisers say that museums have no borders — they have a network. And we are all a part of it.
Go to is.gd/6Klp50 for an interactive world map that shows what’s happening in your region and other regions all over the world. You will find even more content on the site of @International Council of Museums – ICOM: icom.museum/en.
To top it all off, check out these sites for virtual tours of Ukrainian museums: