Monday, 18 May 2020 09:54

Communiqué by Chairperson of the Committee on Education, Science, Culture and Sports on International Museum Day

Theme of this year's event: "Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion"

Chairperson of the Committee on Education, Science, Culture and Sports, Mr Radule Novović, issued a communiqué on the occasion of marking 18 May – International Museum Day:

"For almost half a century the International Museum Day has been marked with the aim of raising awareness of the important role of museums when it came to collecting, protecting and understanding cultural heritage, but also to presenting the institution of museum as a place of cooperation and understanding between humans.

The International Museum Day was officially established in 1977, with the adoption of a resolution, during the General Assembly of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), in Moscow, to launch an annual event "with the aim of further unifying the creative aspirations and efforts of museums and drawing the attention of the world public to their activity". International Museum Day was meant to convey the message that "museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, co-operation and peace among peoples".

International Museum Day is celebrated on 18 May, all over the world, from America, Australia and Oceania, to Europe, Asia and Africa. Every year, this day is marked by activities within a specific theme proposed by the International Council of Museums, which allows all museums around the world to focus on the same content in May and that the messages sent by the museum community in synergy resonate strongly with the public. Last year, in 2019, 55,000 museums from around 150 countries participated in the celebration of the International Museum Day. The theme of this year's event is "Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion".

With the theme Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion, the International Museum Day 2020 should be an occasion for gathering in order to celebrate the diversity of perspectives made up of museum communities and its personnel, and the best tools for identifying and overcoming bias in what museums display and the stories they tell to the visitors.

Aware of the fact that the International Museum Day 2020 is being marked in extremely difficult situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Council of Museums has provided guidelines to move the program of this year's event to the virtual world ultimately, even though the museums have recently started to open their doors for visitors. Also, ICOM's recommendations are that by organising creative events and activities, the organisers, in particular, advocate for the following:

- Pointing out the key role of museums in society,

- Empowering diversity and inclusion in our cultural institutions,

- Promoting cultural exchange as a catalyst for peace among peoples,

- Implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

It is apparent that new technologies and needs of visitors put forward new demands before museums, so it is no longer enough for museums to keep and exhibit objects, but in addition they must provide visitors with the opportunity to be educated and to be able to do research through educational programs and presentations, as well as the opportunity to develop identity and evaluate historic and artistic heritage in social, cultural and educational contexts. With the help of technology, museums have found a way to reach different parts of society in a variety of fun ways. They went beyond their boundaries and entered numerous homes, and their content, through the virtual world, became available to every citizen.

In this regard, it is very important to mention that on the occasion of marking the International Museum Day, this year, the National Museum of Montenegro announced that the most attractive and significant exhibits kept in this institution will be presented virtually, and that this practice will continue even after the measures have terminated, taken to prevent the spread of the epidemic.

It is necessary to point out that, within the campaign "We live the culture #stayathome", launched by the Ministry of Culture of Montenegro, in times of the necessity of adhering to prescribed measures of social distancing, with the aim of enabling citizens to watch artistic and cultural programme through communication channels available within their homes, the National Museum of Montenegro provided a virtual visit to the permanent exhibitions of organisational units that are part of this institution. Also, the National Museum of Montenegro has made a significant contribution to this campaign by enabling online display of current exhibitions in television format that interested citizens can watch on the YouTube channel and social networks.

Finally, it can be concluded that the potential of museums to create meaningful experiences for people of different backgrounds is a central part of their social value. The growing expectation of the public directed the conversation about the potentials of the museum towards the social good in the form of holding exhibitions, conferences, performances, educational programs and initiatives. Museums need to show their importance by constructively engaging with the political, social and cultural realities of modern society.

"Every year, on the Saturday closest to 18 May, as part of the International Museum Day, the traditional event "The Night of Museums" is celebrated. The initiative was launched in coordination with the French Museums Directorate and has been organised in European museums since 2005, under the auspices of the Council of Europe and UNESCO. Montenegro joined the initiative in 2007. This year, due to the situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the event "The Night of Museums" was postponed for 14 November 2020."

Chairperson of the Committee on Education, Science, Culture and Sports of the Parliament of Montenegro,

Mr Radule Novović