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Editorial 13th. May 2012


Museum Day




The whole world will celebrate in a few days a new International Museum Day. The date in 2012 is next Friday 18 and the central theme is “Museums in a changing world. New challenges, new inspirations”.

ICOM (International Council of Museums, associated with UNESCO) instituted in 1977 Museum Day with the aim of sensitizing public opinion about the role of museums in the development of society. The dynamic of the celebration has been changing and it has grown. There are around 20.000 museums in 100 countries that organize this day and events around it, day and night tours of museum discoveries, atypical visits to museums, workshops and conferences.

Uruguay, where the National ICOM Committee exists for over 25 years, is not left behind. The National Committee, also, has been presenting for over 10 years an annual reconnaissance prize to the work done by a Uruguayan museum institution. In 2012 this prize will correspond to Fundación Pablo Atchugarry, for its uninterested activity in support of national artists and “young creators” that are selected from the arts bachelors of public high schools, in order to participate in an instructive cycle at the Foundation, located in Maldonado, Route 104, km 4.5. A cycle that is presided by the alma mater of the Foundation: the internationally renowned Uruguayan artist, Pablo Atchugarry and his wife, Silvana Neme.

All of this adjusts to the spirit of ICOM, created in 1946 with the aim of overcoming the crisis that swept the museum and patrimonial area, because of the destruction and looting that happened during the Second World War. Thus, this non-governmental organization, that has a formal relationship with UNESCO and has a consultative status in respect to the Economical and Social Council of the United Nations, was formed. It is the only international organization that represents museums and museum professionals. Nowadays ICOM is a diplomatic forum constituted by representatives of 137 countries and territories that adjusts to a Code of Ethics for museums. Within ICOM there is an international network, composed of 30.000 museum professionals from around the world that extend their activities through 31 international committees that represent the specialties of ICOM. Within other missions of international public service, the International Council of Museums fights against illegal trafficking of cultural objects as well as having emergency programs in case of natural disasters or armed conflicts that jeopardize these patrimonies.

When ICOM established International Museum Day, it aimed to stimulate in the public the capacity of understanding the role of museums in the development of society. Then, in 1992, for the first time a theme was established: “Museums and the environment”. In 1997 the first official poster of the event was launched, which was about the fight against the illegal traffic of cultural objects. In 2011 ICOM sponsored “Museum Night”, this 2012 it will be a great occasion for the public and also for museum professionals to get to know better the public, outlining the importance of the role of these institutions that are in the service of society and for its development and because of this they have an important role.


El País Digital

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