International Museum Day is annually celebrated on 18 May and this year’s theme, “Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion” is very appropriate. To put a spotlight on this theme, the UP Museums will be covering weekly news topics for the month of May, with “Digital Inclusion” as the first. This news post will be followed by “Climate Justice” as a second subject, and with “Accessibility & Disabilities” and “Equality & Discrimination” as further themes to follow.
Worldwide museums are closed and were once central social spaces, but COVID-19 has enforced social distancing. How do museums remain inclusive and diverse during such trying times? Globally ICOM this year has moved International Museum Day onto a digital platform - #IMD2020. By making museums digitally available they are enabling digital inclusion and online engagement is becoming increasingly important.
According to the International Council of Museums (ICOM), digital inclusion covers three aspects, “access: availability and affordability; adoption of digital literacy and application: workforce development, education and civic engagement.”
The objectives for #IMD2020 are jumping-off points for museums to develop creative ideas that will engage their communities on-site or online and highlight the importance of the role of museums and institutions that serve society and its development by:
- Advocating for museums as key actors 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
According to Nicole Hoffmann, “the current unprecedented circumstances are providing new opportunities for many museums to get up to speed and fast-track their digital technologies. Museums have moved their engagement and access to online resources such as updating website content and to get social-media enabled.”
The UP Museums will be going digital to celebrate International Museums Month. Hard work has been put into online content for the UP Museum website and many new digital resources such as collections, galleries and interesting news items are posted weekly and an exciting -newsletter is due to be launched. The UP Museums are institutional members of the International Council of Museums and we join our colleagues and world-wide network of over 40 000 museum professionals and more than 20 000 museums in more than 138 countries.
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