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The International Museum Day, the Global Museum Movement, and the Power of our Communities in Shaping our part of the World (2/3 in a Museum Move series with Dr Ana Labrador)

Dr Ana, as with the previous SESH, briefly showed documentation on how steps are being undertaken by Ukraine museums to preserve and manage the heritage objects. Dr Ana formally started the SESH by presenting a brief history of the International Museum Day (IMD) and how every year, ICOM, together with participating museums hold various activities to commemorate IMD depending on the theme for that year. IMD is being celebrated every year on and around May 18. Even if we are still in the midst of the pandemic, IMD is still being celebrated through other means.

Dr Ana shared her experience from her practice in celebrating IMD and how it serves as a platform for cultural exchange. In the Philippines, museums would have free entrance during IMD and other milestone dates until a law was passed making entrances free for National Museums. IMD also serves as platforms for advocacies, and this was highlighted in her experience during her time at the Vargas Museum in UP and how they have managed to maintain the young museum guides summer program.

IMD also serves as a platform for advocacies and a safe space to discuss contested stories and histories. Museums are places where one can see tangible objects, but the pandemic enabled the staff to rethink their strategies. Dr Ana went on to discuss the power of museums as a means to achieve sustainability and how they are strategic partners of the UN in attaining SGD. Museums are also places to enable innovation in addressing digital divide and community building through education.

Dr Ana went on to discuss how to make an IMD a success such as developing partnerships and linkages with organizations and individuals with similar goals and increasing visibility in both physical and virtual platforms.

For the region, IMD is important because each country can focus on themes that are appropriate and relevant in their respective contexts. Museums can be a healing space for both the staff and the public especially with the recovery from the pandemic as these can also be places that provide change in scenery. For the final part of this SESH, Dr Ana discussed steps that can be undertaken to increase and develop cooperation and collaboration strategies of museums such as co-curation with vulnerable and marginalized communities and seeking relevant audiences. Dr Ana ended the SESH with a reminder of the upcoming International Museum Day on 18th of May 2022 with the theme “The Power of Museums.”

If you have watched or joined the live broadcast of this SPAFA SESH, please complete the questionnaire (approximately 5 minutes) to help us improve future SPAFA SESHes: https://bit.ly/Evaluation-Form-SPAFA-SESH18-TheGlobalofMuseumMovement-andthePowerofourCommunitiesinShapingourpartoftheWorld

Date: 11 April 2022

Time: 10 a.m. (Bangkok time)

Online Platform:

This year’s theme of the International Museum Day (IMD) is the “Power of Museums”, anchored on three areas of concerns: sustainability, innovation, and community building. Celebrated on May 18 each year since 1977, this year’s event will be more poignant with the ongoing pandemic’s challenges to museums, heritage sites, collections, and museum staff and public.
The IMD’s chief proponent, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) commemorated its 75th year in November 2021 with 40,000 members from 141 countries.

In this SPAFA SESH, returning guest speaker Ana Labrador, PhD (Cantab) will show the ways in which responses to these episodes inspire action from those in our region to turn museums and affiliated institutions more relevant than it has ever been – especially as public healing spaces. It is also expected that more active discussions will take place at the ICOM Triennial Conference in Prague, Czech Republic, even if in a hybrid format.

Moderator: SEAMEO SPAFA’s Director, Mrs Somlak Charoenpot

Related to this SPAFA SESH, Dr Ana Labrador recently wrote an article for Museum International (Volume 73, 2021 – Issue 3-4) titled The Empty Museum: A Southeast Asian Perspective. Read her full article, HERE.

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