On International Museum Day, Let's Celebrate the Power of Museums
What is the one thing you think of when you hear the word museum? Suppose your mind jumps to a massive stone building with marble columns or dusty objects behind glass cases. In that case, you're not alone—but you're also missing out on the power that museums genuinely have. Whether they're old or new, small or large, our mission remains the same: to connect us with our world and with each other through art and history and science.
In over 170 countries and territories, museums worldwide will celebrate International Museum Day 2022. According to The International Council of Museums (ICOM), this year's theme is '"The Power of Museums."' It explores the role that museums can play in transforming the world through the lenses of Sustainability, Digitization and Community building through education.
Museums are more than just places to view artifacts and learn about history; they are also key players in preserving our environment and fostering sustainable development. As centers of knowledge, museums play an essential role in disseminating scientific information about environmental challenges and promoting sustainability. In addition, museums can help create more efficient systems and promote short-circuit and social economy by working with their local communities. In this way, museums can contribute to a wide variety of Sustainable Development Goals set forth by the United Nations.
A second focus for this year's theme is the power of innovating on digitalization and accessibility. Digitization can help museums reach new audiences, and augmented reality can provide a deeper understanding of complex and nuanced concepts. By embracing these innovations, museums can become even more powerful tools for education and enjoyment. Digitization can also help to preserve delicate artifacts. For example, Augmented Reality (AR) can be used to bring museum objects to life, providing a new level of engagement for visitors. AR has been used to create virtual tours of TMM's PPCLI gallery (https://ppcli.com/vrtour/ppcli_vrtour_htm.html), making it possible for people to experience the gallery from anywhere in the world. With so many benefits, it is clear that digitization and technology are crucial to the future of museums.
Museums have a unique power to connect people and foster communities. Through education and engagement, they build a bridge between different cultures and help to shape an informed and engaged civil society. Whether by hosting exhibitions that highlight the histories and achievements of local communities or by offering educational programs aimed at promoting life-long learning, museums are vital hubs for communication and connection.
At the same time, museums also play an essential role in community building. Preserving and showcasing local artifacts, artwork, and historical documents provides a platform for interactive dialogue around shared experiences and values. This helps bring people together across diverse backgrounds and can also foster trust, collaboration, and cooperation within a given community. Ultimately, the power of museums lies in their ability to inspire empathy and create spaces where diversity is embraced and celebrated.
So on International Museum Day 2022, join us for a session and tour of the current exhibition: Currencies of Conflict at the University of Calgary's Founders' Gallery. The Gallery will offer three different half-hour tours of the exhibition which covers twelve different themes, including war art, propaganda indigenous art, textiles and numismatics – coins, currency and tokens. Tours are open to the public with no registration required (free with the price of admission). For more information, visit: https://founders.ucalgary.ca/exhibition/currencies-of-conflict-university-of-calgary-collections-at-the-military-museums/
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