Museums are places of discovery. They teach us about the past and how it has shaped society today.
In schools, a visit to museums is part of the curriculum to enhance learning especially in the subjects of art, history and social studies.
In travel, a museum is a must in the itinerary for it presents a view of the culture of the people in the places one visits.
In leisure, a walk through a museum is always a pleasant experience of “hearing” the stories of the human race told by artifacts and artworks.
Museums have a special role in human development. It gives a view of the heart, soul and spirit of a village, a town, a city, or a nation. Today, there are even private museums that allow strangers to look into the history of a family
Days ago, International Museum Day (IMD) was celebrated to focus on the importance of the role of museums in society and development. IMD was established by the International Commission on Museums (ICOM) in 1977 and every year since then, that special day for these special places of discovery is celebrated on May 18, or around that date.
“It is a celebration with the objective of raising awareness of the fact that museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures, development of mutual understanding, cooperation, and peace among peoples. Today, this objective is as relevant as ever,” the IMD message said.
“Museums have the power to transform the world around us” — are the powerful 10 words that greet the reader in the IMD 2022 page, a message that reflects the theme of this year’s celebration –The power of museums.
The theme focuses on three ways in which museums can transform the world through the power of fostering sustainability and climate justice; the power of innovating on digitalization and accessibility; and the power of community building through education.
The IMD celebration which lasts through the week, has registered more than 5,000 activities organized by museums around the world to start the transformative power to bring about positive change in their communities. In 2021, more than 37,000 museums participated in the event.
According to UNESCO, the current estimated total number of museums worldwide is around 104,000. Western Europe and North America have around 61 percent of museums as of March 2021. The United States accounted for nearly one-third of that number and tops the list of the countries ranked by the number of museums.
In the Philippines, the important role of museums is reflected in the work of the National Committee on Museums (NCOM) who reported that there are now 161 museums in the country – 56 in the National Capital Region; 22 in Northern Luzon; 36 in Southern Luzon; 36 in the Visayas; and 11 museums in Mindanao.
The works of art, specimens, and cultural and historical artifacts that represent the cultural heritage of the Filipino people and the natural history of the Philippines are exhibited at the National Museum, which is described in its home page as “an educational, scientific and cultural institution.”
Today, the National Museum network comprises 19 regional, branch and site museums throughout the country. That all started when the National Museum was opened in 1901.
Make time to visit a museum. A first, second, or ninth visit can transform you. It is always worth the time.