Thought-Provoking Theme for IMD 2017

By choosing to say the unspeakable in museums, the theme of IMD 2017 looks at how to understand the incomprehensible aspects of the contested histories inherent to the human race. It also encourages museums to play an active role in peacefully addressing traumatic histories through mediation and multiple points of view.

Every year since 1992, ICOM’s International Museum Day has had a theme for engagement: everything from ‘museums and friends’ to ‘the fight against illicit traffic of cultural property’. 

For this year’s IMD, taking place on May 18th, the Council have chosen the theme: Museums and contested histories: Saying the unspeakable in museums’. 

It’s a timely initiative, exploring how museums can work to benefit society by encouraging peaceful human relationships. And it accepts that to do this, certain taboo subjects and contested histories need to be faced up to and reconciled, and that museums can serve as a hub for this. 

In what are undeniably fractured and challenging times for many sectors of society, this seems to be a clear, positive statement on the cultural role that museums can play, and their continued relevance to us all.

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