Celebrating International Museum’s Day in the classroom


Museums can play a pivotal role in education, providing young people with a means of exploring different cultures and history.

Since 1977, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) has promoted International Museum’s Day annually, on or around 18th May.

In 2018, more than 37,000 museums across the world took part, representing 158 countries and territories around the world.

ICOM states that International Museum Day is designed to raise awareness of the role that museums play, by showing that they are “an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples”.

What role do museums have to play?

The theme for this year seeks to recognise the role of Museums as cultural hubs and that their role in society is changing.

Part of the change has seen museum spaces become more interactive, community orientated and creative, helping to promote the sharing of knowledge and data.

Museums also play a vital role in collecting and conserving objects, assisting with research and tackling contemporary social issues and conflict.

These institutions have a pivotal role to play in supporting the curriculum and in developing knowledge among school children on many of the major subjects.

Museum exhibitions can help to enhance understanding and familiarity with the subject matter, especially for primary school pupils, as it can help bring the topics to life.

Using International Museum Day to promote the curriculum 

International Museum Day, therefore, provides teachers with a chance to promote museums to their pupils and to encourage them to visit when they can.

Use the day to encourage debate around the role that museums have, to discuss how their offering is changing, and to look into how collections can promote out-of-the-box thinking.

Alternatively, and where budgets allow, teachers may want to consider a school trip to a museum or to see if a museum can provide resources to help enhance time in the classroom.