Almost every place where humans live has a museum of some kind – whether it’s a collection of pet rocks from local children or the remains of a Babylonian gate from an ancient civilisation, the need to collect, preserve and display our existence is ever present. It is with this ethos that the International Museum Day was established almost 40 years ago. Museums are an essential part of the fabric of society and as such the event aims to unite the global museum community as well as remind the public of their cultural importance and value.The event is scheduled for a specific date and museums all over the world schedule various events on and around that date. Last year more than 35,000 museums took part in 145 countries. In Germany the ‘Internationaler Museumstag‘ will be held on Sunday 22nd May and there are almost 1500 activities and events planned in museums all over the country. Berlin of course is home to some of the world’s greatest museums, including of course the UNESCO World Heritage listed Museums Island.
The online program has a handy search feature and there are over 70 activities in museums across Berlin that are free to participate in. International Museum day not only gives the public the chance to learn more about how the museums function, what they do and why they are important, but it also means entrance is free to some of the city’s best museums.
What does that mean for you? Well it means you get to see the almost complete skeleton of Tristan – an actual Tyrannosaurus Rex – at the Naturkunde Museum – for free. It means you can experience some of Germany’s most precious historical items and moments – at the Deutsches Historisches Museum – for free. You can learn about technology through the ages and how it has been applied in our everyday lives – at the Deutsches Technikmuseum – for free and you can see the rarest postage stamps in the world – at the Museum für Kommunikation – for free!
Each year the International Museum Day sets a theme for the event, encouraging museums to design their programs with this topic in mind. This year’s theme is ‘Museums and Cultural Landscapes’, exploring the responsibilities museums have towards the countries they exist within. Or as detailed in the Siena Charter “the country where we live, which surrounds us with the images and symbols that identify and characterise it.” Berlin is filled with museums and many of them we pass by without a second thought. So with the chance to explore them for free and spend your Sunday getting informed, educated and inspired, why not spend your time this weekend in a museum!