Museums are an essential part of almost every city and town across the globe. They come in all shapes and sizes with all manner of weird and wonderful collections inside. Berlin has some of the world’s greatest museums, all nestled together on their very own island in the heart of the Spree – the UNESCO World Heritage listed Museums Island. This makes the city one of the greatest places to be in to celebrate International Museum Day.
Established in 1977, the event is coordinated by the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and in 2017 will celebrate 40 years of global museum love. The event raises awareness about museums and their important role in society and does this strategically year by year with a theme. In 2017 the theme is ‘Museums and contested histories: Saying the unspeakable in museums’. The theme recognises the importance of how museums communicate the stories of historic events, especially those where beliefs differ and individual experiences change the way the story can ultimately be told. A museum’s retelling of history speaks volumes about the common understandings and must communicate ‘facts’ in ways that resonate with us all, despite all of us having our own truths and challenges, particularly around traumatic events and memories.
International Museums Day is officially May 18th, but different countries schedule their events for dates on and around this date. In Germany Internationaler Museumstag (site is in German) is this Sunday the 21st of May. Almost 30,000 museums in 120 countries take part in the global event and everything is free! There is a handy interactive map available on the ICOM website to help you find events in Berlin or elsewhere.
So if you’re not sure exactly just how exciting a free day in Berlin’s museum is – it means all of natural history is yours 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!
Happy Museums Day!