The International Council of Museums (ICOM) has organized International Museum Day, since 1977, which represents a unique moment for the international museum community.
The objective of International Museum Day (IMD) is to raise awareness about the fact that, “Museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, co-operation and peace among peoples.” Celebrated for the first time 40 years ago, today most museums participate in International Museum Day.
The theme for the 2023 International Museum Day (May 18, 2023) is – Museums, Sustainability and Well-being.
If you consider it, museums are key contributors to both well-being and sustainable development of our communities. As trusted institutions you can say, that they are uniquely positioned, to somehow foster a positive change. There are many ways in which museums can contribute to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, such as from supporting climate action and fostering inclusivity, to tackling social isolation and improving mental health.
Significantly, each year since 2020, the International Museum Day supports a set of goals taken from the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. This year, (2023), the focus will be on:
• Global Health and Well-being: To ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages, particularly in areas like mental health & social isolation.
• Climate Action: To take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact, by adopting low-carbon practices in the Global North & mitigation strategies in the Global South.
• Life on Land: To protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, amplifying the voices of indigenous leaders &raising awareness on the loss of biodiversity.
Museums are experimenting with techniques – to drive change
Disruption is happening in all businesses, and cultural institutions are also experiencing this as they are trying to embrace a modern, innovative frame of mind. And museums have started to follow suit. Today, museums have huge space – leasable commercial space, and can host numerous events – like music festivals, among other revenue- generating channels.
In fact, initiatives like these can provide museums with numerous benefits; and they expose these institutions to a range of new connections, setting up suitable base for partnerships and collaborations. They also enable museums to cultivate a new creative, innovative community that can also double up as a recurring revenue source. Taking a reality check, we are exposed to the internationally famous Met Gala Red Carpet event which is a fundraising benefit for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. And, incidentally, the 2023 Met Gala theme was ‘Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty’ to honor the fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld.
Thus museums are experimenting with techniques that typify the start-up and tech worlds; and this is reflected in the thinking that drives marketing strategy and a desire to build out new revenue streams. And, who could be the driving force behind such change? Obviously, the “museopreneur”.
The very nature of a museum is such they serve the public and protect our world’s culture in perpetuity, without really fixing goals of generating profits as businesses do.
Museums now find themselves in perhaps the best possible position to ride on the advances in technology. Apart from that, a clear understanding of being a “museopreneur” will be an important tool in achieving this dynamic reality.
Museums count on footfalls and cater to consumers of all kinds. So, let loose your inner “museopreneur” – to inspire potential existing audiences, explore unconventional revenue streams, and ensure that your institution thrives in this rocky, ever-changing climate.