World Museum Day
Children watching a retrospective of Argentine artist Luis Felipe Noé, a contemporary of Antonio Dias, at the Museum of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires, Argentina. stock photo arte!brasileiros

The 18th of May is International Museum Day. To set the date, the International Council of Museums in Brazil (ICOM BR) posted a open letter to the Brazilian museum community. The date was created in 1977 together with ICOM, an organ that integrates UNESCO.

In the document, ICOM emphasizes the importance of cultural institutions in the present, welcoming citizens and focusing their actions on collective well-being, in a movement considered “essential and urgent”. The Council highlights museums as “relevant and powerful contemporary institutions, active in the preservation and research of their collections and in communication with their audiences”. Even more so now, in the midst of the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic in Brazil, when deaths due to infectious disease exceed 16.

The message conveyed by ICOM on International Museum Day also pays tribute to the workers in essential roles, such as conservation, security and maintenance, who cannot follow the recommended isolation and whose work helps protect our heritage. Following WHO guidelines, museums remain closed and face obstacles to minimize economic losses and at the same time keep their teams intact - avoiding, as far as possible, the layoffs of their workforce, as unfortunately happened at the MET, in New York, at the end. Of april.

Due to the turmoil of the period, ICOM emphasizes the power of museums in helping the population to resist the moment, “activating memories, remembering who we really are and what our values ​​are; registering the present, the challenges of daily life in confinement, the mourning, and the great social transformation that we are experiencing”.

At the end of the letter, the council draws attention to the need for institutions to rethink their role in the post-crisis period, emphasizing the urgency of reconfiguration of the “museological experience for the community, in the community, with the community, in a socially inclusive and economically sustainable way”, adding that “there is no longer a way to exist under the ballast of a social elite, waiting for public funding”.

A few weeks ago, the arte!brasileiros launched a series of interviews – which continues to be worked on, with new chapters every 15 days – where we talked to directors of Brazilian cultural institutions to address issues such as those raised by ICOM. Check out interviews with Jochen Volz, Edward Saron e Ricardo Ohtake.

Read the full ICOM letter at this link.


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