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International Museum Day

18 May 2016 is International Museum Day

by Vicky Scott

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To use International Museum Day to consider the importance of museums.

Preparation and materials

  • Have available the Youtube video of the 2015 HSBC advert, ‘Museum of Procrastination’, and the means to show it during the assembly.

  • Play it from the start up to 51 seconds.
  • Have available the theme tune from Night at the Museum and the means to play it at the end of the assembly.



  1. Share memories of visits to your favourite museums. If possible, relate some funny stories about these visits or introduce the theme of museums by using the ‘word cloud’ that you created.

  2. Ask students to name favourite museums that they have visited and what they consider to be the purpose of a museum.

    You may wish to record their answers.

  3. The International Council of Museums (ICOM) defines a museum as: ‘A non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment.'

  4. Since 1977, ICOM has organized an annual event called International Museum Day. The next International Museum Day will be held on 18 May 2016. Each year, a different theme is selected that is important to the international museum community. This year, the theme will be ‘Museums and Cultural Landscapes’.

  5. The purpose of International Museum Day is to highlight the importance of museums in the development of society and, in particular, how museums encourage a better understanding of different cultures around the world. The organizers believe that this awareness of the diversity in our world, past and present, will promote mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.

  6. Last year, over 35,000 museums in 145 countries took part in International Museum Day. Encourage students to find out what their local museum is doing for International Museum Day.

Time for reflection

There is a passage in the Bible that could be applied to today’s theme.

‘Just make sure you stay alert. Keep close watch over yourselves. Don’t forget anything of what you’ve seen. Don’t let your heart wander off. Stay vigilant as long as you live. Teach what you’ve seen and heard to your children and grandchildren.’ (Deuteronomy 4.9, The Message version)

Some of you may have seen a recent advert that featured an imaginary museum. This nicely illustrates how museums can be places that make us think and reflect.

Show the Youtube video of the 2015 HSBC advert, ‘Museum of Procrastination’, which is available at:

Dear God,
Thank you for the inspirational places that we call museums.
Thank you for the way in which they help us to remember what it means to be human.
Thank you for the way in which they help us to reflect on our world, our history and our culture.
Please help us always to be willing to learn from both the best and the worst of what we see, so that we may avoid the mistakes of the past.


The theme tune from Night at the Museum, available at:

Publication date: May 2016   (Vol.18 No.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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