International Museum Day (IMD) is an international day held annually on or around 18 May, coordinated by the International Council of Museums (ICOM). The event highlights a specific theme which changes every year reflecting a relevant theme or issue facing museums internationally.
IMD provides the opportunity for museum professionals to meet the public and alert them as to the challenges that museums face, and raise public awareness on the role museums play in the development of society. It also promotes dialogue between museum professionals.
The first International Museum Day took place in 1977, coordinated by ICOM. IMD was established following the adoption of a resolution by ICOM to create an annual event “with the aim of further unifying the creative aspirations and efforts of museums and drawing the attention of the world public to their activity.
Each year, museum internationally are invited to participate in IMD to promote the role of museums around in the world. They do so through events and activities related to the annual theme. An annual theme for the event was first adopted in 1992. An international poster from ICOM was first developed in 1997, and in that year was adapted by 28 countries. In 2009, IMD attracted the participation of 20,000 museums hosting events in more than 90 countries. In 2010, 98 countries participated in the celebration, with 100 countries in 2011, and 30,000 museums in 129 countries in 2012. In 2011, the official IMD poster was translated into 37 languages. By 2014, 35,000 museums from 140 countries were taking part in IMD.