International Museum Day

The objective of International Museum Day is to raise awareness of museums as 'an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.' It is marked annually on or around 18 May.

It was established by ICOM internationally in 1977 and each year has a different theme.

International Museum Day ICOM international


2018 theme Hyperconnected museums:
                     new approaches, new publics

Hyperconnectivity is a term invented in 2001 to design the multiple means of communication we have today, such as face-to-face contact, email, instant messaging, telephone or the Internet. This global network of connections becomes each day more complex, diverse and integrated.  In the hyperconnected world of today, museums join the trend.  

It is with this in mind that ICOM chose the theme Hyperconnected museums: new approaches, new publics  for International Museum Day 2018.

Winner 2018 university student essay competition

ICOM Australia is pleased to announce that Perri Sparnon has won the 2018 ICOM Australia International Museum Day essay competition for her essay entitled Hyperconnected museums: new approaches, new publics. Perri is a student at The University of Melbourne, studying a Master of Cultural Materials Conservation.

ICOM Australia invited students studying tertiary degrees in museum studies, cultural heritage and related disciplines to write a 2000-word essay on the International Museum Day topic Hyperconnected museums: new approaches, new publics. They addressed the question:

What is a ‘hyper-connected museum’? Critique this concept and use a case study of a museum exhibition to discuss its potential to engage with new audiences. You should draw on the work of scholars and commentators, but your own views and suggestions are also encouraged.

Perri’s essay effectively defined hyper-connectivity and explained its broader implications, noting the importance of engagement with and between culturally-diverse communities. Her focus on material culture and the specific practice of conservation was unique amongst the essay submissions, and her choice of case study, Making the invisible visible: conservation and Islamic art  at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, allowed her to focus on more subtle issues such as ‘invisible’ legacies that reside within cultural materials. She recognised the relevance of international issues, both historic and contemporary, and also the contribution made by ICOM in defining the cultural importance of museums, and supporting the roles and perspectives of the conservation profession.

The judges commended the students on their submissions, noting that all had shown considerable insight into the nature, potential and challenges of hyper-connectivity.

2018 winning essay by Perri Sparnon (306kB)

Image courtesy of Robert Swieca: ICOM Australia 2018 IMD student essay prize winner Perri Sparnon

Perri Sparnon receiving her prize at the Museums Galleries Australia National Conference dinner 6 June 2018 at Melbourne Museum

Winner 2017 university student essay competition

The winner of the 2017 competition was Justin William Croft of Deakin University’s Masters of Cultural Heritage program in the subject area of Museums, Heritage and Society.  The topic for 2017 was Museums and contested histories: saying the unspeakable in museums.

The views expressed in the essay are those of the author. Publication of the essay does not indicate an endorsement of those views by ICOM Australia.

2017 winning essay by Justin William Croft  (270kB)



ICOM Australia Awards Copyright Roger Garland