International Museum Day 2017
In ancient times, museums were temples dedicated to the muses, for reflection and for the cultivation of the different sciences. Much, much later, they took the form of a “cabinet of curiosities” from private and religious collections. With the creation of the Louvre, the museum became a building belonging to the nation-state, where the results of overseas achievements and exploits and the national symbols of the state were exhibited. Since then, the museum has evolved, adapting to the times, but always based on the idea of conservation, research and dissemination.
Museum day has been celebrated on 18 May since 1977. It is an opportunity to draw attention to the work that museums undertake and to allow people to find out about their least visible areas and activities. For a number of years the celebration has been joined by other institutions which are not museums but which share their main objectives.
In this context, at Tabakalera on Saturday 20 May we offer a series of activities that give a broad overview of the work we do at the centre to support research, the processes of creation and reflection, and also the dissemination of culture, art and creation, taking part in all of the different creation processes.
According to the latest definition of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) in 2007, “A museum is 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.”
This definition has to adapt to everyday reality, as do the museums themselves. These spaces have to become living places where there is exchange of knowledge and creation, and where the citizens have contact with culture.
Days like this provide an opportunity for us to advocate and defend the museum and the art centre as a place for research, education, experimentation, awareness raising; for saying what is unsayable; for having an impact in the public sphere and generating debate; for feeding thought and the processes of creators; and for the creation of tangible and intangible heritage.
This is why the work we do goes beyond what can assessed by simply measuring the number of visits. We are interested in the richness of personal experiences, the exchange of knowledge generated, the development to which we contribute, the ability to generate questions and to establish ourselves as a place facilitating enjoyment and learning that people come back to again and again.
One of the main challenges facing us is to generate more open models for museums and art centres so that all kinds of people regard these spaces as possible places in which to spend time. Another is to make us understood as projects that generate value with less visible processes that impact on more personal experiences, as well as on those that are more global and that continue to define our society and history.
Ane Rodríguez Armendariz
Tabakalera's Cultura Director