“Diversity and Inclusion” is the theme for 2020 International Museum Day

In Brazil, the Brazilian Museum Institute (IBRAM) organizes the National Museum Week with great engagement of institutions and the public
This Monday (18th) the world celebrates International Museum Day, with the theme “Museums for equality: diversity and inclusion”. This celebration aims at becoming a meeting point for raising awareness about museums, which is an important means of transmission and cultural exchange and represents the cultural and natural diversity of humanity. The Day serves also as a call for the need for protection and preservation of the human heritage.

The date was established in 1977, by the International Council of Museums (ICOM), and as for 2019, 37,000 museums have participated in related events in 158 countries and territories. In Brazil, the Brazilian Museum Institute (IBRAM) organizes the National Museum Week which has generated a growing engagement of the institutions and the public with the Day. There has been an average increase of 25% per year since the first edition; a 23% increase in the number of registered events; and a 103% increase in the number of visitors compared to the week before the event.

National Museum and indigenous culture
UNESCO has been supporting the reconstruction and restoration of the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro, which was partially devasted by a major fire on September 2, 2018. In March of this year, UNESCO, Vale Foundation, and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) signed a technical cooperation agreement that aims at implementing the structure of the “Museu Nacional Vive” project. The objective is to establish strategic guidelines and ensure the proper execution and sustainability of the actions planned for the reconstruction and restoration of the Paço de São Cristóvão and its annex; the preparation of the structure to receive the new museography; the renovation of the Library and the Botanical Garden; and the implementation of a new campus, attached to Quinta da Boa Vista.

Indigenous culture, a relevant part of the collection of the National Museum, was in an exhibition outside the building by the date of the fire. The exhibition “Os Primeiros Brasileiros” (The first Brazilians) is composed of ethnographic pieces, photographs, panels, music, and films that record the diversity and narratives of indigenous peoples. It has already been visited by more than 250 thousand people from Brazil and abroad. In October 2019, the National Archives in Rio de Janeiro received the most recent exhibition set up, which had to be closed to public visitation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A digital version of the exhibition will be accessible soon to the public, as a result of the partnership between UNESCO and the National Museum.

Among UNESCO’s international normative instruments, in 2015 the Recommendation concerning the protection and promotion of museums and collections, their diversity, and their role in society was approved. The Recommendation draws the attention of the Member States to the importance of protecting and promoting museums and collections, to be partners in sustainable development through the preservation and protection of heritage, the protection and promotion of cultural diversity, the transmission of knowledge scientific development, educational policy development, continuing education, and social cohesion, and the development of creative industries and the tourism economy.