Crusade for Museums
Before officially creating International Museum Day, ICOM gathered the international museum community for a 1951 meeting called Crusade for Museums, to discuss the theme “Museums and Education.” The idea for International Museum Day was inspired by the framework for museum accessibility that was developed at this meeting.
The 1977 Resolution
International Museum Day was officially established in 1977 with the adoption of a resolution during the ICOM General Assembly in Moscow, Russia 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. " International Museum Day was meant to convey the message that "Museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples."
Uniting the museum community on one theme
As the event attracted more and more museums, and increasingly favoured diversity in unity, ICOM suggested a theme for the first time in 1992: Museums and Environment.
Creation of a universal identity
In 1997, ICOM launched the first official poster of the event on the theme of fighting illicit traffic in cultural goods. The poster was adapted by 28 countries.
In 2011, institutional partners, a website and communications kit for International Museum Day were introduced, marking a turning point for the event. ICOM was also patron of the European Night of Museums for the first time that year, an event that takes place on the Saturday closest to 18 May each year.