The International Council of Museums (ICOM) established International Museum Day in 1977 (around 18th May each year) to increase public awareness of the role of museums in the development of society, and it has been steadily gaining momentum ever since.
On this day, participating museums organise creative events, talks and activities based on the Theme each year to engage with their public. In 2014, International Museum Day garnered record‐breaking participation with more than 35,000 museums hosting events in some 145 countries.
The theme for this year's International Museum Day was "Museums for a sustainable Society" Museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples
Worldwide, museums play an important role in helping to raise public awareness about the need for a society to be less wasteful, to be cooperative and to use resources in a way that respects living systems.
The Montagu Museum was very much part of the drive this year and had full programmes organised for the local schools each day of the week - between 18th and 22nd May. Talks on responsible waste control, the importance of recycling of waste materials, the dangers of non-biodegradable materials - such as plastic - in the environment, creative uses for off-cut materials such as paper, wire, etc. all proved very popular among the learners who attended each day.
Not only are museums educators and cultural mediators, they are adopting an increasingly vital role in contributing to the definition and implementation of sustainable development and practices.