Our cultural institutions may be closed but we are still able to join celebrations of International Museums Day and explore the 2020 theme 'Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion' online.
18 May 2020

Museums across Australia—large and small— have risen to the challenge of social distancing restrictions by reaching out online.

On International Museums Day we celebrate and acknowledge our museums. This year also provides the chance to recognise how they are adapting their collections during a difficult time.

Leading the way among others are the National Museum of Australian and the Australian National Maritime Museum. They may have closed their doors temporarily but they have boosted their virtual offerings.

National Museum of Australia (NMA)

The NMA is engaging audiences online in many ways, including:

  • a weekly YouTube program featuring collection and galleries, including live-streamed Q&A session—Live at the Museum
  • fortnightly Twitter Takeovers by curators and hosts
  • an education outreach program with videos and activities for students and teachers
  • a themed weekly blog From the Vault.

To mark International Museums Day 2020, the NMA is supporting a callout from International Council of Museums Australia for people to share an object, work of art, or other artefact on social media that reflects 2020 using the hashtags #Our2020 on #IMD2020. The idea is to choose something that reflects this unusual time in a fundamental way.

Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM)

Australians have been able to continue exploring stories of the sea through the ANMM's online exhibitions, collections, virtual vessel tours and library resources. The museum has also created games and behind-the scenes videos.

Through these online programs, the ANMM continues to champion diversity, equality and inclusion as it shares stories of almost 10 million settlers from across the world who started a new life in Australia. These include:

  • Waves Light Showexploring migration to Australia including the personal stories of migrants and refugees
  • Curator Kim Tau's discussion: "Recovering Refugee Narratives, How are refugee memories expressed through the arts and how are they remembered within diasporas"—scheduled for June 2020
  • a virtual edition of the Ocean Talk series, including Cook: Man or Myth
  • Wildlife Photographer of the Year, a behind the scenes look at ocean protection and conservation with the ANMM's Head of Interpretation and Design, Alex Gaffikin
  • Elysium Artic, an outdoor exhibitions based on an exhibition to the Arctic lead by acclaimed photographer Michael Aw
  • Learning Programs supporting the school curriculum
  • Cook's Voyage, an online game to engage students with this year's 250th anniversary
  • Pirate school online activities for younger children
  • Virtual tours of patrol boat HMAS Advance, submarine HMAS Onslow, destroyer HMAS Vampire and the Endeavour replica.

For International Museums Day, the ANMM will be encouraging the public to explore their Virtual Museum and reaching out to all those who want to learn about Australia's history through stories of the sea.

Find out more