WHY do we need the International Museum Workers Day? #IMWD

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Museums are the Playhouse of the Muses™. All nine of them, and counting: Calliope, the muse of epic poetry, Clio, the muse of history, Erato, the muse of lyric poetry, Euterpe, the muse of song, Melpomene, the muse of tragedy, Polyhymnia, the muse of hymns, Terpsichore, the muse of dance, Thalia, the muse of comedy, & Urania, the muse of astronomy.

Not to mention: painting, sculpture… and, our favourite of them all, cinema.

According to the American Association of Museums, museums inject $21 billion into the U.S. economy and employ roughly 400,000 people. They are also a main component of the $192B (!) cultural tourism industry. U.S. government data shows that museum visitors spend more and stay longer than other tourists, boosting local eateries, hotels, and other businesses.

What inspired “HUG A MUSEUM WORKER” Day?

A few years ago, we were invited to participate in  the International Hug a Medievalist Day that was initiated by Sarah Laseke, an “PhD researcher at Leiden University, working on collaborating scribes in the 15th century.”

Though we are not Medievalists – our Founder/Editor, Homa Taj, is an academically-trained art historian and museologist – we thought it a most noble (and down right entertaining) idea to support our fellow museologists, and museum workers.

And, so, this is how we came up with the idea of HUG A MUSEUM WORKER.

Last year, in response to reqeusts by numerous colleagues from around the world, we changed the name of the annual event to International Museum Workers Day. Everything remains the same.

But, why do we need an International Museum Workers Day?

Beginning in March 2015, museums from around the world began to celebrat MuseumWeek whose mission is to engage potential and exisiting museum visitors via various social media. Museum visitors were, therefore, the event’s primary target.

Note, this year, the event has moved closer to the International Museum Workers Day, and is scheduled to take place between June 19-15, 2017.

As museologists, we believe that without professionally trained MUSEUM WORKERS, museums would be repositories of old stuff the value of which no one would know. Or, better yet, self-storage spaces for non-profit institutions.

Why HUG A MUSEUM WORKER? 

Because museum workers are the main force behind the engine that injects $21 Billion to the US economy that itself is a critical component of the $192 Billion cultural tourism industry.

And, that is just in the U.S. alone!

We are delighted if the financial aspect of this late modern era cultural phenomenon doesn’t wholly satisfy your skepticism. In which case, let us consider more serious reasons to love museums and their workers:

  1. Museums are FUN.
  2. Museums are FUN and beautiful.
  3. Museums are FUN learning centers.
  4. Museums are FUN places to bring a date.
  5. (Yes. Seriously.)
  6. Museums provide FUN shopping experiences — ok, the ones with shops.
  7. Museums provide FUN enviroments for the entire family without costing a fortune — IF you become a member!
  8. Museums provide FUN places to meet up with your friends and have a bit to eat — well, all right, not all of them. But when they do…
  9. Museums provide FUN ways to learn about history, science, culture, geography, various cultures…and, art.
  10. Museums WORKERS are much like librarians: they do their job because they really love it. Honestly. The pay is rubbish and the work is half as glamorous as it sounds to … civilians.

On that note, don’t you think that Museum WORKERS deserve a hug?

Yes. Seriously.

You can also extend the “Hug A Museum Worker Day” to a year-round celebration:

  1. Join your local museum as a(n individual or family) membership – whereby you’ll save a fortune in entry fees;
  2. Shop at your local museum – where you’ll find highly unique gifts for friends and family;
  3. Volunteer at your local museum – they’ll really appreciate your time and dedication (if you qualify);
  4. Follow your favorite local or international museums on your favorite social media – yes, it makes a big difference to them;
  5. Whilst you are at it, voice your support by liking, retweeting & commenting on their profiles;
  6. Subscribe to your favorite museum’s newsletter to stay abreast of their;
  7. Subscribe to some of the regional, national or even international museum museums associations;
  8. Simply, show up!

* Of course, we are generalizing about educational services, and basic facilites that most museums (including in the U.S.) offer their visitors. For example, some – though not nearly half as many as should be… – are FREE. And, great number of their cafe provide food that may be “FUN” but they sure aren’t cheap. E.g. The New Whitney.

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