The Future of Museums: Recover and Reimagine

The year 2020 has been like no other for the world and thus also for Geoparks.

The COVID-19 crisis has swept the whole world abruptly, affecting every aspect of our lives, from the interactions with our loved ones, to the way we perceive our homes and cities, to our work and its organisation.

Museums are no exception to these changes, and the cultural sector is among the most affected. ICOM and other international organisations detect a dire situation for museums and their professionals, with serious economic, social and psychological repercussions in the short and long term alike. But this crisis also served as a catalyst for crucial innovations.

Geopark Museums and Visitors Centers are the main interpretation and exhibition space in UNESCO Global Geoparks.

Geopark Museums and Visitors Centers are using a variety of communication tools to communicate their message to the society at large and especially to youth and students.

Geopark Museums and Visitors Centers are an inherent part of their local communities, their cultural landscape and their natural environment.

Thanks to technology, Geopark Museums and Visitors Centers can now reach way beyond their core audience and find new publics when approaching their collections as well as Geopark’s landform and landscape interpretation in a different way: it can be the digitalisation of their collections, adding multimedia elements to the exhibition, using augmented reality or something as simple as a hashtag that allows visitors to share their experience in social media.

This is a pivotal moment for our society, and we call our UNESCO Global Geoparks and their Museums and Visitor Centres to embrace it and lead the change.

The time is now to rethink our relationship with the communities we serve, to experiment with new and hybrid models of cultural fruition and to strongly reaffirm the essential value of our UNESCO Global Geoparks and their Museums and Visitor Centres for the construction of a just and sustainable future. We must advocate for the creative potential of culture as a driver for recovery and innovation in the post-COVID era.

To engage the Geopark communities and Geopark visitors and strengthen their connections with them, UNESCO Global Geopark Museums and Visitor centers must find new ways of interpreting and presenting their collections and their territorial heritage.

The Global Geoparks Network participates and supports the International Museum day and invites all UNESCO Global Geoparks and their Geopark museums around the world to join in this celebration.

With the theme “The Future of Museums: Recover and Reimagine”, International Museum Day 2021 invites UNESCO Global Geoparks, through their Geopark Museums and Visitor Centers, to create, imagine and share new practices of (co-)creation of value, new business models for cultural institutions and innovative solutions for the social, economic and environmental challenges of the present.