Museum Week 2019 to celebrate women in culture

George Dunford

One of the world's first social media cultural events has announced its themes for this year’s celebration of the arts around the world.
Museum Week 2019 to celebrate women in culture

Women take centre stage in this social media phenomenon. Image supplied.

Since 2014 Museum Week has given museums, galleries and other cultural institutions a chance to show off their best content around themed hashtags. This year the event will run from 13-19 May with the overarching theme of #WomeninCulture, giving cultural institutions the chance to see their best collection items going viral. More than 5000 museums worldwide are participating.

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Recently Museum Week announced that the 2019 hashtags are:

  • May 13 #WomeninCulture

  • May 14 #SecretsMW

  • May 15 #PlayMW

  • May 16 #RainbowMW

  • May 17 #ExploreMW

  • May 18 #PhotographyMW

  • May 19 #FriendsMW

Museum Week began in 2014 with Twitter as a partner when Benjamin Benita, a digital media strategist at the French Universcience museum, wanted to push his collections out to the world.

'In the science museum where I was working in Paris, I used to organise social media publications with a different theme every day. When we met with Twitter France, we felt that this weekly approach was interesting: the idea of #MuseumWeek (before its name) was here,' Benita told ArtsHub. 

Since its inception the event has spread from Twitter onto Facebook, Instagram and Weibo (in China) and VKontakt (in Russia). With a shift to a partnership with UNESCO and the Fondation Chanel in 2017, the event became part of the Culture for Causes Network (CFCN), a French not for profit that promotes the arts with Benita serving as president.

This year promises not just online events but more physical events. 'MuseumWeek is a hashtag launcher like others launch rockets in space! This year we will launch #WomenInCulture which is not only a hashtag, it is a movement. Some institutions will organise photowalks for a "hunt" of female artists' works to share on social media, others will organise special meetups and edit-a-thons,' Benita said.

Museums, galleries, libraries, archives and other cultural institutions are all encouraged to register for the event ahead of May's celebration of cultural institutions.

Highlights from Australian museums in 2018

Here's how Australian museums interpreted last year's theme of #DifferenceMW:

Museum of Australian Democracy

'To us, #DifferenceMW is about making a difference! Explore what it means to be an active citizen with our onsite program 'We Can Make a Difference' #MuseumWeek' 

via Twitter @MOADlearning

Grainger Museum

History Trust of South Australia

'For the final day of #MuseumWeek we're thinking about the diverse stories in South Australian history, and the museums that tell them #differenceMW'

via Twitter @HIstorySA 

Centre Of Democracy 

'Did you know? in 1975 South Australia became the first place in Australia to decriminalise homosexual acts between men? This was the outcome of a global social movement, and of local activism for decades prior. @MuseumWeek #MuseumWeek #DifferenceMW'

Via Twitter @CentreDemocracy

About the author

George Dunford is Content Director at ArtsHub and screenhub. He has written for Meanjin, The Big Issue, Lonely Planet, The Good Food Guide and others. He has worked in digital leadership roles in the cultural sector for more than 10 years including at the National Library of Australia, National Museum of Australia and the Wheeler Centre. He is on Twitter as @Hack_packer.