On the occasion of European Museum Night 2009, the public will once again be granted free admission to the treasures behind museum doors. This Council of Europe initiative is part of the celebrations surrounding International Museum Day on May 18.
The secretary general of the Council of Europe has supported European Museum Night since 2006. On its website, the Council of Europe has posted an interview with its general secretary, Terry Davis, outlining his vision for culture among the Council’s missions along with the role of museums in the European cultural sphere.
“Culture is a large part of what we do. It is no longer a matter of simply fostering greater awareness of a European identity that would arise from the diversity of cultures and their interweaving. The aim is to ensure that consciousness of belonging to several cultures at once, which is increasingly leaving its mark on European society, will ensure that individuals and groups find greater reason to live together and strengthen social bonds. To be at once together while remaining ourselves. It involves building a new Europe by getting the most out of our diversity and allowing individuals to choose the cultures they wish to belong to according to their origins or desires, provided they are in line with the basic values defended by the Council of Europe, naturally. Culture is central to all democratic projects. Culture keeps them going and makes them possible. The Council of Europe’s white paper on intercultural dialogue takes a look at experiences in this field and paves the way to setting new policy directions and implementing practices.
“Rather than limit our role to that of an academy of knowledge or a place of memory or commemoration, many of today’s museums are interactive laboratories that provide a better understanding of the challenges of collective living. For the fifth consecutive year, the Council of Europe is supporting and sponsoring European Museum Night. This European initiative aims to keep museums open free of charge from sunset to 1 a.m. in most of the 47 countries in Europe that have signed the Council of Europe’s Cultural Convention.”