Six Ways to Celebrate Museum Lover’s Day

Check out these great ideas for bringing the museum experience into the local library.

Librarians and museums can work together to enrich their patrons' experiences.

Museum Lover’s Day is observed annually on May 5 in the United States. On this day, museumgoers everywhere are encouraged to visit their favorite museums to show their support and enjoy the museum’s contributions to the community.

William Enguist, an EveryLibrary contributing writer, explains that museums and libraries share similar missions in that they function as repositories of collected knowledge, and each institution seeks to educate communities.

Museums can be public, academic, or tribal, and each offers access to the very patrons that libraries serve. These institutions are staffed by professionals dedicated to sharing their knowledge to enrich the lives of their patrons.

Museums are often interested in collaborative opportunities with their local community, and libraries seek new ways to provide educational programs and services to their patrons. A collaboration between the museum and the library has the potential to be mutually beneficial for both institutions.

Many museums plan their event and exhibit schedules up to a year in advance, so it’s important to contact museums as early as possible if you think your chosen event will require considerable legwork. Smaller local museums may have more flexibility for shorter timelines.

By encouraging your patrons to engage with museums at your library, you help not only cultivate an interest in preserving museum collections but also aid in expanding your patron’s knowledge base.


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Here are a few suggested collaborative activities you might find appealing for your library:

1. Lunch & Learn

Lunch & Learn activities invite patrons to spend their lunch hour in a casual learning environment, receiving knowledge from an expert in the museum field. This event is flexible enough for attendees to participate in person or online.

Lunch & Learn activities also foster a sense of community amongst participants. (Here is an event announcement from a previous Lunch & Learn event hosted by the Central Rappahannock Regional Library.)

2. Living History Lecture

A Living History Lecture can be geared toward patrons of any age. These lectures allow history to come alive, as the lecturer shares historical accounts through the lens of the person they’re dressed as.

For example, a lecturer talking about the life and work of an eighteenth-century physician will present their lecture in character, representing a physician from that time period. The lecturer may bring a collection of instruments or (nonedible) medicines that would have been used to treat patients of the time. Attendees often enjoy these lectures because it can really feel like they’re speaking to someone from the past.


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3. Museum Meet & Greet

Invite your local area museums to participate in a Museum Meet & Greet. Each participating museum is provided a table, which can be used to offer materials about the museum. Encourage museums to include a mini pop-up exhibit with their table display. This event should be planned well in advance, and ample meeting room space will be needed to accommodate attendees.

4. Make Your Own Museum

Host a Make Your Own Museum event, and invite your patrons to celebrate Museum Lover’s Day by creating a community-made museum in the library. Individuals or interest groups may be invited to participate.

Similar to the Museum Meet & Greet listed above, this event requires spacious accommodation. Participants can reserve a table for the event and create a pop-up exhibit to share with the public. The library could assign a theme to the museum or allow participants free reign. Don’t forget to consider which department(s) (i.e., adult services, youth services, etc.) will host this program, as this might influence how you plan for the event.

 This event could even be broken into a several-day program, allowing participants more opportunities to work with other participants and librarians as they build their museums. A suggested schedule for a multi-day Make Your Own Museum event: 

Day 1: Learn how to use library resources to gather information for the exhibit. 

Day 2: Design the exhibit layout, signage, and objects. 

Day 3: Install the exhibit and open the museum for visitation.


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5. Exhibits

Exhibits are a tried-and-true way for museums to educate the public about their collections. Museums are full of diverse collections, and only a fraction of these collections are ever on display to the public. Your local museum might be interested in installing a temporary exhibit in your library if you have locked exhibit cases available for use.

Consider reserving one exhibit space for museum use only, and you can rotate this space between several local museums throughout the year!

6. Book Displays

Are you a little short on time? Book displays don’t require much collaboration, but they are a great way for the library to showcase some of the books in their collection that celebrate museums. Consider a children’s display with books about visiting museums. Or, find authors in your collection who also work for museums and create a display showcasing those museum professionals and their published works.

Libraries and museums are vital to communities. These spaces provide access to knowledge, extend cultural memory, and often celebrate local heritage. Consider the many ways that you can collaborate with museums in your area or get your patrons excited about Museum Lover’s Day.

This listicle is brief and should be considered only as a starting point, a launching pad, to help facilitate discussion between libraries and museums about shared public interests and mission goals.



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