Program Pillars

With responsive and significant new roles opening up for museums in society, ‘We Are Museums 2019’ aims to align museums as places of inclusive growth and sustainable development, where the social and environmental impact they make are the primary metrics.

As museum professionals, we share a  responsibility for the future of the communities we work in, as well as for the planet. And as trusted institutions with a clearly-defined purpose, museums are transformative tools and significant civic resources.

We can influence social, educational, health and environmental issues that are vital today.

Museums have the power to work on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, by understanding the values and behaviours of the Goals and incorporating them into their work.


Taking the first step in this transformation, we’re placing the necessity of connecting with our local communities at the heart of this year’s programme, to foster the idea of museums embedded in sustainable, benevolent communities. When a museum reaches out to its community, it becomes a cherished urban feature and a social hub. And when a museum opens itself to its neighbours’ needs and becomes a valued service provider we call this ‘MuseumHood’ – where ‘neighbourhood’ and ‘brotherhood’ come together. How museums can be actors of the solidarity economy? Where does the social purpose of your institution begin?

“I like the new word MuseumHood. It makes me also think of Robin Hood, social responsibility of museums.” Marthe de Vet, Head of Interpretation and Education, Van Gogh Museum (The Netherlands)

Museum For Good

“I believe that museums can assist, along with their communities, in creating a more conscious, caring and compassionate future for themselves by engaging in contemporary issues and aspirations.” Dr Robert R. Janes, Founder and Co-Chair, Coalition of Museums for Climate Justice (Canada)

If we want to see a future of museums, we should start today by changing our role and impact on tomorrow, by considering the future of the people and the planet as our priority. Raising awareness is the first huge step that every museum should take. Becoming a Green Museum is the second step. Following simple rules and changing habits in its daily base have an impact on climate change (as made clear by an online publication by the Coalition of Museums for Climate Justice). We believe in the collaborative potential of museums to act together and make an impact.

Entrepreneurial Museum

We often hear the stiffness of museums remains the heaviest door to push when working with or for them. And this is true! Being able to apply the mindset and methodology from entrepreneurial culture is key for museums. This includes agility, flexibility, hands-on management, risk-taking, a culture of failure and success, along with interconnectivity between individuals and departments. Understanding this culture and highlighting its value beyond the business world by adapting it to museums is a crucial next step for our reflection on the future of museums.