MADRID.- "Museums as agents of social change and development". This is the slogan for International Museums Day 2008, an annual event promoted by ICOM (the International Council of Museums) in 145 countries. Its main objective to make museum collections easily accessible to visitors of all ages, and to make people aware of the fundamental role played by museums in the cultural panorama.
On 18 May, Spain's galleries and museums hold an open-day. You can visit all the venues you like free of charge, and take a close look at unique creations from different periods and styles. If you are in Madrid, then don't miss the Prado National Museum, with the best of the Spanish, Italian and Flemish schools; the Thyssen-Bornemisza, with canvasses by the great universal masters of all time, and the Reina Sofía National Art Centre, dedicated to contemporary art with works by brilliant artists such as Miró, Dalí and Picasso, amongst others. The Picasso Museum in Barcelona and the Picasso Museum in Malaga, both of which are dedicated to the work of the master of Cubism, the Dalí Museum-Theatre in Figueres, in the province of Girona; the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Valencian Institute of Modern Art (IVAM) in Valencia, both of which are dedicated to the latest artistic trends, are not to be missed.
Besides free admission and guided tours, there is much more on offer. You can see works that are not usually on display, access rooms that are generally closed, attend conferences and talks, enjoy concerts and theatre performances, film projections, workshops, competitions, games for children, dance shows...
Would you like to visit a museum at night? On 17th May you can do so, thanks to an unusual proposal that celebrates its fourth edition in Spain this year: Museums Night. Many venues extend their cultural activities beyond normal opening times, some of them staying open until 1am, free of charge, organising a range of activities with concerts, games, storytellers, audiovisual installations, special visits, theatre... It is a different way to enjoy Spain's museums and their collections, and to take advantage of all the possibilities they offer.