United Nations International Day of Democracy
On 15th September the museum will be celebrating the United Nations International Day of Democracy. This day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007, when it ‘encouraged governments to strengthen national programs devoted to the promotion and consolidation of democracy’. Every year a different theme is announced and in 2013 the theme is ‘Strengthening Voices for Democracy’. The aim of this theme is to shine a spotlight on the importance of people’s voices, both expressed directly and through their elected representatives.
One of the key aims of the museum is to showcase the many voices of democracy that exist throughout the Australian community. The Living Democracy gallery is devoted to showing how people exercise their democratic rights on a daily basis. Recently we put on display there a guitar used by musician John Schumann when he wrote the iconic Redgum song I Was only 19. We’ve included the song itself in our Songs of Influence display, where visitors can listen to many Australian songs written as a form of protest or to influence or educate the public and politicians.
In the Designing Democracy gallery we tell the story of Herbert Vere ‘Doc’ Evatt, the former Australian Opposition Leader and Minister for External Affairs who was a key figure in the founding of the United Nations in 1945. As well as displaying one of the Doc’s fob watches, we have a facsimile copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, a document that was the culmination of work done by Evatt and his advisers after the end of the Second World War.
The museum will honour this special day of democracy with free entry on the day, as well as a video screening of the annual message from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.