Participate in the ICOM Museum Definition CONSULTATION

ICOM is revising the museum definition dating from 2007. UMAC invites the global community of university museums and collections to participate in the ICOM consultation.

A summary of what is happening

In 2019, the ICOM Extraordinary General Assembly held in Kyoto approved to postpone the vote on a new museum definition, deciding to enter into a process of consultation and improved cooperation between committees. Since then, committees around the world have led activities of consultation with their members. In December 2019, the Executive Board decided to expand the MDPP to include over 20 members, incorporating figures who represent varying opinions on the matter. In February 2020, with the committee renamed MDPP2 to reflect the change, members entered into a phase of establishing a new methodology for proposing a museum definition for the 21st Century. This process has had to take into consideration the specificities of different regions and specializations represented by the many ICOM committees, regional alliances and affiliated organizations. Continue reading from the ICOM Advisory Council Report.

Members of ICOM Define

The new methodology was presented by ICOM Define at the webinar “Defining the museum in times of change: a way forward” (10 December 2020). If you missed it, click on the image below.









Participate in the consultation

UMAC invites the global university museum community (members and non-members) to participate in the public consultation.

Please fill out the brief survey here BEFORE 14 March, 2021.


‘The future of tradition in museology’, ICOFOM Study Series, 48 (1), 2020

‘Defining the museum: Challenges and compromises in the 21st century’, ICOFOM Study Series, 48 (2), 2020

CAMOC Review No. 1/2020

Marta C. Lourenço, UMAC Chair: Defining the UNIVERSITY MUSEUM today: Between ICOM and the ‘third mission’, Speech 8 May 2019.


International Museum Day 2021: THE FUTURE OF MUSEUMS

The year 2020 has been like no other. The COVID-19 crisis has swept the whole world abruptly, affecting every aspect of our lives, from the interactions with our loved ones, to the way we perceive our homes and cities, to our work and its organisation. Some already pressing issues have been exacerbated, questioning the very structure of our societies: the call for equality is stronger than ever.

Continue reading in ICOM’s website.

Download  poster and  banner for IMD2021.

Six months after the explosion in Beirut

Exactly 6 months after the terrible tragedy of the Beirut explosion, UMAC and Universeum want to evaluate the situation of university museums and collections, and museums and cultural heritage in general.

Where are we now? What was achieved and what remains to be done? What are the main problems and difficulties?

Invited speakers:

Suzy Hakimian, Chair of ICOM Lebanon, Director of the MIM – Museum of Mineralogy of the University of Saint-Joseph

Leyla Badre, ICOM-Lebanon

Elsa Urtizverea, Heritage Protection Coordination, ICOM

Nadine Panayot, Curator, Archaeological Museum Associate, Professor of practice, Department of History and Archaeology, American University of Beirut

Maya Haïdar-Boustani, Director, Museum of Lebanese Pre-History, University of Saint Joseph of Beirut

Joanne Farchakh, Board of Blue Shield-Lebanon, Chair of BILADI NGO

Gilbert Nicholas and David Chelala ,Architects specialized in museums, who mobilised and coordinated the specialized team of volunteers.


Marta Lourenço, UMAC President

Sébastien Soubiran, Universeum President

New volume of UMACJ just out!

Volume 12 of the University Museums and Collections Journal has just come out!

Two thick issues addressing the omnipresent themes of COVID-19 and its impact on university museums and collections — collections access, new ways of teaching, adaptability, uncertainty.

From the Editorial (UMACJ 12, 1):

“If the rapid and continuing development of new knowledge is driving higher education, then it is up to those who work with material collections within the academy to find new ways to transmit that knowledge and new ways to help underpin pedagogy with materiality. We see some great examples of this sort of creativity every year with the UMAC Awards. The development of these future-focused pedagogies will require increasing innovation and creativity from university museums and collections.” (Andrew Simpson, Marta Lourenço).



UMACJ 12 No. 1

Editor: Andrew Simpson

Six papers, 1.1 M 

Full Access



UMACJ 12 No. 2

Editor: Andrew Simpson

Eight papers, 1.2 M 

Full access


Explore more issues of UMACJ.


New Map of University Museums in Brazil

As a result of the research project ‘Cultural Heritage of Science and Technology and University Museums: research, analysis and characterization of strategic relationships’, coordinated by former UMAC Secretary Marcus Granato, from the Museum of Astronomy and Related Sciences in Rio de Janeiro, 444 university museums were identified in Brazil, including 21 virtual museums.

These museums are part of a universe of 201 Brazilian universities registered in the official accreditation platform for higher education institutions (e-MEC). It should be noted that a university museum is understood as any museum inserted in the administration of a university.

Search  here the distribution of these museums by geographic region and by state (in Portuguese). When these exist, the museum websites are also provided.

Explore and enjoy!



For about a year now, humanity has been facing a major global threat: the SARS-CoV-2 virus pandemic, usually referred to as covid-19. Governments across the planet have made all sorts of attempts to deal with this threat. However, the task is highly complex and demanding. Confusion and uncertainties abound while the death toll is becoming increasingly dramatic. High hopes are being placed on vaccination while individuals try to maintain a sense of normality through the increasing use of digital technologies.

This situation raises a number of critical questions, for example:

  • Can humanity only deal with threats of this magnitude via high-tech developments delivered by major corporate powers such as the pharmacological and the digital industries?
  • Can threats of this nature be addressed instead (or also) via alternative approaches that use human creativity in ways, and by agents, not yet imagined?
  • Why has this corporate techno-utopia become so dominant?
  • What role plays information technologies, particularly social media, on the perceived risks and impact of this threat on human agency and creativity? Which benefits and which constraints result from these technologies?

This event, promoted by the University of Porto with the support of UMAC-ICOM will contribute to critically address these questions. It aims to trigger debate and disseminate the international competition The Power of Design: Re-establishing embodied conviviality beyond covid-19.



1.   Introduction and welcome

2.   Reflection by Fátima Vieira (Vice-President, University of Porto) on utopian thinking and the international competition The Power of Design

3.   Key note by Olivia Bina (Principal Researcher, University of Lisbon) on alternative imaginaries and their implications for addressing the challenges of the covid-19 pandemic

4.   Debate with the participation of audience

5.   The Power of Design competition: brief presentation by António Ferreira (Senior Researcher, University of Porto)

6.   Conclusions



 Registration is free of charge. To know more about this event and to register, please click here


New Year: Best Wishes from the Chair


Dear UMAC members and friends,

It’s that time of the year when we distribute good wishes. But this year it does not feel like it usually does, does it?

The strangeness is not only about the changed plans or the cancelled or postponed activities in 2020.

Yes, we adapted. UMAC cancelled the University Museum Training Week Shanghai 2020 and so many other initiatives with local partners in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas. Like so many conferences and events around the world, our 2020 Annual Conference in Sydney Australia had to be postponed. We moved our main activities online and invented new ones: the POST-LOCKDOWN Webinar Series helped us navigate the impact of the pandemic in our university museums, the UMAC ORIGINS series documented the history of UMAC as we approach our 20th anniversary (eight episodes already!), the UMAC AWARD 2020 with three fabulous winners (the call for the Award 2021 is still open), and the 20th Annual General Meeting. We were delighted to be together, even remotely. Check it out because it shows.

But it’s not only that.

The year felt like a big blur, a haze. The most disturbing thing about 2020 – apart from the isolation, the loss and grief – was the uncertainty, the constant doubt and change, the endless need to adapt. We realized our plans, our hopes, our sense of normalcy, were precarious. We did not know it one year ago.

But a new year – and a new decade – is beginning today. Teaching will change, funding possibly too, but I think all in all universities have survived very well the stress test of 2020: in every continent they were at the forefront of research, public service and vaccine development; they have assisted governments in defining health policies, and they have been in the media almost every day explaining what is known and not-known about the science behind COVID-19.

I think university museums and collections will also survive the stress test. We need to feel hopeful because despite all the challenges, we’re in this together – together with each other and together with our universities and our communities.

I am joined by the UMAC Board in looking forward to 2021 together with each one of you, sharing our experiences, our plans and our hopes, supporting each other, and through that support, promoting university museums, collections and heritage everywhere in the world.

Warm wishes,

Marta C. Lourenço, UMAC Chair

Lisbon, 31 December 2020