By-laws of the International Council of Museums Committee for University Museums and Collections (UMAC)


Download  UMAC By-laws (2017) (English)

Download  UMAC By-laws (2017) (French)

Download  UMAC By-laws (2017) (Spanish)


See also ICOM Statutes (2017).


This document replaces the ‘UMAC Constitution’ (2001, revised in 2008) and aims to complete the provisions of ICOM Statutes and Internal Rules regarding the International Committees.

Article 1 – Name and Constitution


1.1   The ICOM Committee for University Museums and Collections, hereafter referred to as UMAC, is an International Committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), in accordance with Article 16 of the ICOM Statutes. The term ‘University’ is meant in the large sense of ‘institution of higher education’.

1.2    UMAC is a component of ICOM and subject to ICOM Statutes, Internal Rules, Code of Ethics for Museums, Rules for International Committees and relevant decisions of the General Assembly and the Executive Board.

1.3   UMAC provides advice to ICOM’s Executive Board, Advisory Council, President and Director-General.

1.4   UMAC is represented at the ICOM Advisory Council and ICOM General Assembly, as determined by ICOM Policies.

1.5   UMAC’s first general assembly was held in July 2, 2001, in Barcelona (Spain), during the 19th ICOM General Conference.


Article 2 – Mission and Goals


2.1   UMAC’s mission is:

UMAC is the global advocate for higher education museums and collections of all disciplines. UMAC’s mission is to contribute to society, for the benefit of all, by sustaining the continued development of university museums and collections as essential resources devoted to research, education, and the preservation of cultural, historic, natural and scientific heritage. UMAC fully upholds the values and principles enshrined in the ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums and the Magna Carta Universitatum (Bologna, 1988).


2.2   UMAC’s goals are:

  • To provide an organised international forum for all professionals working in, or associated with, university museums, galleries and collections.
  • To promote research and to compile and disseminate information about university museums, collections and heritage.
  • To foster within the museum community, policy makers and the general public increased awareness and visibility of university museums, collections and heritage.
  • To improve governance, preservation, access and public service of university museums, collections and heritage by providing opportunities to professionals for training and networking, collaborative partnerships and exchange of knowledge and ideas.
  • To stimulate the engagement of museums and collections with the promotion of university core values, such as education, research, creative thinking, freedom, tolerance and responsibility.
  • To contribute to the implementation of ICOM’s programmes, activities and strategic plan and to stimulate communication between ICOM members with similar professional interests, specifically museums and collections in institutions of higher education
  • To promote ICOM’s values, ethics and standards of excellence in the higher education sector through support of best practices and strategic planning.


Article 3 – Members


3.1   UMAC is open to all ICOM members in good standing upon request and without undue delay or restriction.


3.2   UMAC has voting members and non-voting members. UMAC voting members are ICOM members who have selected UMAC as the international committee in which to vote in accordance with the ICOM Rules for International Committees. UMAC non-voting members are ICOM members who have selected UMAC as a second or third choice international committee.


3.3   The UMAC membership list is maintained by the ICOM Secretariat.


Article 4 – UMAC Board


4.1   UMAC management responsibilities reside with an elected Board composed of eight persons for a mandate of three years: 1 Chair, 2 Vice-Chairs, 1 Secretary, 1 Treasurer and 3 Ordinary Board Members. In accepting office, Board members commit to devote sufficient time and to find the means necessary to carry out their functions.


4.2   The UMAC Board may invite the past UMAC Chair and the Chair of the UMAC Award Standing Committee as ex-officio members. It may also invite up to two UMAC individual voting members for specific functions.


4.3   The UMAC Board makes all the necessary decisions to ensure the day-to-day management of UMAC:

i) it represents UMAC in the ICOM Advisory Council and ICOM General Assembly and guarantees the implementation of its decisions, as well as the decisions of UMAC General Assembly;

ii) it supervises the development of ICOM’s and UMAC’s strategic plans, as well as the implementation of its activities;

iii) it is responsible for oversight of the organisation and programme of UMAC Annual Conferences;

iv) it is responsible for UMAC’s annual accounts and must cooperate closely with ICOM Secretariat on this matter; all transactions must be carried out in accordance with the budget voted by the UMAC Board as submitted at the beginning of the year for review and approval by the Secretariat.


4.4   The UMAC Board may create specific Board committees to assist or advise in the implementation of its goals and strategic plan.


Article 5 – Elections to the UMAC Board


5.1   UMAC Board members must be voting members of UMAC in good standing when candidacy is submitted. They must comply, among others, with the ICOM Internal Rules Art. 7.


5.2   Elections to the UMAC Board shall be held every third year, preferably during the ICOM General Triennial Conference. A call for candidates shall be sent to all voting members, as defined in Article 3, at least four months in advance.


5.3   Elections are supervised by an Election Committee composed of two UMAC individual voting members in good standing who are not standing for office. The Election Committee is elected by the UMAC General Assembly and can be re-elected once.


5.4   The UMAC Chair is elected separately from the other members of the Board. All Board members are elected for three years, and their mandate can be renewed once. A member of the Board may subsequently be elected Chair. However, no one may remain on the Board for more than twelve consecutive years.


5.5   A member of the Board shall cease to hold office if the member:

i) resigns from the Board;

ii) is no longer a voting member of UMAC.

If a member of the Board ceases to hold office, the position may be filled by another UMAC voting member until the next elections.


5.6   UMAC Chair or Board members may not serve in another elected or appointed position in ICOM.


Article 6 – Annual Conference


6.1   UMAC members gather at least once a year for the UMAC Annual Conference. The Annual Conference is open to everyone interested in university museums, collections and heritage.


6.2   Every three years, the Annual Conference is part of the ICOM General Triennial Conference.


6.3   The venue of the Annual Conference (outside ICOM General Triennial Conferences) is decided by the UMAC General Assembly. UMAC shall inform the National Committee of the host country of a forthcoming Annual Conference.


Article 7 – UMAC General Assembly


7.1   The UMAC General Assembly is composed of all individual voting members and designated representatives of institutional members. It meets every year during the UMAC Annual Conference and its decisions commit all UMAC members, even those absent. It is presided by the UMAC Chair. The General Assembly agenda is established by the Board and sent to all members at least one month in advance.


7.2 Each member is entitled to one (1) vote, including institutional members regardless of the number of representatives.  An individual member who is simultaneously representative of an institutional member is entitled to two (2) votes.


7.3   The UMAC General Assembly has the following responsibilities:

i) to receive annual reports from the Board, including relevant decisions from ICOM’s Advisory Council and General Assembly;

ii) to approve the activities and financial report;

iii) to vote the annual budget for the coming year;

iv) to determine the hosts of Annual Conferences outside ICOM Triennial Conferences;

v) to elect the UMAC Board (see article 6);

vi) to elect the Elections Committee (article 6) and the Auditors Committee (article 8);

vii) to create working groups if necessary;

viii) to deal with any other items proposed by the Board and by members.


Article 8 – Financial Resources


8.1   UMAC fulfils entirely its financial obligations towards ICOM and the Chair ensures that its financial accountability does not compromise ICOM.


8.2   UMAC’s annual accounts are administered by the UMAC Treasurer. Ordinarily, expenses are authorised by the Treasurer and the Chair, except expenses not included in the annual budget, which must be approved by the Board. All operations must be duly justified by receipts, invoices, letters, agreements or another document. The underlying evidence for all the transactions carried out must be communicated to the Secretariat.


8.3   UMAC’s accounts and financial report are overseen yearly by the Auditors Committee, proposed by the Board to the General Assembly and composed by two UMAC voting members in good standing. The Auditors Committee is elected for three years and can be re-elected once. Every year, the Auditors Committee should provide a written report to the General Assembly.


8.4   UMAC submits an annual report of activities and an annual financial report to ICOM. Upon the submission of these reports and according to the number of registered members, UMAC is eligible for a subsidy from ICOM. ICOM may withhold the subsidy if these reports are not delivered in a timely fashion or are incomplete.


8.5   UMAC may accept sponsorship and apply for subventions, grants or other supports for activities and projects. UMAC can request fees for special activities and services rendered, within the limitations stated in 8.1.


8.6   To ensure the proper legal and financial management of funds associated with Annual Conferences, and to certify the proper audit of related accounts, UMAC may establish an agreement of cooperation with an entity in the host country (a museum, university, foundation, the ICOM National Committee, or similar public-oriented body) after authorization by ICOM.


Article 9 – UMAC Working Groups


9.1   UMAC may create working groups to address specific theoretical or applied issues that require global or regional in-depth reflection and innovation by the university museums and collections community at a given moment. Ordinary activities such as the website, newsletter, the organization of annual conferences, and others, should not be the subject of working groups.


9.2   Working groups are open to UMAC members and non-members. The Chair of the working group should be a UMAC member in good standing.


9.3   Working groups are proposed by a minimum of five members (including the Working Group Chair) to the UMAC General Assembly. The working group should be aligned with UMAC’s goals and the proposal should include:

i) clear aims;

ii) calendar, including expected duration (1-5 years); and

iii) expected feasible outcomes.

Working groups meet at least once a year during the UMAC Annual Conference and report annually to the UMAC General Assembly.


Article 10 – By-laws approval and amendments


10.1   UMAC By-laws are subject to approval by the ICOM Executive Board.


10.2   Proposed amendments must be sent to UMAC members at least four months before voting and must receive a majority of the cast votes to be adopted.


Article 11 – Evaluation and dissolution


11.1   UMAC shall be evaluated at least once every six years or at such times as may be deemed necessary, to determine its conformity with the ICOM Statutes, Internal Rules and Rules for International Committees and the relevance of its activities in relation to the ICOM mission, core values and programs.


11.2   In the event of dissolution being declared either by the majority of voting members attending the UMAC General Assembly or by the ICOM Executive Board, the latter shall appoint liquidators. Any remaining assets should be transferred to ICOM.


Approved by UMAC’s General Assembly, Helsinki 6 September 2017.