Following a long public debate, ICOM’s standing committee on Museum Definition, Prospects and Potentials (MDPP) has proposed two new museum definitions to the Executive Board of ICOM, which will be voted next September in Kyoto.
Museums are democratising, inclusive and polyphonic spaces for critical dialogue about the pasts and the futures. Acknowledging and addressing the conflicts and challenges of the present, they hold artefacts and specimens in trust for society, safeguard diverse memories for future generations and guarantee equal rights and equal access to heritage for all people.
Museums are not for profit. They are participatory and transparent, and work in active partnership with and for diverse communities to collect, preserve, research, interpret, exhibit, and enhance understandings of the world, aiming to contribute to human dignity and social justice, global equality and planetary well being.
A new museum definition was always likely to be controversial and this announcement is generating considerable debate.
What do you think? Please leave your comments below, we would love to hear from you.
UMAC is still debating how to vote in Kyoto, in any case at this point we are joining those who say that more internal debate is needed.
Read here a brief speech by the UMAC Chair on the importance of the museum definition for university museums, Milan, 8 July.
ICOM is promoting a debate about the museum definition. The current museum definition dates from the 1970s (with changes introduced at the 2007 General Assembly in Seoul). Fifty years have meanwhile passed and ICOM is compiling contributions from museum professionals all over the world.
The importance of the ICOM’s museum definition should not be underestimated. Governments, accreditation agencies, among others, in many countries, derive national legislation, regulation and standards for the museum sector from the definition.
When the debate opened, we made an announcement here and we strongly encourage UMAC members to participate. More than 150 proposals from all continents can be read here.
UMAC wants to contribute:
Is there anything we can — and should — contribute as a collective? Does the current museum definition reflect the needs and aspirations of university museums and collections? What should we add? What is our agenda, if any?
Please send your views to Marta Lourenço, or leave your comment below before the end of April.
The current ICOM Museum Definition is:
The museum is a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment.
Museum International: The issues ‘Museums in a Digital World’ and ‘Museums and Contested Histories’ are now available
Following the recent announcement of our new partnership with Taylor and Francis/Routledge to publish ICOM’s journal, Museum International, we are delighted to announce that ICOM members can now enjoy unlimited access to the journal’s full online archive and current issues through their ICOM member space.
To complement this, Taylor & Francis/Routledge are offering ICOM members free access to five of their museum- and heritage-related journals : Heritage & Society, Museum History Journal, Museum Management and Curatorship, Museums & Social Issues: A Journal of Reflective Discourse, Journal of Heritage Tourism.
We hope you will enjoy reading the recently published issues of Museum International: ‘Museums in a Digital World’ (Vol. 70, No. 277-278) and ‘Museums and Contested Histories’ (Vol. 70, No. 279-280).
In Museums in a Digital World, authors describe the manifold opportunities digital technology has provided museums in terms of accessibility, inclusion and the democratisation of culture.
This issue examines the new roles museum objects, collections and professionals are assuming in this digital age. It outlines the different strategies that are being implemented by museums to adapt to this ever-changing environment, and presents innovative initiatives in co-creation.
Museums and Contested Histories highlights museums’ increasing willingness to address past traumatic events through mediation and experimentation.
By acknowledging and expressing multiple points of view and voices, museums might well play a crucial reconciliatory role in ongoing controversies, giving a voice to the voiceless, shifting narrative focus, and upholding pluralism.
We hope that you will find this resource useful in your professional life and research.
To access, enter your account in ICOM’s website and click on ‘Read Museum International‘.
It has been brought to ICOM’s attention that there are some websites and individuals pretending to be ICOM and claim to provide, for a fee, fake certificates of authenticity or allowing free import and export, particularly concerning African cultural goods. False collector cards are sometimes offered as well.
The scammers claim that these certificates exonerate the holder from the obligation to present any other document such as the ownership title, the export license and certificate, the certificate of expertise, the certificate of authenticity, etc. They act most often by phone, email, and through fraudulent sites usurping the name, logo and appearance of ICOM’s website.
ICOM, the international association of museums and museum professionals, does not participate in any way in negotiations in the art market. ICOM does not issue any certificate of expertise, origin, authenticity, registration or circulation for cultural property. No international organisation has a mandate in this area. Only competent national authorities are authorised to issue this type of document.
This scam has already claimed many victims, especially concerning Cameroon. We urge you to be extremely vigilant, and to respect the national and international legislation in force when you carry out transactions involving cultural goods.
UNESCO is also a victim of this scam and has published an alert on its website.
Be very careful of:
websites that mention several associations or international organisations in their URLs (eg ICOM and UNESCO)
persons who get in touch with you proposing expensive documents: ICOM does not issue any!
ICOM partners with the OECD to release a Guide for Local Governments, Communities and Museums
With an aim of highlighting the role museums play in local development the ICOM and OECD Guide for Local Governments, Communities and Museums is a road map for local governments, museums and museum professionals on how to jointly define a local development agenda that promotes a more sustainable future. During 2017 and 2018, several ICOM committee representatives and members met regularly and worked together with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and ICOM Secretariat for the creation of the Guide.
It is with great appreciation that we observe this timely and meaningful Forum of the University Museums bringing together experts from various international organisations to exchange ideas and experiences on the current state and the future of the university museums in Latin America and beyond.
Brazil has been one of the most dynamic and productive centres for museology and museum practice globally. It is no wonder that so many Brazilian professionals took part in different posts of ICOM’s governance, an association of over 40 000 members organised in 141 countries and territories worldwide. Besides our UMAC, representatives of ICOM’s expert International Committees are here today.
We believe our Brazilian colleagues will present to the world another example to be learned from and followed with their tackling of the devastating fire in the National Museum of Brazil and its aftermath.
We, as ICOM, are willing and ready to assist the Brazilian professionals in their quest to turn this mishap into an opportunity to rehabilitate this museum and museums in general, to update pertinent legislations and to advocate for funding.
I extend my best wishes to all of you for a very successful and productive meeting.
President of International Council of Museums (ICOM)
Foi com enorme satisfação que tomámos conhecimento deste significativo e oportuno Fórum de Museus Universitários, que reúne especialistas de várias organizações internacionais com o objetivo de promover a troca de ideias e experiências sobre o estado atual e o futuro dos museus universitários no Brasil e para além das fronteiras da América Latina.
O Brasil é reconhecido como um dos centros mais dinâmicos e produtivos na museologia e nas práticas museológicas a nível global. Não é, por isso, de admirar que tantos profissionais de museus brasileiros tenham vindo, ao longo do tempo, a ocupar diferentes lugares na governança do ICOM, uma organização que conta com mais de 40.000 membros em 141 países e territórios por todo o mundo. Para além do nosso UMAC, estão hoje aqui reunidos, em Belo Horizonte, vários membros de outros Comitês Internacionais especializados do ICOM.
Na sequência do incêndio devastador do Museu Nacional do Rio de Janeiro, seu rescaldo e consequências, acreditamos que, mais uma vez, os nossos colegas brasileiros darão ao mundo um exemplo com o qual todos possamos todos aprender e seguir. Nós, enquanto ICOM, estamos disponíveis e preparados para apoiar os profissionais de museus brasileiros na transformação desta calamidade numa oportunidade para reabilitar o Museu Nacional e os museus brasileiros em geral, bem como para rever e atualizar legislação relevante e defender o seu adequado financiamento. Estendo a todos os meus melhores votos de um bem sucedido e frutuoso Forum.
Presidente do Conselho Internacional dos Museus (ICOM)
FOR ALL MEMBERS: JOIN THE ANNUAL MEETINGS ON FACEBOOK LIVE
The 2018 ICOM Annual Meetings in Paris, France, are just around the corner. As ICOM keeps expanding its membership across the world, finding new ways of connecting with our members has become our number one priority. For the first time, the Annual Meetings will be available through Facebook Live, making them accessible to the largest number of our members. Three sessions will be retransmitted on real time: the keynote speech, delivered by artist Fred Wilson, the General Assembly, and the vote on the city that will host the 2022 ICOM General Conference. We will also encourage participation through our other social media platforms, Twitter and Instagram, via the hashtag #JuneMeetings.