International Council of Museums
|Services||Conservation, continuation and communication to society of the world's natural and cultural heritage.|
The International Council of Museums (ICOM), created in 1946, is the only organisation of museums and museum professionals with a global scope, committed to the promotion and protection of natural and cultural heritage, present and future, tangible and intangible. With approximately 30,000 members in 137 countries, ICOM is a network of museum professionals acting in a wide range of museum-and heritage-related disciplines.
Created in 1946, ICOM is a non-governmental organization maintaining formal relations with UNESCO and having a consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. ICOM also partners with entities such as the World Intellectual Property Organization, INTERPOL  and the World Customs Organization, in order to carry out its international public service missions, which include fighting illicit traffic in cultural goods and promoting risk management and emergency preparedness to protect world cultural heritage in the event of natural or man-made disasters.
The ICOM Code of Ethics for museums
A leading force in ethical matters, ICOM adopted its ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums in 1986, a reference tool that sets standards of excellence to which all members of the organisation must adhere. The ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums, translated into 36 languages and revised in 2006, establishes values and principles shared by ICOM and the international museum community. These standards of self-regulation by museums include basic principles for museum governance, the acquisition and disposal of collections, and rules for professional conduct.
Fighting illicit traffic
Illicit traffic in cultural goods causes significant damage to heritage, particularly in regions of the world where cultural objects are most susceptible to theft and looting. Supporting the fight against illicit traffic in cultural goods is among ICOM’s highest priorities. In this context, ICOM publishes its Red List series to raise awareness on smuggling and illicit trade in cultural objects. The ICOM Red Lists are tools designed to help police and customs officials, heritage professionals and art and antiquities dealers to identify the types of objects that are most susceptible to illicit trafficking.
ICOM has already published Red Lists for many different countries and regions:
Museums emergency programme
ICOM is committed to providing cultural institutions with the necessary support and risk prevention tools when faced with conflict situations or natural disasters. Through its Disaster Relief for Museums Task Force (DRTF), its Museums Emergency Programme (MEP) and its active role in the International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS), ICOM assists museums worldwide by mobilising its resources quickly and efficiently to provide support both in the prevention and the aftermath of disaster situations.
The Getty Conservation Institute and ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property) took part in this programme and helped develop training tools for MEP. ICOM’s action programme offers a long-term global response that strengthens the International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS) dynamism.
International Museum Day
Every year since 1977, ICOM has organised International Museum Day, a worldwide event held around 18 May. From America and Oceania to Europe, Asia and Africa, International Museum Day aims to increase public awareness of the role of museums in developing society. The event has increased steadily in visibility and popularity over the years. Participation in International Museum Day promotes greater diversity and intercultural dialogue among our international museum community. Each year, ICOM defines a specific theme for International Museum Day: The theme for 2011 was Museum and memory. As the topic of conserving and transmitting collective memory does not only affect museums, ICOM initiated partnerships with cultural organisations that share ICOM's missions and feel concerned by these questions: UNESCO Memory of the World Programme (World Documentary Heritage), Co-ordinating Council of Audiovisual Archives Associations (CCAAA), International Council on Archives (ICA), International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA). ICOM also patronized the European Night of Museums, an event which announces International Museum Day in the spirit of an all-day and all-night museum week. The theme for 2012 was Museums in a Changing World. New challenges, New inspirations.
The ICOM Committees
ICOM’s commitment to culture and knowledge promotion is reinforced by its 31 International Committees dedicated to a wide range of museum specialties, who conduct advanced research in their respective fields for the benefit of the museum community.
ICOM comprises also 117 National Committees that ensure that the interests of the organisation are managed in their respective countries. The National Committees represent their members within ICOM and they contribute to the implementation of the organisation’s programmes.
The ICOM General Conference
The ICOM General conference is held every three years and gathers museum professionals from around the world. The first meeting was held in Paris in 1948. In recent years, General Conferences have been held in Seoul in 2004 (the first meeting in Asia), in Vienna in 2007, and in Shanghai in 2010. In recent years, General Conferences have been held in Seoul in 2004 (the first meeting in Asia), in Vienna in 2007, and in Shanghai from 7 to 12 November 2010. This 22nd General Conference in Shanghai followed the World Expo where an ICOM’s Pavilion was inaugurated and named “Museums, Heart of the City”. During this event, ICOM General Director Julien Anfruns welcomed former president of France, Jacques Chirac, as well as former president of Mali, Alpha Oumar Konaré.
CIDOC and the Conceptual Reference Model (CRM)
CIDOC, ICOM's International Committee for Documentation, provides the museum community with standards and advice on museum documentation.
The CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model (CRM), formalised as the official international standard ISO 21127, is used to map cultural heritage information to a common and extensible semantic framework. This "semantic glue" can be used to connect between different sources of cultural heritage information published by museums, libraries and archives.
- (English) "UNESCO/ICOM Museum Studies Training Programme". unesco.org.
- (English) "ICOM among UNESCO’s Partners". unesco.org.
- (English) "Partnership between ICOM and WIPO". wipo.int.
- (English) "Partnership between ICOM and INTERPOL". interpol.int.
- (English) "ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums". icom.museum.
- (English) "ICOM’s actions in Fighting Illicit Traffic". icom.museum.
- (English) "Julien Anfruns, ICOM Director General, at the International Conference of ICBS, December 2011". youtube.com.
- (English) "International Museum Day in Greece". ekathimerini.com. 2012.
- (English) "IFLA partnered the International Museum Day 2011". ifla.org.
- (English) "Inauguration of ICOM’s Pavilion at the Expo". dailymotion.com. 2010.
- (English) "Dr Hans-Martin Hinz, ICOM President". icom.museum. 2010.
- "CIDOC - Supporting Museum Documentation". International Council of Museums.
- "CIDOC CRM Home page". CIDOC CRM Special Interest Group.
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