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Activity Report 1998 - 2001
The National Committees
Activities of National Committees

Meetings and Seminars (except administrative meetings)


Between 1998 and 2000, the Greek National Committee initiated a series of seminars on "Heritage and Education: Cultural Networks for Education". In 1998, it also organised meetings on marine heritage, ethnographical museums and museology. In 1998, ICOM-Israel organised seminars on museums in a multicultural society entitled "Art - Community - Industry", and in 2000 it turned its attention to museum access for the handicapped, as well as museums and penitentiary establishments. ICOM-Spain concentrated its efforts on preparing for the General Conference to be held in Barcelona in 2001. In 1998, ICOM-Italy made arrangements for seminars on the themes "The Intangible Economic Value of Museums", "The Educational Function of Museums" and "From the Museum of Popular Traditions to the Eco-museum". In 2000, ICOM-France concentrated on the topics of "Museum Management" and "Cultural Tourism".

The annual meetings of ICOM-Switzerland were devoted to "Museum Architecture" in 1998, "Industry-Geschichte" in 1999 and "Regional Museums" in 2000. In 1999, the German Committee met around the theme of "International Culture and the Work of Museums" and in 2000 around the theme of "The Museum as the Global Village". The Austrian National Committee organised a symposium in Linz on the new challenges faced by museums in the European Community. In 1999, ICOM-UK organised, in collaboration with the British Commission for Museums and Art Galleries, a colloquium on the international outlook for museums.

In 1998, ICOM-Sweden convened its experts around the theme "A World Culture or a World of Many Cultures?". In 1999, ICOM-Norway discussed the role of ICOM and ways to disseminate the expertise and information of the ICOM National Committees to museums and their staff.

In 2000, ICOM-Estonia and the Society of Estonian Museums held a meeting on the social role of museums within the framework of the Estonian project to reform museums. In 1998, the Polish Committee organised a colloquium to discuss the situation of Polish museums in the light of new legislation in Poland. In 1999, the ICOM-Romania Committee met to study the question of "Museum Training". In 2000, the Committee of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia organised a colloquium on "Standardisation of Museum Documents" in Skopje. In 1999, the Croatian Committee participated in the annual meeting of the Associations of Museums of Croatia, the main subject being the role of museums as a source of information. ICOM-Slovakia organised an international colloquium on "The Museum as a School and as a Play Activity" in 1998. ICOM-Slovenia organised a conference on "Museums and the National Cultural Programme" in 1998. In 1999, ICOM-Russia hosted an international conference on "Museum Management". From 1998-2000, ICOM-Russia also organised 12 meetings in different towns in the country to discuss international co-operation projects within ICOM. The National Committee of Azerbaijan held a conference and a workshop on "Audio-visual Media in Museums", in Baku in October 2000.


The Tunisian Committee met to debate on the themes "Insights into Museums" in 1998, and "Development of Museographic Areas" and "New Communication Tools in the World" in 1999. Several meetings took place, with the assistance of ICOM-Niger, on the question of the looting of archaeological sites and the theme "Museums and Development".

Latin America and the Caribbean

ICOM-Peru organised a training seminar for the administrative staff of museums, as well as an exhibition on the illicit traffic of cultural property entitled "Basta ya!" in 1998. The second international workshop on the illicit traffic of cultural property brought together members of ICOM, INTERPOL and the IWC in 1999. ICOM-Mexico organised a workshop on "How to Attract Visitors to Museums" and a training programme for museum directors in 1999. In 2000, a Franco-Mexican colloquium took place on the theme of "Renovation, Rehabilitation and Extension of Museums". The Uruguayan Committee organised a course and a workshop on "Cultural Marketing (Tourism and Museums)" in 1999, as well as a cycle of lectures on "The Conservation and Restoration of Painting, Paper, Metal and Stone".

The National Committee of Brazil met in 1998 for a debate on "Cultural Diversity and the Diversity of Museums". In 1999, the National Committee of Chile participated in special days devoted to museology, and in 2000 it conducted an educational workshop on municipal museums and tourism. The National Committee of Ecuador debated on social and cultural events in museums, and also organised a round table on museums in times of crisis.

In 1998, the Bolivian Committee drew up, together with the Ministry of Culture and the Embassy of the United States, a bilateral agreement on the protection of cultural heritage between the two countries. This action was reinforced in 1999 and 2000 by meetings with the Mercosur Cultural Parliament convened to draft legislation to protect the cultural heritage of Latin America. The ICOM-Colombia Committee introduced a programme of communication strategies in the cultural sector.

A workshop entitled "Museums, Peace, Democracy and Government in the 21st Century", was held in Barbados to discuss the role of museums in promoting peace and strengthening democracy.


In 2000, ICOM-Sri Lanka put together an educational programme for children on national museums in Sri Lanka.

North America

Numerous meetings were organised by the ICOM Committee of the United States, in co-operation with the American Association of Museums. Among the subjects discussed in 1998 were distance learning, the theft of artworks, the return of stolen artworks during the Nazi period, the presentation of other cultures in museums, international exchanges, and the project "Learning in Museums". The following year, the topics included a cultural dialogue between Africa and America, museums and schools, international prospects, museum management, and community development. In 2000, the themes selected were the problems of multilingual communications, globalisation and local cultures, the acquisition of collections, museums as economic catalysts in traditional communities, the international network of conscience museums, and partnerships between American, Central European and Eastern European museums.

Exchanges and International Co-operation


The Chairpersons of the ICOM National Committees of European Union countries, with the backing of ICOM-Portugal, met in Lisbon in 2000 to discuss "The Museum Profession and Free Circulation of Professionals within the EU". Common recruitment regulations for museum professionals were drawn up.

ICOM-France established exchanges with the Moroccan Committee in 1998 (training courses) and participated in a survey for ICOM-Japan on relations between schools and museums. In 2000, ICOM-France also organised video-conferences with ICOM-Mexico on the training of museum staff.

In 2000, the tripartite meeting between ICOM-Germany, ICOM-Switzerland and ICOM-Austria was held in Lindau in Germany. A joint meeting between the German and French Committees took place in Paris in 1999. The Austrian Committee invited Danish museum professionals for a study visit in Vienna, and in 1998 and 1999, there were exchanges between members of ICOM-Switzerland and ICOM-Poland. ICOM-The Netherlands participated in the activities of the Blue Shield, including a symposium held in 2000.

The meetings of ICOM-North (National Committees of Finland, Iceland and Denmark)) were held in Reykjavik, Oslo and Stockholm from 1998 to 2000. One of the themes tackled in 2000 was the possibility of co-operation between colleagues of ICOM-North and those of Asia-Pacific. In 1999, the President of ICOM-Finland went to Belgrade on the invitation of the National Yugoslav Committee, while ICOM-Finland invited ICOMOS and the Blue Shield groups to draw up a Finnish programme for emergency situations. ICOM-Norway participated in measures to collect funds for AFRICOM in 1999. Between 1998 and 2000, ICOM-Sweden organised SAMP meetings (a programme of exchanges between Swedish and African museums) on the theme "Cultural Heritage without Frontiers", and it also inaugurated the "Museum 2000" cycle of lectures that continued up to 2001.

CEICOM (the group of Central European Committees) met in 1998, 1999 and 2000 in Munich, Paris and Zagreb. The National Czech Committee organised joint working sessions with the Slovak National Committee. In 1999, members of ICOM-Slovakia met with members of ICOM-Hungary and took part in a programme of studies on museology, supported by the Czech Committee.

The Yugoslav Committee received several visits from representatives of various ICOM National Committees in 1999. In 2000, the Croatian Committee collaborated with the Swedish Committee on the presentation of "Striptease", a documentary about illicit traffic, and it also organised, together with the Russian Committee, a conference on Internet and the Media in Museums. The National Committee of Belarus organised an international seminar on regional museums and participated, together with its Russian and Polish counterparts, in an international seminar on museums and new technologies. ICOM-Russia hosted a conference on the theme "Promoting Co-operation between Sweden and Russia in the Field of Museology" in Moscow in 1998. An international seminar was organised jointly by Russia and The Netherlands in 1998 to discuss "The Management and Marketing of Museums". In 2000, an ICOM regional group on the architecture of museums in Eastern Europe was set up. ICOM-Estonia attended a conference of museums in the Baltic region on educational services provided by museums. There was an exchange of exhibitions between Estonia and foreign museums.


ICOM-Niger worked with the Committee of Benin on a joint project for exhibitions. Information was exchanged between various National Committees in Africa (Nigeria, Côte d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Benin, Ghana, and others).

In 1998, ICOM-Morocco, ICOM-Tunisia and other members of ICOM in the Arab-speaking world joined forces to organise a colloquium focusing on the illicit traffic of cultural property. Members of ICOM-Morocco participated in the first meeting between African and Latin American professionals, which took place in Buenos Aires. In 1999, ICOM-Morocco and AFRICOM met to discuss the subject of "Museums in Africa".

Latin America and the Caribbean

From 1998 to 2000, several National Committees of Latin America met to discuss the illicit traffic of cultural property. Several National Committees also took part in the meeting on Museums and Cultural Tourism, held in Trujillo in Peru and La Paz in Bolivia. In 1998, the Bolivian Committee invited 20 representatives of Committees from Latin America, Africa and Europe to an international seminar centred on "A New Management for Museums and Heritage". In 1999 and 2000, the National Committee of Chile initiated exchanges between the Committees of Ecuador and Paraguay. The Chilean Committee also participated in a workshop on the management of heritage, held in Spain with the assistance of the Spanish Committee. ICOM-Uruguay attended meetings of the National Committee of Argentina in 1998 and of Costa Rica in 1999. The National Committee of Cuba continued its programme of exchanging information and documentation with other Committees. ICOM-Peru met with ICOM-Bolivia to discuss "Museums, Heritage and Cultural Tourism", while the Colombian Committee participated in a seminar on "Museums in the 21st" with the Committees of Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia in 1999.


ICOM-Japan launched a survey on the educational activities of museums in France and Germany, with the assistance of the International Committees of these countries in 1998. The following year, similar surveys were extended to the United States and Canada, and in 2000, it will be the turn of Great Britain and Japan itself.

North America

The Committee in the United States participated in the programme for the International Partnerships between Museums, and launched Phase II, 1999-2001.

International Museum Day

The ICOM National Committees organised several events within the framework of the International Museum Day, backed by information campaigns. Many museums, both big and small, introduced free entry and hosted events to celebrate this special day.


The International Museum Day provided an appropriate occasion to award the Museum Achievement of the Year Prize in Finland, the Museum of the Year Prize in Hungary and the Prize for the Best Museum Event in Poland.

ICOM-Greece chose this day to celebrate the opening of the Museum of Modern Ceramics in Athens in 2000, while the Spanish Committee inaugurated its Internet site. In 1998 and 1999, ICOM-Switzerland published a guide listing all the events organised by museums. The Belarus National Committee also produced a series of information documents about museums. The Czech Committee broadcast radio programmes about the Museum Day for several years running, while the United Kingdom Committee set up several pressure groups to encourage the British Government to ratify the UNESCO Convention of 1970 and the UNIDROIT Convention of 1995. ICOM-Russia devoted several events to the subject of "Technical Symbols in the 20th Century", in collaboration with Russian scientific centres and companies. In 2000, ICOM-Romania organised excursions and exhibitions on the Danube delta.


To celebrate the International Museum Day in 1999, the Moroccan Committee organised a travelling exhibition of museum collections for schools in the principal towns of the country, and exhibited objects from museum reserves. ICOM-Chad organised an exhibition on music instruments. ICOM-Tunisia conducted a competition at the National Museum of the Bardo. The National Committee of Botswana organised several exhibitions, folkloric events and traditional African dances. The National Committee of the Côte d'Ivoire hosted a conference entitled "A New Era for Museums in Africa" in 1999 and a Poetry Festival, in collaboration with the cultural association "The Living Arts of Africa and Elsewhere" in 2000. The National Committee of Nigeria held conferences on regional integration, as well as educational workshops, and in 1999, it invited artistic troupes from Benin, the Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Guinea.

Latin America and the Caribbean

The ICOM-Mexico prize was awarded to the museographic expert, Mario Vazquez Ruvalcaba on the International Museum Day of 1999. In 2000, more than 350 activities took place in Mexican museums to celebrate the Special Day devoted to museums. ICOM-Uruguay inaugurated a widespread information campaign on its activities for the written press, as well as for radio and television, and it also issued a stamp commemorating ICOM and the International Museums Day in 2000. The Colombian National Committee chose the International Museum Day to celebrate its 30th anniversary. The Ecuadorian Committee published catalogues and posters, and the Bolivian Committee organised a conference in 1998 on Museums and the Internet.


In 1998, ICOM-Sri Lanka created a poster on the illicit traffic of cultural property and circulated it to schools and governmental institutions. National heritage awareness campaigns and competitions were also organised.

North America

Information files were sent to museums and interested individuals about the International Museum Day.



Members of the Estonian Committee presented themselves for nomination to the new Consultative Committee of Estonian Museums, set up by the Ministry of Culture. Members also took part in discussions on the reform of Estonian museums and efforts to improve them. Web sites were created by the Czech Committee, the Andorra National Committee and the French Committee. ICOM-Latvia participated in the implementation of a programme of studies on museums at the Latvian Cultural Academy. ICOM-Switzerland undertook joint projects with the Association of Swiss Museums and the National Information Centre for the Conservation of Cultural Property. ICOM-Romania awarded a prize for the best exhibition of the year in December 1999, in partnership with Museums Magazine. In 1999 and 2000, ICOM-Russia participated actively in preparations for the national competition on "Windows on Russia", organised by the newspaper "Kultura" to choose the best museum and the best cultural institution.

Latin America and the Caribbean

In 1999, an agreement was signed between Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Colombia and Bolivia on the control of illicit traffic of cultural property, in follow-up to an agreement with the United States. The Brazilian Committee collaborated actively in the Regional Forum of the Rio Grande do Sul museums.

North America

The Canadian Association of Museums, supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, introduced international training courses in museums and it also manages a Distance Learning Programme on Basic Museum Studies. It created its own Web site in 1999.
The Committee of the United States made great progress on the issue of returning art works from the Nazi period that are in the United States through seminars, conferences, Web pages, publication of guides, creation of search tools on Internet and staff training.

Updated: 17 June 2005