"right" of ICOM members to free or reduced entry to
museums world wide has never really been an "open
and shut" case. This privilege almost always depended
on the good will of the institutions concerned and
also upon the National Committees
in the countries where the museums are located.
it is the Chairperson and other Board members of the
National Committee who take it upon themselves to
request museums in their countries (particularly those
that are ICOM members) to honour the ICOM card. Sometimes
the requests are made to the appropriate governmental
office, i.e. the Ministry of Culture or Education.
To avail of free (or reduced fee entry) to museums and sites, personnel of ICOM’s institutional members may be requested to show proof of their employment with the institutional member (i.e. badge, official letter etc.).This is the case for the Palaces of Versailles and the Trianon in France.
Individual ICOM members should also have identity cards as supporting documents to enable them to have this benefit.
National Committees as well as the ICOM
Secretariat disseminate ICOM decals (stickers)
to the institutions that honour the card. The posting of
this decal in the museum's reception area usually signals
the benefit of free or reduced entry for ICOM members. This
is the case in Belgium, Germany and Spain, for example.
France, ICOM cards are honoured in the national museums
(e.g. Louvre, Musée d'Orsay) and other municipal museums
that are ICOM members (e.g. Palais Galliera-Costume Museum).
The beauty of this is not having to queue at all! The card
is also valid for temporary "blockbuster" exhibitions held
in France, e.g. at the Grand Palais in Paris.
the ICOM card can be used at French monuments and sites
such as Mont St. Michel and the castles of the Loire Valley.
This is part of a reciprocity programme with ICOMOS (the
International Council on Monuments & Sites) whose cards
are also accepted in museums.
States museums are similarly cooperative. The major museums
that are ICOM institutional members accept the card, such
as New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of
Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Frick Collection.
In the Washington D.C. area, most museums are national in
character and therefore do not charge entry fees.
Italy, thanks to the efforts of the Italian National Committee,
of Culture issued a decree in July 1997 allowing
ICOM members to enjoy free entry to national museums,
archaeological monuments and sites. In 1999, more than
70 museums that are not administered by the state decided
to grant free entrance to ICOM members. A list of these
italian museums is available in the ICOM
Italy web site. Vatican Museums do also honour
the ICOM Card.