The International Council of Museums (ICOM) is the world organisation of museums and museum professionals.
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E-newsletter May 2014

ICOM Annual Meetings 2014

ICOM will hold its Annual Meetings from 2-4 June at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France. The event will bring together museum professionals of different disciplines from all over the world to review the past year and discuss future objectives, reflecting on some of the key issues facing the museum community today, including sustainable development, museum ethics and heritage in danger.

The three day programme includes the 79th Advisory Committee meeting and the 29th Ordinary General Assembly of ICOM. An orientation session for new members of the Advisory Committee will walk participants through different aspects of ICOM and of the Annual Meetings while separate meetings of National and International Committees will provide time for representatives from different committees to discuss subjects of common interest. A workshop on education in ethics will provide participants with a deeper understanding of this subject.

This year’s keynote speaker is Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, who will discuss the theme Works and humanitarian activities. Mr Ban was awarded the 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize, the most prestigious award in architecture, for his “creative approach and innovation, especially related to building materials and structures.” His vast range of works includes the Nomadic Museum, the Centre Pompidou-Metz and the Aspen Art Museum. Following his lecture, participants will have the opportunity to interact with Mr Ban during a Q&A session. Read More

International Museum Day 2014

For the 37th year in a row, the international museum community celebrated International Museum Day (IMD) on 18 May. Over 35,000 museums across the five continents participated in IMD, organising activities on and around this festive day on the theme Museum collections make connections. This theme shows how museums contribute to the development of society by telling stories about the cultural heritage of a community and its shared memory, thereby creating bonds between visitors and the objects in museum collections. It aims to rejuvenate the traditional methods museums use to involve their communities and remain connected with their public.

Museums took advantage of International Museum Day to meet their public and organise original activities. In Afghanistan, IMD was celebrated for the first time ever at the country’s National Museum in Kabul, while ICOM President Prof. Dr Hans-Martin Hinz participated in a seminar in Zambia on this year’s theme as well as meetings about museums issues in Africa. In Greece, the Museum of Greek Children’s Art organised an exhibition on the connections between Japanese, Norwegian and Greek collections.

Since 2011, ICOM has partnered with the European Night of Museums, which is held every year on the Saturday closest to International Museum Day. This year the events coincided, as the European Night of Museums took place during the night of 17 to 18 May.
Read More

Photos: The President of ICOM Prof. Dr Hans-Martin Hinz in Zambia for International Museum Day

UMAC resolution on university collections

During ICOM’s 23rd General Conference in August 2013, ICOM’s International Committee for University Museums and Collections (UMAC) passed a resolution in support of the work of the Task Force for the Protection of University Collections. The resolution is a response to the vulnerable status of university collections due to the financial crisis, highlighting the important role of university collections, the responsibility universities hold to ensure their protection and the ethical requirements to be respected for their disposal. UMAC’s resolution is in keeping with the ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums and the Council of Europe’s Recommendation on the Governance and Management of University Heritage, as well as ethical standards developed by other major museum organisations. Read More

Turkey’s Museum of Innocence wins the 2014 European Museum of the Year Award

On 17 May, the 37th European Museum of the Year Award (EMYA) was presented to the Museum of Innocence in Istanbul, Turkey, at an award ceremony hosted by the Art Museum of Estonia in Tallinn. Organised by the European Museum Forum (EMF), EMYA is the longest-running and most prestigious museum award in Europe and is an important occasion for promoting innovative approaches in the museum sector throughout the entire continent.

The Museum of Innocence, a historical museum depicting life in Istanbul during the second half of the 20th century, opened in spring 2012. Created by writer Orhan Pamuk, the museum is a physical incarnation of the love story told in his 2008 novel of the same name. The museum displays objects that the novel’s characters use, wear, hear, see, collect and dream of, bringing the details of this famous love story to life. The Museum of Innocence provides a sustainable model for new museum development and opens the door for innovative, new paradigms in the museum sector.

As a partner of EMF, ICOM was honoured to be part of this celebration of European museums and presented its work on International Museum Day during the EMF Open Forum on 16 May. For more information about EMYA

Photos: ©Masumiyet Vakfı ve Refik Anadol, Innocence Foundation and Refik Anadol

37th Annual ICOFOM Symposium

The 37th Annual Symposium of ICOFOM (ICOM’s International Committee for Museology) will take place from 5-9 June, 2014 in Paris, France. New trends in museology will be the theme for this symposium, which will analyse different currents in the way museology is defined and investigate new trends in the museum field. The programme includes several workshops, plenary sessions, museum visits and a tribute to honorary member of ICOM, André Desvallées. Read More

CIMAM 2014 Travel Grant Program

Thanks to the generous support of the Getty Foundation, the Fundación Cisneros/Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros and Qatar Museums, CIMAM (ICOM’s International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art) is offering 20 travel grants to modern and contemporary art curators and museum or collection directors who wish to attend CIMAM’s 2014 Annual Conference, which will be held in Doha, Qatar from 9-11 November, 2014. The deadline to submit applications is 30 June.

CIMAM’s Travel Grant Program is designed to foster cooperation and cultural exchange between visual art professionals in emerging and developing economies and their counterparts in other regions of the world. It enables professionals from underrepresented regions and smaller institutions to attend CIMAM’s Annual Conference.
Grant eligibility criteria can be found at

Photos: ©Richard Bryant. Courtesy of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art

Portrait of the ICOM new Director General: Anne-Catherine Robert-Hauglustaine

What brought you to ICOM? Could you tell a bit about your experience within the museum community?

Holding a doctorate in the History of Science and Techniques, I was headed towards an academic career after finishing a post-doctoral degree in the US. Once back in France, I was recruited by the Musée des arts et métiers, where I learned many different vocations, including conservation, exhibition development, publications, communication and sponsorship.

After spending eight years in Paris, I took on a new challenge at the University of Strasbourg, where an outstanding project to create a science garden was underway. I worked to develop programmes on scientific and technical culture in France and on an international level through my elective responsibilities with EUSEA (European Science Events Association). In Strasbourg I also worked on a scientific and cultural project for a new museum that brought together the university planetarium and the renovation of the Zoological Museum of Strasbourg. These projects allowed me to combine my expertise in the fields of science and museums, and my years of teaching a course on temporary exhibitions at the Sorbonne did the same.

Stepping into the leadership of ICOM’s General Secretariat is an opportunity for me to reconnect with the museum world, which is close to my heart.

After the many years you have been involved with ICOM, passing from ordinary member to member of the board of a National Committee, to Chair of an International Committee, to Treasurer of ICOM and now Director General of the ICOM Secretariat, what stands out the most for you?

Having been actively involved in ICOM for about 15 years, I have become fully invested in our organisation of museum professionals, with a desire to develop its activities, its notoriety and its role in our international community. As an ex officio member of ICOM France, elected member of an International Committee and then Chair of ICEE (International Committee for Exhibition Exchange), I have, over the past 15 years, had the opportunity to devote myself to our organisation as a volunteer both at a national and international level. This has allowed me to rapidly assess the complexity of our organisation, of both its strengths and its challenges. I was struck by the scholarship and personal investment of numerous colleagues from around the world who live for museums and support them, defending and developing them with infectious energy.

What is on your agenda for your first months as ICOM DG? What will be your main areas of focus, to begin with?

We are entering a new period for ICOM, as a new Strategic Plan is being discussed and projects are being organised to reaffirm ICOM’s place as a reference institution for museums all over the world. A new memorandum will be signed with UNESCO and new programmes will be put in place over the next months in order to reinforce the role of ICOM and its international experts. ICOM’s rapid reaction to disasters and other dangers that affect museums, including illicit trafficking, is another major asset that we should highlight. Active collaboration with other organisations that work in the cultural and heritage sector is essential for the development of ICOM.

The 32,000 members of our organisation must be able to take advantage of ICOM’s programmes, of the potential of this exceptional international network and of the content developed by ICOM’s various committees.

Publications: Code of Ethics in Farsi

The ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums is now available in Farsi, the official language of Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. This new edition of the code includes an introduction by Dr Kouros Samanian, Director of the Museum Studies M.A. Programme at the Tehran University of Arts. The Farsi translation of the Code was launched in April, 2014, during the visit of ICOM Ethics Committee President Dr Martin R. Schaerer to Iran.

The ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums was adopted in 1986 and revised in 2004. The Code establishes the values and principles shared by ICOM and the international museum community, setting minimum standards of professional practice and performance for museums and their staff. It is now available in 37 languages.
The ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums in Farsi

Publications: ICOM-ASPAC website officially launched

The International Council of Museums Asia-Pacific Alliance (ICOM-ASPAC) has launched its new website to help the public discover and explore the rich and diverse museum landscape in the Asia-Pacific region. The website provides a professional platform for members of the museum community to share experiences, exchange ideas and learn from each other. It includes a news section and a calendar of relevant conferences and events in addition to other useful resources. Information about ICOM-ASPAC’s Annual Conference in Vietnam this October will soon be published on the website. Read More

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