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

Museum International

ICOM is proud to announce the publication of its first issue of Museum International, an academic journal that promotes the exchange of information about museums and cultural heritage on an international level. Published by UNESCO since 1948 and with Wiley-Blackwell since 1992, publishing rights for the journal were transferred to ICOM in 2013. In collaboration with Wiley-Blackwell, ICOM now holds exclusive responsibility for the editorial policy and content of the journal.

This first issue focuses on the theme Achievements and Challenges in the Brazilian Museum Landscape. It includes 11 articles that explore Brazilian museums from a range of different disciplines and perspectives. In her editorial, Adriana Mortara Almeida, the issue’s Editor in Chief writes: “The content of the articles in this issue reveals the striking development in museum policies in Brazil and the initiatives to serve visitors better, by ensuring public participation in the design of museum proposals and improving communication processes and the quality of the services offered. The picture presented is positive and optimistic, although the articles also deal with challenges and obstacles that must be faced.”

ICOM intends to continue the journal’s tradition of fostering interdisciplinary research and encouraging best practices for the safeguarding and protection of cultural heritage, making some selected changes to the journal’s editorial policy. An Editorial Board will choose themes that reflect contemporary issues in the museum field and the diversity of ICOM by drawing on the expertise of ICOM’s International Committees. Initially, ICOM will publish the journal exclusively in English, and a Chinese version will be published through a partnership with Yilin Press. ICOM will seek out partners for editions in other languages in a second phase.

ICOM’s second issue of the journal will be dedicated to the International Museum Day theme of 2014, Museum collections make connections, with COMCOL Chair Léontine Meijer-Van Mensch as its Editor in Chief. It is set to be published later this year.

After the completion of these first two transitional issues, the permanent Editorial Board will be in place for all subsequent issues, with Prof. Dr Tereza Scheiner as Editor in Chief and Aedín Mac Devitt as Managing Editor. The board will discuss and choose themes, authors and a panel of peer reviewers. Read More

ICOM applauds Burkina Faso’s support for museums and culture

ICOM Director General Dr. Anne-Catherine Robert-Hauglustaine participated in a Seminar on Professional Ethics from 21 to 23 July in Gaoua and Loropéni, Burkina Faso. Speaking before 120 museum professionals from all over the country on 22 July, she presented ICOM and its work, focusing specifically on the ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums. Dr. Robert-Hauglustaine congratulated Burkina Faso on its thriving museum sector and reflected on ethical questions for museums and the public.

Mr. Alassane Waongo, President of ICOM Burkina and Heritage Manager of the National Museum of Burkina Faso, spoke at the seminar as well, pointing out the reciprocal support provided by his country and ICOM for Burkinabe museums and special projects. He praised ICOM’s growing involvement in Sub-Saharan Africa, giving the ICOM Director General’s presence at the seminar as a prime example. Read More

Emergency Expert Meeting for the Safeguarding of Iraq's Cultural Heritage

ICOM was invited to the Emergency Expert Meeting for the Safeguarding of Iraq's Cultural Heritage, which was organised by UNESCO on Thursday, 17 July, 2014 in Paris, France. This roundtable provided an opportunity for speakers from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities of Iraq to assess the damage to cultural heritage in the country and the needs of Iraqi professionals working in the sector. The Ministry emphasised the need for international cooperation to effectively protect cultural objects, which are suffering daily attacks by troops from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Emergency response training programmes for Iraqi museum professionals were also discussed.

The fight against illicit trafficking in cultural goods has long been one of ICOM’s chief priorities. During the meeting, the importance of the Emergency Red List of Iraqi Antiquities at Risk was highlighted, which was the first Red List published by ICOM in 2003, and remains relevant due to the ongoing looting and illicit trafficking of cultural goods in the region. The publication is currently being updated and reprinted with the generous support of the US Department of State.

During the technical meeting, ICOM Director General added that ICOM’s International Observatory on Illicit Traffic in Cultural Goods provides information on the issues of looting and illicit trafficking and that by filtering searches by country, material on Iraq can be readily found. The Observatory is an accessible platform that could eventually be used to efficiently alert the public of violations in Iraq.

Representatives of ICCROM, ICOMOS, IFLA, INTERPOL and UNESCO attending the meeting called for an immediate response to the tragic events taking place in the northern Mosul region of Iraq for the past several months. Mobilising the international community is more crucial than ever to ensure that concrete actions are implemented to fight this threat to the cultural heritage of Iraq, and the world.

Meetings of ICOFOM, ICOM France, ICOM Italy and CIMUSET

The 37th Annual Symposium of ICOFOM (ICOM’s International Committee for Museology) was held from 5-9 June, 2014 in Paris, France. The event focused on the theme New trends in museology and allowed its participants to analyse different currents in the way museology is defined and to investigate new trends in the museum field. ICOM France then held its Annual General Assembly on 20 and 21 June in Nice, France. The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco welcomed 120 museum professionals for the event, which included a roundtable on the theme Expositions à sujets sensibles (Exhibitions on sensitive subjects) and visits to museums in Monaco and Nice.

On 7 July, more than 250 museum professionals and representatives of many Italian and international cultural associations met in Siena, Italy, for discussions on Museums and Cultural Landscapes, the theme for the 2016 ICOM General Conference. The event, organised by ICOM Italy, Fondazione Musei Senesi and Regione Toscana, included speeches on the cultural and social role of museums, as well as the organisation and promotion of ICOM Milano 2016. During the conference, participants approved the Siena Charter, a document presenting the Italian perspective on museum’s responsibilities toward heritage and its surrounding landscapes. ICOM Italy expects this document to be a starting point for discussions on the 2016 theme within ICOM’s international network.

Meanwhile, CIMUSET (International Committee for Museums and Collections of Science and Technology) hosted its 2014 conference at the Musée des arts et métiers in Paris from 6-11 July. The event focused on the theme Collections, exhibitions, demonstrations: their usefulness as tools to facilitate understanding in the museums of science and technology and science centres. On this occasion, an agreement was signed between the China Science and Technology Museum, the Conservatoire national des arts et métiers and ICOM to promote the exchange of best practices and the training of personnel.

Finally, ICOM UK held their Annual General Meeting at the Geffrye Museum in London on 25 July, inviting Prof. Peter Stone OBE, Director of the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies at Newcastle University and Chair of the UK Blue Shield, to talk about heritage at risk in zones of conflict.

2014 laureate of the Museum Horizon Award

Founded by ICOM Sweden and Samp, the Hans Manneby Memorial Fund for Museum Development presents the Museum Horizon Award to an individual who has contributed to the development of the role of museums in contemporary society in an innovative way. The prize was created in 2009 in honour of the life of former ICOM Sweden Chair, Hans Manneby and aims to celebrate efforts in innovative organisational and structural areas, forms of collaboration, methods of communication and non-conventional thinking.

The 2014 laureate is Giane Vargas Escobar, from the Museu Comunitário Treze de Maio in Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. She was chosen for her commitment and contribution to the strengthening of Afro-Brazilian identity and culture in Brazilian society. Some of the noteworthy themes she has brought to public attention include Brazilian cultural diversity, the memory of social struggles before and since the abolition of slavery, and the role of women in transmitting collective memory. The prize also recognises her creativity and managerial skills in spreading the principles and practices of the museum community in Brazil. Read More

Upcoming meetings of ICOM Committees in 2014

Many ICOM Committees will hold their meetings during the next few months, counting among them a joint meeting of ICOM Russia, ICOM Germany and ICOM USA. International Committees also gathering for their respective annual meetings include CAMOC, CIMCIM, CIPEG, MRP, CIDOC, COSTUME, ICMS, IC MEMO, ICOM-CC, ICAMT and others. These meetings will take place all over the world and will allow participants to discuss a wide range of issues relevant to the museum community. Visit our calendar of events on ICOM’s website for further information on the dates and themes for each meeting. ICOM members can log on to ICOMMUNITY to access calls for papers for these meetings, among others.

ICEE (International Committee for Exhibition Exchange) is holding its 2014 Conference from 23-27 September in the Finnish cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Tampere and Mänttä. This year’s conference theme is New Museums, New Partners and New Incentives in Exhibition Making and Exchange, which aims to determine new ways to widen the scope of international exhibition exchange, making it accessible to museums with limited resources. DEMHIST (International Committee for Historic House Museums) will meet from 7-10 October in Compiègne, France. Organised in collaboration with the Association of European Royal Residences, the meeting will address the theme Authenticity in Conservation of Historic House Museums and Palaces.

Meanwhile, CECA (International Committee for Education and Cultural Action) and UMAC (International Committee for University Museums and Collections) will hold a joint conference on the theme Squaring the Circle? Research, Museum, Public from 9-14 October at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt. Finally, the Annual Meeting of ICTOP (International Committee for the Training of Personnel) will take place in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay, Vietnam from 21-25 October, focusing on the theme Rethinking Museums & Sustainable Development for the Global Profession: Postcolonial Museology, Appropriate Capacity Building and Regional Engagement.

Communicating the Museum

This year, ICOM will once again partner with Agenda in hosting the 14th edition of the international conference Communicating the Museum (CTM), which will take place from 4-11 November, 2014. After several successful CTM conferences in a number of European cities, this edition will be the first to be held in the Pacific region, taking place in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia. Communicating the Museum is the world’s leading arts communications conference, bringing together cultural leaders from around the globe and giving participants a great opportunity to network, exchange ideas and learn from experts from industries beyond the museum world.

Some examples of topics that will be discussed this year include: building international collaboration, reshaping a museum from the inside, engaging the community and branding a museum as a destination. The list of this year’s speakers includes leading experts in marketing, communications, development and new media from Australia, Denmark, France, Singapore, UK and USA. Read More

Publication: Minutes of the General Assembly

The Minutes of the 29th session of ICOM’s General Assembly, held on 4 June, 2014 in Paris, France, is now on the ICOM website and ICOMMUNITY in English, French and Spanish.

Publication: ICOM News 2014: Call for contributions

ICOM is pleased to launch a call for contributions for the next issue of ICOM News. The magazine is available through the ICOM website and is distributed to ICOM’s 32,000 members and subscribers around the world. It is an effective platform for sharing case studies, new ideas and practical advice with a large audience of museum professionals. The publication is divided into In Focus, Best Practices and Special Report sections, among others, each focusing on a specific theme pertinent to contemporary museum work. The December 2014 issue will explore The visitor experience in its Special Report, Visitor research methods in Best Practices and Museums for a sustainable society in its In Focus section.

Please submit proposals related to these topics to

Publication: 2015 AAM Annual Meeting session proposal

The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) session proposal process for the 2015 Annual Meeting is open from 15 July until 25 August. The event will take place from 26-29 April, 2015 in Atlanta, USA, and will focus on the theme The Social Value of Museums: Inspiring Change. Candidates are invited to consider the following questions:

  • What does it mean to advance the social engagement of museums?
  • Is this a role that museums should embrace?
  • How are museums addressing human and social needs through their programmes, services and operations?
  • What kind of training and staff will be required to sustain this effort?
  • What benefits derive from the social role of museums and how do we measure success?
  • How do we identify the social problems that we have the capacity to help solve? What strategies should we employ?
  • How will we communicate the valuable role we play globally in addressing social issues?
For more information

Publication: General Report of ICOM’s 23rd General Conference

Published by ICOM and ICOM Brazil, this 26-page report on ICOM’s 2013 General Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil gives an overview of many different aspects of the event, from its organisation, financing, and grants system to its various sessions organised by International Committees, book launches, and media exposure. The conference, held from 10-17 August, 2013, focused on the theme Museums (Memory + Creativity) = Social change and was attended by nearly 2,000 participants from more than 100 countries and from all continents, 700 of which were from Brazil. The publication can be accessed through ICOM’s website in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

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