The International Council of Museums (ICOM) is the only international organisation representing museums and museum professionals.
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April 2015

ICOM gets ready for the celebration of the International Museum Day 2015!

Many celebrations will welcome the season change during this “beautiful month of May” 2015. Amongst these is International Museum Day – an event long-awaited by the World Museum Community. Around 18 May, the World Museum Community will thrive on the excitement around the celebration of the 38th anniversary of a federative and universal event, International Museum Day (IMD). Indeed, the same ritual is been renewed since 1977, when ICOM established this particular celebration – the occasion for thousands of participating museums to organise events and activities around a common theme and to commit themselves to their visitors and highlight the valuable role played by museums as institutions that serve society and its development. Traditionally, it has always been celebrated on 18 May. Yet, only the organisers decide the duration of the celebrations: one hour, one night or an entire week – everyone can customize this moment of grace that puts museums in the spotlight. In 2014, more than 35,000 museums participated in the event in 145 countries, on the 5 continents. In 2015, the theme "Museums for a sustainable society" comes as a good omen, as a statement of faith on the sustainability that museums – the guardians of ancient history – wish to convey by keeping cultures alive through the ages.

To improve the visibility of these meetings and exchanges, ICOM starts this year with new means of communication such as an interactive map that has been created in addition to the typical poster and the banner:

All the National Committees and participant museums are invited to enrich it so as to contribute to the visibility and success of this major event for all the museums of the world.

ICOM & UNESCO united to safeguard Iraqi and Syria cultural heritage

On April 1st, ICOM, along with other key partners of UNESCO in the protection of UNESCO cultural heritage, was invited to the High Level Meeting on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2199 and the Safeguarding of Iraqi and Syrian Cultural Heritage, which was held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.

The specific objective of this meeting was to map out the effective implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2199, adopted on 12 February 2015. This Resolution explicitly acknowledges that illicit trafficking also contributes to the financing of terrorism and prohibits cross-border trade in Iraqi and Syrian cultural property illegally removed from Iraq since 6 August 1990 and from Syria since 15 March 2011 In his speech, . ICOM President, Prof. Dr. Hans-Martin Hinz, reasserted the key role played by ICOM since 2003, observing that “[ICOM] remained alert in combating illegal trade in cultural objects through publication of 15 red lists in 15 years and developed new mechanisms for research, data gathering & cooperation through the creation of the ICOM Observatory on the Traffic of Cultural Goods. […] ICOM stands ready to support UNESCO & others in tackling the urgent issue of the safeguarding of the Iraqi & Syrian cultural heritage at risk. We will continue to be proactive in preventing any further traffic of objects.“

Prof. Dr. Hinz thus announced the publication of a Turkish version of the Emergency Red List of Syrian Cultural Objects at Risk in 2015, along with the update of Emergency Red List of Iraqi Antiquities at Risk to respond to the looting of the Mosul Museum, and the creation of an Emergency Red List for Libya that will be available later this year. It is through these concrete programmes and diverse actions, which were applauded by UNESCO and other partners during the meeting, that ICOM shows its commitment in tackling the urgent issue of the safeguarding of Iraqi and Syrian cultural heritage at risk.

The meeting recalled the need to protect heritage and to coordinate the efforts of the international community. As such, it is most welcome at a time when deliberate destructions of cultural heritage and the looting of cultural property in countries affected by armed conflicts are worse than ever.

Photo: ICOM President, Prof. Dr. Hans-Martin Hinz and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova

The first Polish Congress for museum professionals

ICOM Poland together with the Polish Association of Museum Professionals and the Polish Association of Open Air Museums, supported by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, has organised the first Congress of Museum Professionals in Łódź, Poland, from 23 to 25 April 2015.

Attended by 1200 museum professionals, the Congress focused on questions such as “Museums in the cultural, social and economic policy of local governments” or “Museum objects – between a crisis and the need for authenticity. Discovering the context”.

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A new annual conference season waits ahead for ICOM!

April brings the highly anticipated parade of gatherings and meetings within the ICOM community, which remind us of the density and depth of the bond between museum professionals around the world for common themes.

In 2015, ICOM US will open the season of annual meetings of the National Committees with a meeting in Atlanta (USA) which is to take place from 26 to 29 April 2015. It will revolve around the theme "the social value of museums: inspiring change". ICOM Director General will participate in the board meeting, to reflect on the actions to be developed within the network, such as training sessions and ICOM red lists. As every year, the Annual Meeting of the American Alliance of Museums will be held simultaneously and some of our colleagues will participate.

A few days later, UMAC, the International Committee for University Museums and Collections, will meet in Santo Tomas University in Manila (Philippines) around the theme "Rethinking University Museums: Bridging theory and practice" and tackle issues such as the educational and environmental responsibility of museums. The University Museum of Santo Tomas will host the meeting from the 11th to the 14th of May and is indeed one of the first institutional members of the international committee. Back in Europe, ICOM France organises the 3rd edition of the Study Days for Ethics and the General Assembly that will take place in MuCEM, Marseilles focusing on 'The mobility of collections: taking risks in order to exist?" from 28 to 29 May, 2015. These days will include tours of the museum' storage and various round tables.

Simultaneously, ICFA (ICOM International Committee for Museums and Collections of Fine Arts) will discuss the entrance of Fine Arts museums in the digital age in Lausanne, Switzerland. This will take place at the Palais de Rumine, a historical building housing five of the most important museums in the city, mainly the Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts and the Musée Cantonal de zoologie.

Call for Papers for Museum International

A final reminder to send your abstracts for Museum International on the theme of Museums, heritage and capacity building by 30 April.

Please send your proposal, or any queries on the submission process, to Aedín Mac Devitt (

For more information:

ICOM News: Call for Papers

The July 2015 issue will focus on Museum architecture for its Special Report, Curation techniques for the Case Study section and Museums for a sustainable society for its Focus section theme.

Those who wish to contribute to the review on one of the topics outlined above are invited to send an abstract of 200 to 300 words in English, French or Spanish, to before the 15th of May 2015.

Hits of the month

Check out the most popular Facebook and Twitter posts of the month and the most read articles from our Scoop it press review!

Yesterday, ICOM was at UNESCO High Level Meeting on implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2199 & the...

Posted by ICOM - International Council of Museums on 2 april 2015
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