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E-newsletter June 2015

Lake Constance meetings: a successful 2015 edition

The traditional Lake Constance meetings between the German, Austrian and Swiss ICOM National Committees, a triennial symposium, was held this year from 18 to 20 June, 2015 in St Gallen, Switzerland.

In his welcome speech, ICOM President Prof. Dr Hans-Martin Hinz congratulated the three National Committees for their help to local political authorities, especially with the implementation of international conventions and legal regulations for the protection of cultural assets. He then gave a report on ICOM’s activities, and spoke about the successful partnership between ICOM and UNESCO that led to the Recommendation concerning the Protection and Promotion of Museums, their Diversity and their Role in Society, to be adopted in November 2015 at the UNESCO General Conference.

Prof. Dr Hinz also participated in discussions focused on the topic: "Museums for All: Imperative or Illusion?”

Indeed, one of the main missions of museums is to reach all types of publics, striving to break down the barriers that hinder access to museums for certain populations. Encompassing the political, educational and social role of museums, the conference had a critical perspective on current practices, with the aim of learning from the successes and failures of the participants’ activities in their respective museums.

Since the early 1970s, the three committees have been working across borders and promoting the international role of ICOM in this scenic setting.

ICOM brings its support to Nepalese museums

The devastating earthquake that struck Nepal on 25 April, 2015 was followed by a second major earthquake on 12 May, which caused heavy casualties and damaged many World Heritage sites.

In the Kathmandu valley, more than 30 monuments – temples and museums alike – were destroyed and 120 suffered severe damage.

Following the catastrophe, ICOM and the Smithsonian Institution, under the guidance of ICCROM and ICOMOS, joined forces to carry out two missions. The objective was to respond to the request from Nepalese authorities hand in hand with UNESCO to provide assistance for the preservation of the country's cultural heritage.

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In June, ICOM enhances its institutional memory

In recent weeks, the General Secretariat in Paris undertook a mission of utmost value for an international organisation celebrating its 70th anniversary next year: the processing and enhancement of its archives.

The story began in July 2014 with an audit by the Mission of the Archives of the French Ministry of Culture and Communication. The aims were clear: to assess the status and type of archives held by ICOM for several decades, and transfer the totality to the National Archives of France. For the time being, almost 70 years of history lie on shelves: General Conferences reports, the letters and mail of previous generations of the General Secretariat, and of course, documents of the National and International Committees.

Photographs, video recordings and assorted posters have also been stored in our offices since 1946. This written oral and visual memory of ICOM is a true testimony to evolutions in the world of museums, since the international community has recognised the need to protect and enhance the heritage of humanity. Thus, over a month ago, ICOM welcomed the young archivist Benjamin Paradis, who will carry out this six-month mission. With a passion for history, he does not hide his pleasure in discovering, amidst dusty sheets, some notes from Georges-Henri Rivière, a famous member of ICOM and one of the founders of modern museology. The mission also has an educational component: in addition to the archives’ enhancement, Benjamin must implement an archiving policy for the Secretariat, and teach ICOM’s departments how to rationally classify their documents in the future. Indeed, ICOM’s mission, as a leader in heritage protection around the world, first starts in its own offices!

“Portable Museums” / Musées (em)portable Festival: ICOM Creates a New Award, Museums for All

For the first time in 2016, ICOM will participate in the “Portable Museum” (Musées (em)portables) Festival, with the creation of the ICOM Museums for All award. The prize will reward footages staging the relation to museums that “non-traditional” audiences have – socially marginalized groups, disabled people, immigrants, rural inhabitants, etc. The footages will present a sensitive and original take on the theme. The inauguration of the ICOM Museums for All Prize is part of ICOM’s effort to make museums appealing to all publics. The competition is open to individual or group participants. The selected footage will be broadcasted widely through the international channels of ICOM.

To register, please visit, click on the “Register” (“S’inscrire”) button to download the registration form.

The festival will be open on the date of its official launch, 1 July, 2015. The deadline to send your footage is 1 December, 2015 (date as per postmark).

The Jury of the Festival will include ICOM Director General, Anne-Catherine Robert-Hauglustaine and proceed with the final selection. All footages short-listed by the jury will be screened during Sitem from 12 to 14 January 2016 at the Docks, in the Cité de la Mode et du Design, in Paris, France. The award ceremony will be hosted in the same venue on January 13, 12:00pm.

The International Council of Museums will give out an overall sum of €2,000 as follows: €1,000 for the selected footage and €500 euro for the following two.

ICOM Annual Meetings: Three days full of encounters and discussions for museum professionals

The month of June has brought the ICOM Annual Meetings, once again. Over three days (from 1 to 3 June, 2015), museum professionals from around the world gathered in Paris to share their thoughts and approaches regarding the multitude of issues that museums are facing today.

This year, participants had the pleasure of listening to French neurobiologist Jean-Pierre Changeux, of the Institut Pasteur and Collège de France. Changeux has worked alongside museums for a number of years, as a supporter of the arts and through his research and publications on art and the brain. He opened the meetings on Monday, 1 June with a keynote speech entitled Beauty in the Brain: The Neuroscience of Artistic Creation.

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Publications update: Museum International

The Call for Papers for Vol. 68 No. 269-270 of Museum International, entitled The Role of Museums in a Changing Society, is now available. Please send your proposals to by 31 July at the latest.

Thank you to those who sent in abstracts for the forthcoming issue (Vol. 67 No 267-268) entitled Museums, Heritage and Capacity Building. A selection has been made and the issue will be published in March 2016.

Publishing activity will carry on through the year, as another Call for Papers will be issued by early July, inviting contributions for Vol. 68 No 271-272, which will be dedicated to the ICOM Milan 2016 General Conference theme, Museums and Cultural Landscapes.

Finally, it is our pleasure to inform you that ICOM members will continue to enjoy free online access to the Museum International current and archive issues until early 2016 through your ICOMMUNITY page. This includes access to the latest issue, Museum Collections Make Connections, and to the two subsequent issues (entitled Key Ideas in Museums and Heritage and Museums Managing the Tensions of Change) due to be published in October 2015 and January 2016 respectively.

The magazine ICOM News has a circulation of over 36,000 print copies in three languages (English, French and Spanish). It is now possible to advertise in one language (back cover, inside front and back covers) or in all three language (inside).

Interested in advertising? Contact France Edition, Paul Van Win: / +33 4 68 66 94 75

Hits of the month

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An overview of the ICOM annual meetings 2015 in picture : over three days (from 1 to 3 June, 2015), museum professionals...

Posted by ICOM - International Council of Museums on Monday 15 june 2015
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