The International Council of Museums (ICOM) is the only international organisation representing museums and museum professionals.
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E-newsletter April 2016

ICOM joins chorus of voices against illicit trafficking at UNESCO event

On 30 March 2016 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, a round table entitled The movement of cultural property in 2016 was held jointly with the Council of Voluntary Sales (CVV), the French auction regulatory authority, in the company of ICOM Director General Anne-Catherine Robert-Hauglustaine. Subtitled Regulation, international cooperation and diligence of professionals for cultural heritage protection, the event focused on the art market’s key role in fighting illicit traffic in cultural property.

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International Museum Day just around the corner!

In just a couple of weeks, museums and museum visitors worldwide will celebrate International Museum Day (IMD) in its 39th rendition! Founded in 1977 by ICOM as an inclusive and participatory event to highlight the importance of museums as institutions serving society and its development, IMD is traditionally celebrated on or around 18 May, devoted to a different theme every year.

This year’s theme, “Museums and Cultural Landscapes”, is also that of the ICOM General Conference being held in Milan in two months’ time. The theme presents a broad vision of museums as accountable for their landscapes, veritable wells of knowledge and expertise, and actors in the management and upkeep of these surroundings. In carrying out the corresponding mission of caring for the heritage, cultural and natural, both within and beyond their walls (and not strictly limited to their collections), museums seek to heighten the awareness of local residents and visitors on their core values, empowering communities through involvement in efforts for the conservation, promotion and enhancement of heritage.

In 2015, 35,000+ museums in some 145 countries participated in IMD! To keep up with activities planned for IMD 2016, ICOM has created an interactive map. We invite all National Committees and participating museums to register and add your activities in the coming days, to contribute to the visibility and success of this annual highlight on the global museum calendar!

For some hands-on fun leading up to IMD 2016, how about a colouring session? Break out your coloured pencils on this year's official postcard and share your talents on social media! Download, print, colour and share on Facebook and Twitter by visiting:

Last but not least, we’d like to highlight the IMD 2016 initiatives of our German and Swiss colleagues, who are holding their celebrations on Sunday, 22 May this year!

ICOM Germany has a fully devoted IMD website with an exhaustive searchable database of activities enriched by participating institutions, in a country that counts some 6,500 museums: ICOM Switzerland has launched its own branding campaign for the event with downloadable graphic elements on its website, alongside extensive information and a searchable programme via interactive map, featuring the country's 1,000+ museums:

We wish you all a happy International Museum Day, and will be back next month with some highlights!

Original viewpoints, relevant information: find the section dedicated to the 24th ICOM General Conference every month here in your e-newsletter.

New visual identity for ICOM

On 6 July, during the 24th ICOM General Conference in Milan, the organisation’s new visual identity will be presented. This redesign initiative began in 2014 as part of the celebration of ICOM’s 70th anniversary as well as launch of the new strategic plan for the 2016-2019 period. The current visual identity was created in 1994, and its transformation accompanies the change in scale of an organisation that has tripled in size over the past decade, climbing from 12,000 members in 1996 to 36,000 in 2016.

Created in the aftermath of World War II, ICOM has continually developed over its 70 years of existence. In 1946, Chauncey J. Hamlin, then-director of the Buffalo Museum of Science, brought together a small group of professionals to get involved in “better international cooperation among museums”. With a network spread across 136 countries and territories and 149 committees, ICOM has since established itself as a standard-bearer organisation for the museum community worldwide.

Hand in hand with its transformations and new aspirations, ICOM has updated its image a number of times. To help you bear with the wait until 6 July 2016, over the next couple of months, we invite to discover the history of ICOM’s different visual identities.

The saga of ICOM’s logos!

Today we set off for the first leg of our time travels. Fasten your seatbelts – we’re heading back 70 years…

The year is 1946, during the post-war period characterised notably by the creation of the UN and UNESCO, two institutions founded with the shared will to establish durable peace among States. These same values of sharing and diversity drove the participants who gathered together at the Louvre from 16 to 20 November 1946 for ICOM’s constituent assembly. Representatives from 14 nations – Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and US – settled on ICOM’s very first visual identity. Strongly influenced by the UN’s model, this circular logo featured the image of a map of the world in polar projection. The acronym “ICOM” was set within the circular design, with emphasis on the two letters “CO”, forming the abbreviation for community in the centre. Particular importance was placed on the notion of rallying together at the time. This image highlights ICOM’s original – and current – role of uniting museum professionals from across the globe around the shared objectives of preservation, conservation and transmission of cultural objects. This visual identity was used by ICOM until 1966.

As during this defining moment, the new visual identity to be presented on 6 July 2016 in Milan will emphasise ICOM’s fundamental values of community and universality.

Make the most of Milan!

The 24th ICOM General Conference will be here before we know it! For those of you joining us in Milan from 3 to 9 July 2016, you now have access to the online detailed programme in English, providing information on all sessions and meetings being organised by ICOM's International Committees, National Committees, Regional Alliances and Affiliated Organisations. Further information on speakers and moderators will be filled in over the coming weeks and months leading up to the General Conference.

To find your way through a jam-packed programme and make the most of each and every day, you can filter by session type, date, title and more, as you see fit, and note all of your unmissable events!

We take this opportunity to focus on the rich and varied conferences being organised by the International Committees. To highlight just a few in a programme chock full of highlights: Monday, 4 July will see CIMUSET contemplate the question of “Contemporary heritage: Shaping the landscape of future memory” and UMAC address the topic of “Connected landscapes”; the following day, ICOMAN and IC MEMO will hold a joint session on “The ethical and educational issues of dark tourism”, while AVICOM will consider issues related to “Technological cultural landscapes”; and on 6 July, CAMOC and ICR will host a joint session on “Museums and landscape communities”, while ICME will address “Borderlands and bridges: Art and identity”. Stimulating encounters and fruitful discussions are promised!

And don´t forget to save a bit of energy for the numerous social events: the opening party on 4 July at the Sforza Castle, the closing ceremony and party on 9 July in La Triennale, and the assorted events planned for the evenings of 5 and 6 July in 40+ museums and other beautiful Milan destinations, including the Duomo! There is no need to register for these events, but they may have limited capacity. Closer to the General Conference, full details will be available on the website.

Last but not least, we invite you to visit the webpage devoted to Excursion Day: several options are already online and more are to be added. In a few weeks, all registered participants will receive a link for the online booking of one of the proposed excursions. Stay tuned!

Find the detailed programme here:
Register now for ICOM Milano 2016:
For further details on the General Conference programme:

ICOM News on the move

ICOM News is transitioning to a new digital format. Stay tuned for details on the launch of the new online platform in the coming months!

In the meantime, we are featuring ICOM News articles on our website, and every month here in the newsletter. April brings us to Singapore for insight into the technological savvy of the impressive Indian Heritage Centre, which opened its doors in May 2015.

If you wish to get involved as a contributor now or down the line, please contact Sara Heft:

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