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

Yet another successful worldwide edition of International Museum Day on its 39th anniversary
Celebrations this year focused on “Museums and cultural landscapes”

This year, the worldwide community of museums celebrated International Museum Day (IMD) on and around May 18, resulting in a unique and successful celebration of museums around the world – a moment for museums to celebrate the essence of their being with their visitors. Most museums around the world celebrate with activities, events and free entry for a day, a night or a weekend.

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MuseumNext 2016: Dialoguing in Dublin

Access, inclusion, collaboration and empowerment were the themes that prevailed at this year’s MuseumNext conference, held in Dublin between 18 and 20 April.

The event’s characteristic mix of interactive workshops, keynotes, conversations and panel discussions provided inspiration for museums juggling the challenges of attracting new visitors, involving communities, ensuring staff motivation, and staying afloat financially.

Day one kicked off with simultaneous tours, panels and workshops in various locations in Ireland’s capital. The historic centenary events in the city’s cultural institutions provided an inspirational backdrop for museums organising similar commemorative experiences in their own spaces. Lar Joye of the National Museum of Ireland and Louise Lowe from ANU Productions discussed their award-winning collaboration on “Pals: the Irish at Gallipoli”, as well as a new project, SUNDER, which propels audiences though the final hours of the 1916 Rising based on eyewitness accounts.

Day two’s Attracting All Ages panel looked at the myths behind three elusive visitor groups: older adults, children and millennials. Francesca Rosenberg, Director of Community, Access and School Programs at MOMA, discussed Prime Time – a programme designed to increase the attendance of older adults and cater to their increasingly diverse and learned profiles. Susan Evans McClure of the National Museum of American History dispelled the myths about how to reach millennials, who actually value real experiences and authenticity as much as their older counterparts, she says. Meanwhile, former journalist Dea Birkett spoke of how she transformed her own experience of being expelled from a museum with her “boisterous” children into a new initiative – Takeover Day – which gives children a structured role in the museum, ultimately changing their perception of cultural institutions.

Keynotes were given by Marian Goodell, CEO of the Burning Man Organization, a global movement to inspire culture around the world and a model of public and community engagement, and Michael Gorman, on his last day as CEO of Science Gallery International. Gorman shared his experience of building a global network of science galleries in Dublin, London, Bengaluru, Melbourne and beyond, through collaboration with local universities and companies.

In conversation with Jasper Visser, David Fleming spoke of National Museums Liverpool’s mission, “To be the world’s leading example of an inclusive museum service”, and cited the Museum for International Democracy in Argentina as an innovative model of inclusion.

So, can museums change lives, and if so, how? “Museums need to build a rapport with their audience,” says Fleming. “They should be there for people who have been short changed by the education system, and expose them to new ways of thinking. That’s how museums can have an impact on people.”

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

The saga of ICOM’s logos!

Hand in hand with its transformations and new aspirations, ICOM has updated its image a number of times over the years. Just a few weeks from the unveiling of its new logo on 6 July 2016, we invite you to discover the history of ICOM’s different visual identities.

Today we set off on the longest leg of our time travels!
Let’s go back to 1966. ICOM was celebrating its 20th anniversary and the successful launch of the second International Museum Campaign. On this occasion, the organisation made itself over, adopting a new logo.

The acronym was placed under the outline of an eye featuring a globe as its pupil. The precision and minimalism of the design clearly reflected the geopolitical context of the Cold War. In an era of divisions, ICOM continued to promote the cause of a global museum community united within a strong, neutral and universal institution.

In 1972, ICOM adopted a new variation on the identity unveiled in 1966. In this new version, the eye lost its monumentality and was incorporated into the acronym ICOM, graphically replacing the letter “O”. The colour blue was abandoned in favour of black and white. This third identity was used until 1995, and is thus the logo used to represent ICOM’s identity for the longest period.

The new identity developed for ICOM also proposes a graphic element to replace one of the letters in the acronym ICOM. The simplicity of the 1966 and 1972 logos is also preserved in order to best embody ICOM’s fundamental role: serving museums.

Photo: 11th ICOM General Conference, Moscow, 1977

The talk of Milan!

The 24th ICOM General Conference is just around the corner! The online detailed programme is being constantly updated and enriched to help you navigate through a week chock full of activities, and this month, we’d like to spotlight some of the encounters at the heart of the General Conference, from 3 to 9 July in Milan.

We are delighted to welcome five keynote speakers, artists, thinkers and doers renowned the world over, each distinguished in their very different lines of work and sharing a commitment to the ideals of ICOM. The Opening Ceremony on the morning of Monday, 4 July will include speeches by Orhan Pamuk, Nobel Prize-winning Turkish novelist, and Christo, artist famous for his environmental interventions, carried out with his late partner Jeanne-Claude (1935-2009). The Plenary Session the following morning, 5 July, will feature keynote speeches by Michele De Lucchi, Italian architect prominent in movements including Cavart, Alchimia and Memphis, and Zambian Minister of Gender and Development Nkandu Luo. And finally, the morning of Wednesday, 6 July will see a keynote speech by David Throsby, Australian cultural economist at Macquarie University in Sydney.

The afternoon of Tuesday, 5 July will feature another event of vital interest for the ICOM community: the ICOM Memorial Lectures, which were launched at the 2007 General Conference in Vienna. Sponsored jointly by ICOM Austria and the International Committees for Education and Cultural Action (CECA), for the Training of Personnel (ICTOP), for Exhibition Exchange (ICEE) and for Museum Management (INTERCOM), the 2016 edition of this series features interdisciplinary talks on current issues and future developments in our field. Bernice Murphy will give the Jubilee Lecture for ICOM’s 70th anniversary, entitled “ICOM 70 years on: An ethical vision of nature, culture, heritage, and museums’ continuing social mission”; René Rivard will give the Fourth Alma S. Wittlin Memorial Lecture, devoted to “Museums and changing cultural landscapes”; and Cristina Vannini will give the Eleventh Stephen E. Weil Memorial Lecture, on “Revisiting Weil’s cabinet of curiosity”.

Finally, three different Panel Discussions are to be held as well – two on the afternoon of Tuesday, 5 July, and one on the following morning immediately after the keynote speech. The first is devoted to museum efforts to counter illicit traffic in cultural goods, featuring Eric Dorfman, Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany and Markus Hilgert. The second will address the new UNESCO Recommendation on the Protection and Promotion of Museums and Collections, their Diversity and their Role in Society, with the participation of Anna Coliva, François Mairesse and Tereza Scheiner. The final discussion will be devoted to the social role of museums, featuring David Fleming, Robin Hirst, Marlen Mouliou and Giusi Nicolini.

Be sure to mark them down on your General Conference agenda!

To make the most of Milan, you can now register online for Excursion Day, Social Events, Pre- and Post-Conference Tours!
Register now for ICOM Milano 2016:
For further details on the General Conference programme:

Arrivederci a Milano!

Inaugural winner of UMAC Award announced

UMAC, the ICOM International Committee for University Museums and Collections, has announced the winner of its UMAC Award 2016, the inaugural edition of this annual competition. The National University of Singapore Museum was selected out of ten proposals for its project, “Prep room: Things that may or may not happen”. The UMAC Board and selection committee salute the museum’s understanding of the basic principle of creating ties with audiences, its creative approach to discussion between researchers, interns, artists and the public, and the ease with which the idea can be adapted to other museums. The University of Manchester came in a close second for “The Study at Manchester Museum”, and the other eight candidates all demonstrated innovation and dedication as well. The call for entries for 2017 will be announced in December 2016.

Photo: UMAC Chair Hugues Dreyssé with Peter Yu Pang, Associate Provost for Student Life at the National University of Singapore

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. May brings us to the Museu Internacional de Arte Naïf do Brasil in Rio de Janeiro, which recently used an innovative and highly successful approach to restore its façade.

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

Photo: The freshly-restored MIAN façade © Museu Internacional de Arte Naïf do Brasil

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