Table of Contents
Museums preserve, interpret and promote aspects of the natural
and cultural inheritance of humanity
Museums that maintain collections hold them in trust for the
benefit of society and its development
Care of collections
Museums hold primary evidence for establishing and furthering
Museum collecting & research
Museums provide opportunities for the appreciation, enjoyment,
understanding and management of the natural and cultural heritage
Museum hold resources that provide opportunities for other public services
Display and exhibition
Museums work in close collaboration with the communities from
which their collections originate as well as those they serve
Origin of collections
Respect for communities served
Museums operate in a legal manner
Museums operate in a professional manner
Conflicts of interest
edition of the ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums is the
culmination of six years' revision. Following a thorough review
of the ICOM's Code in the light of contemporary museum
practice, a revised version, structured on the earlier edition,
was issued in 2001. As envisaged at that time, this has now
been completely reformatted to give it the look and feel of
the museum profession and is based on key principles of professional
practice, elaborated to provide general ethical guidance.
The Code has been the subject of three periods of consultation
with the membership. It was approved at the 21st
General Assembly of ICOM, Seoul in 2004 with acclamation.
whole ethos of the document continues to be that of service
to society, the community, the public and its various constituencies,
and the professionalism of museum practitioners. While there
is a changed emphasis throughout the document resulting from
the new structure, the accentuation of key points and the
use of shorter paragraphs, very little is totally new. The
new features will be found in paragraph 2.11
and the principles outlined in sections 3,
Code of Ethics for Museums provides a means of professional
self-regulation in a key area of public provision where legislation
at a national level is variable and far from consistent. It
sets minimum standards of conduct and performance to which
museum professional staff throughout the world may reasonably
aspire as well as a providing a statement of reasonable public
expectation from the museum profession.
issued its Ethics
of Acquisition in 1970 and a full Code
of Professional Ethics in 1986. The present edition -
and its interim document of 2001 - owe much to that early
work. The major work of revision and restructuring, however,
fell on the members of the Ethics Committee. Their
contribution in meetings - both actual and electronic - and
their determination to meet both target and schedule is gratefully
acknowledged. Their names are listed for reference.
completed our mandate, we pass responsibility for the Code to a largely
new committee membership, headed by Bernice Murphy, who brings to the
work all the knowledge and experience of a past Vice-President of ICOM
and a previous member of the Ethics Committee.
its precursors, the present Code provides a global
minimum standard on which national and specialist groups can
build to meet their particular requirements. ICOM encourages
the development of national and specialist codes of ethics
to meet particular needs and will be pleased to receive copies
of these. They should be sent to the Secretary-General of
ICOM, Maison de l'UNESCO, 1 rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex
Chair, ICOM Ethics Committee (1997 - 2004)
President of ICOM (1983-1989)
Ethics Committee for the period 2001-2004
Geoffrey Lewis (UK)
Members: Gary Edson (USA); Per Kåks (Sweden); Byung-mo
Kim (Rep. of Korea); Pascal Makambila (Congo) - from 2002;
Jean-Yves Marin (France); Bernice Murphy (Australia) to 2002;
Tereza Scheiner (Brazil); Shaje'a Tshiluila (Democratic Rep.
of Congo); Michel Van-Praët (France).
issues that require the attention and/or consideration of the ICOM
Ethics Committee may be addressed to its Chair by e-mail: email@example.com.
of the ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums
The ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums has been prepared by the International Council of Museums. It is the statement of ethics for museums referred to in the ICOM Statutes.
The Code reflects principles generally accepted by the international
museum community. Membership in ICOM and the payment of the annual
subscription to ICOM are an affirmation of the ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums.
Minimum Standard for Museums
The ICOM Code represents a minimum standard for museums. It is
presented as a series of principles supported by guidelines for
desirable professional practice. In some countries, certain minimum
standards are defined by law or government regulation. In others,
guidance on and assessment of minimum professional standards may be
available in the form of ’Accreditation’, ’Registration’, or similar
evaluative schemes. Where such standards are not defined, guidance can
be obtained through the ICOM Secretariat, a relevant National Committee
of ICOM, or the appropriate International Committee of ICOM. It is also
intended that individual nations and the specialised subject
organisations connected with museums should use this Code as a basis
for developing additional standards. .
of the ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums
The ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums
is published in the three official languages of the organisation:
English, French and Spanish. ICOM welcomes the translation of the Code
into other languages. However, a translation will be regarded as
“official” only if it is endorsed by at least one National Committee of
a country in which the language is spoken, normally as the first
language. Where the language is spoken in more than one country, it is
preferable that the National Committees of these countries also be
consulted. Attention is drawn to the need for linguistic as well as
professional museum expertise in providing official translations. The
language version used for a translation and the names of the National
Committees involved should be indicated. These conditions do not
restrict translations of the Code, or parts of it, for use in
educational work or for study purposes. .
Museums preserve, interpret and promote the natural and cultural
inheritance of humanity
are responsible for the tangible and intangible natural and cultural
heritage. Governing bodies and those concerned with the strategic
direction and oversight of museums have a primary responsibility to
protect and promote this heritage as well as the human, physical and
financial resources made available for that purpose.
1.1 Enabling documentation
The governing body should ensure that the museum has a written
and published constitution, statute or other public document,
in accordance with national laws which clearly states the
museum's legal status, mission, permanence, and non-profit
Statement of the Mission, Objectives, and Policies
The governing body should prepare, publicise and be guided
by a statement of the mission, objectives, and policies of
the museum and of the role and composition of the governing
The governing body should ensure adequate premises with a
suitable environment for the museum to fulfil the basic functions
defined in its mission.
The governing body should ensure that the museum and its collections
are available to all during reasonable hours and for regular
periods. Particular regard should be given to those persons
with special needs.
Health and Safety
The governing body should ensure that institutional standards
of health, safety, and accessibility apply to its personnel
Protection Against Disasters
The governing body should develop and maintain policies to
protect the public and personnel, the collections and other
resources, against natural and human-made disasters.
The governing body should ensure appropriate security to protect
collections against theft or damage in displays, exhibitions,
working or storage areas, and while in transit.
Insurance and Indemnity
Where commercial insurance is used for collections, the governing
body should ensure that such cover is adequate and includes
objects in transit or on loan and other items that are the
responsibility of the museum. When an indemnity scheme is
in use, it is necessary that material not in the ownership
of the museum is adequately covered.
The governing body should ensure that there are sufficient
funds to carry out and develop the activities of the museum.
All funds must be accounted for in a professional manner.
The governing body should have a written policy regarding
sources of income that it may generate through its activities
or accept from outside sources. Regardless of funding source,
museums should maintain control of the content and integrity
of their programmes, exhibitions and activities. Income-generating
activities should not compromise the standards of the institution
or its public (See
The governing body should ensure that all action concerning
personnel is taken in accordance with the policies of the
museum as well as the proper and legal procedures.
Appointment of the Director or Head
The director or head of the museum is a key post and when
making an appointment, governing bodies should have regard
for the knowledge and skills required to fill the post effectively.
These qualities should include adequate intellectual ability
and professional knowledge, complemented by a high standard
of ethical conduct.
1.13 Access to Governing Bodies
The director or head of a museum should be directly responsible,
and have direct access, to the relevant governing bodies.
Competence of Museum Personnel
The employment of qualified personnel with the expertise required
to meet all responsibilities is necessary. (See also 2.18;
Training of Personnel
Adequate opportunities for the continuing education and professional
development of all museum personnel should be arranged to
maintain an effective workforce.
1.16 Ethical Conflict
The governing body should never require museum personnel to
act in a way that could be considered to conflict with the
provisions of this Code of Ethics, or any national
law or specialist code of ethics.
Museum Personnel and Volunteers
The governing body should have a written policy on volunteer
work which promotes a positive relationship between volunteers
and members of the museum profession.
Volunteers and Ethics
The governing body should ensure that volunteers, when conducting
museum and personal activities, are fully conversant with
the ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums and other applicable codes
2. Museums that maintain collections hold them in trust for
the benefit of society and its development.
Museums have the duty to acquire, preserve and promote
their collections as a contribution to safeguarding the natural,
cultural and scientific heritage. Their collections are a
significant public inheritance, have a special position in
law and are protected by international legislation. Inherent
in this public trust is the notion of stewardship that includes
rightful ownership, permanence, documentation, accessibility
and responsible disposal.
The governing body for each museum should adopt and publish
a written collections policy that addresses the acquisition,
care and use of collections. The policy should clarify the
position of any material that will not be catalogued, conserved,
or exhibited (See
No object or specimen should be acquired by purchase, gift,
loan, bequest, or exchange unless the acquiring museum is
satisfied that a valid title is held. Evidence of lawful ownership
in a country is not necessarily valid title.
Provenance and Due Diligence
Every effort must be made before acquisition to ensure that
any object or specimen offered for purchase, gift, loan, bequest,
or exchange has not been illegally obtained in or exported
from, its country of origin or any intermediate country in
which it might have been owned legally (including the museum's
own country). Due diligence in this regard should establish
the full history of the item from discovery or production.
Objects and Specimens from Unauthorised or Unscientific Fieldwork
Museums should not acquire objects where there is reasonable
cause to believe their recovery involved the unauthorised,
unscientific, or intentional destruction or damage of monuments,
archaeological or geological sites, or species and natural
habitats. In the same way, acquisition should not occur if
there has been a failure to disclose the finds to the owner
or occupier of the land, or to the proper legal or governmental
Culturally Sensitive Material
Collections of human remains and material of sacred significance
should be acquired only if they can be housed securely and
cared for respectfully. This must be accomplished in a manner
consistent with professional standards and the interests and
beliefs of members of the community, ethnic or religious groups
from which the objects originated, where these are known (See
also 3.7; 4.3).
Protected Biological or Geological Specimens
Museums should not acquire biological or geological specimens
that have been collected, sold, or otherwise transferred in
contravention of local, national, regional or international
law or treaty relating to wildlife protection or natural history
When the collections include live botanical and zoological
specimens, special considerations should be made for the natural
and social environment from which they are derived as well
as any local, national, regional or international law, or
treaty relating to wildlife protection or natural history
The collections policy may include special considerations
for certain types of working collection where the emphasis
is on preserving cultural, scientific or technical process
rather than the object, or where objects or specimens are
assembled for regular handling and teaching purposes (See
Acquisition Outside Collections Policy
The acquisition of objects or specimens outside the museum's
stated policy should only be made in exceptional circumstances.
The governing body should consider the professional opinions
available to them, and the views of all interested parties.
Consideration will include the significance of the object
or specimen including its context in the cultural or natural
heritage, and the special interests of other museums collecting
such material. However, even in these circumstances, objects
without a valid title should not be acquired (See
Acquisition by Members of the Governing Body and Museum Personnel
Special care is required in considering any item, either for
sale, as a donation or as a tax-benefit gift, from members
of governing bodies, museum personnel, or the families and
close associates of these persons.
Repositories of Last Resort
Nothing in this Code of Ethics should prevent a museum
from acting as an authorised repository for unprovenanced,
illicitly collected or recovered specimens and objects from
the territory over which it has lawful responsibility.
Legal or Other Powers of Disposal
Where the museum has legal powers permitting disposals, or has acquired
objects subject to conditions of disposal, the legal or other
requirements and procedures must be complied with fully. Where the
original acquisition was subject to mandatory or other restrictions
these conditions must be observed, unless it can be shown clearly that
adherence to such restrictions is impossible or substantially
detrimental to the institution and, if appropriate, relief may be
sought through legal procedures.
Deaccessioning from Museum Collections
The removal of an object or specimen from a museum collection
must only be undertaken with a full understanding of the significance
of the item, its character (whether renewable or non-renewable),
legal standing, and any loss of public trust that might result
from such action.
Responsibility for Deaccessioning
The decision to deaccession should be the responsibility of
the governing body acting in conjunction with the director
of the museum and the curator of the collection concerned.
Special arrangements may apply to working collections (See
Disposal of Objects Removed from the Collections
Each museum should have a policy defining authorised methods
for permanently removing an object from the collections through
donation, transfer, exchange, sale, repatriation, or destruction,
and that allows the transfer of unrestricted title to the
receiving agency. Complete records must be kept of all deaccessioning
decisions, the objects involved, and the disposition of the
object. There will be a strong presumption that a deaccessioned
item should first be offered to another museum.
Income from Disposal of Collections
Museum collections are held in public trust and may not be treated as a
realisable asset. Money or compensation received from the
deaccessioning and disposal of objects and specimens from a museum
collection should be used solely for the benefit of the collection and
usually for acquisitions to that same collection. .
2.17 Purchase of Deaccessioned Collections
Museum personnel, the governing body, or their families or close
associates, should not be permitted to purchase objects that have been
deaccessioned from a collection for which they are responsible.
The museum should establish and apply policies to ensure that its
collections (both permanent and temporary) and associated information,
properly recorded, are available for current use and will be passed on
to future generations in as good and safe a condition as practicable,
having regard to current knowledge and resources.
2.19 Delegation of Collection Responsibility
Professional responsibilities involving the care of the collections
should be assigned to persons with appropriate knowledge and skill or
who are adequately supervised. (See
2.20 Documentation of Collections
Museum collections should be documented according to accepted
professional standards. Such documentation should include a full
identification and description of each item, its associations,
provenance, condition, treatment and present location. Such data should
be kept in a secure environment and be supported by retrieval systems
providing access to the information by the museum personnel and other
Protection Against Disasters
Careful attention should be given to the development of policies to
protect the collections during armed conflict and other human-made or
Security of Collection and Associated Data
The museum should exercise control to avoid disclosing sensitive
personal or related information and other confidential matters when
collection data is made available to the public.
Preventive conservation is an important element of museum policy and
collections care. It is an essential responsibility of members of the
museum profession to create and maintain a protective environment for
the collections in their care, whether in store, on display, or in
Collection Conservation and Restoration
The museum should carefully monitor the condition of collections to
determine when an object or specimen may require
conservation-restoration work and the services of a qualified
conservator-restorer. The principal goal should be the stabilisation of
the object or specimen. All conservation procedures should be
documented and as reversible as possible, and all alterations should be
clearly distinguishable from the original object or specimen.
Welfare of Live Animals
A museum that maintains living animals should assume full
responsibility for their health and well-being. It should prepare and
implement a safety code for the protection of its personnel and
visitors, as well as of the animals, that has been approved by an
expert in the veterinary field. Genetic modification should be clearly
Personal Use of Museum Collections
Museum personnel, the governing body, their families, close associates,
or others should not be permitted to expropriate items from the museum
collections, even temporarily, for any personal use.
Museums hold primary evidence for establishing and furthering
Museums have particular responsibilities to all for the
care, accessibility and interpretation of primary evidence
collected and held in their collections.
Collections as Primary Evidence.
The museum collections policy should indicate clearly the significance
of collections as primary evidence. The policy should not be governed
only by current intellectual trends or present museum usage.
Availability of Collections
Museums have a particular responsibility for making collections and all
relevant information available as freely as possible, having regard to
restraints arising for reasons of confidentiality and security.
COLLECTING & RESEARCH
Museums undertaking field collecting should develop policies consistent
with academic standards and applicable national and international laws
and treaty obligations. Fieldwork should only be undertaken with
respect and consideration for the views of local communities, their
environmental resources and cultural practices as well as efforts to
enhance the cultural and natural heritage.
Exceptional Collecting of Primary Evidence
In exceptional cases an item without provenance may have such an
inherently outstanding contribution to knowledge that it would be in
the public interest to preserve it. The acceptance of such an item into
a museum collection should be the subject of a decision by specialists
in the discipline concerned and without national or international
Research by museum personnel should relate to the museum’s mission and
objectives and conform to established legal, ethical and academic
When destructive analytical techniques are undertaken, a complete
record of the material analysed, the outcome of the analysis and the
resulting research, including publications, should become a part of the
permanent record of the object.
Human Remains and Material of Sacred Significance
Research on human remains and materials of sacred significance must be
accomplished in a manner consistent with professional standards and
take into account the interests and beliefs of the community, ethnic or
religious groups from whom the objects originated, where these are
also 2.5; 4.3).
Retention of Rights to Research Materials
When museum personnel prepare material for presentation or to document
field investigation, there must be clear agreement with the sponsoring
museum regarding all rights to such work.
Members of the museum profession have an obligation to share their
knowledge and experience with colleagues, scholars and students in
relevant fields. They should respect and acknowledge those from whom
they have learned and should pass on such advancements in techniques
and experience that may be of benefit to others.
Co-operation Between Museums & Other Institutions
Museum personnel should acknowledge and endorse the need for
co-operation and consultation between institutions with similar
interests and collecting practices. This is particularly so with
institutes of higher education and certain public utilities where
research may generate important collections for which there is no
Museums provide opportunities for the appreciation, understanding
and promotion of the natural and cultural heritage
Museums have an important duty to develop their educational
role and attract wider audiences from the community, locality,
or group they serve. Interaction with the constituent community
and promotion of their heritage is an integral part of the
educational role of the museum.
Displays, Exhibitions and Special Activities
Displays and temporary exhibitions, physical or electronic, should be
in accordance with the stated mission, policy and purpose of the
museum. They should not compromise either the quality or the proper
care and conservation of the collections.
Interpretation of Exhibits
Museums should ensure that the infor¬mation they present in displays
and exhibitions is well-founded, accurate and gives appropriate
consideration to repre¬sented groups or beliefs.
Exhibition of Sensitive Materials
Human remains and materials of sacred significance must be displayed in
a manner consistent with professional standards and, where known,
taking into account the interests and beliefs of members of the
community, ethnic or religious groups from whom the objects originated.
They must be presented with great tact and respect for the feelings of
human dignity held by all peoples.
Removal from Public Display
Requests for removal from public display of human remains or material
of sacred significance from the originating communities must be
addressed expeditiously with respect and sensitivity. Requests for the
return of such material should be addressed similarly. Museum policies
should clearly define the process for responding to such requests.
Display of Unprovenanced Material
Museums should avoid displaying or otherwise using material of
questionable origin or lacking provenance. They should be aware that
such displays or usage can be seen to condone and contribute to the
illicit trade in cultural property.
Information published by museums, by whatever means, should be
well-founded, accurate and give responsible consideration to the
academic disciplines, societies, or beliefs presented. Museum
publications should not compromise the standards of the institution.
Museums should respect the integrity of the original when replicas,
reproductions, or copies of items in the collection are made. All such
copies should be permanently marked as facsimiles.
Museums hold resources that provide opportunities for other public services and benefits.
Museums utilise a wide variety of specialisms, skills and physical
resources that have a far broader application than in the museum. This
may lead to shared resources or the provision of services as an
extension of the museum’s activities. These should be organised in such
a way that they do not compromise the museum’s stated mission.
Identification of Illegally or Illicitly Acquired Objects
Where museums provide an identification service, they should not act in
any way that could be regarded as benefiting from such activity,
directly or indirectly. The identification and authentication of
objects that are believed or suspected to have been illegally or
illicitly acquired, transferred, imported or exported, should not be
made public until the appropriate authorities have been notified. .
Authentication and Valuation (Appraisal)
Valuations may be made for the purposes of insurance of museum
collections. Opinions on the monetary value of other objects should
only be given on official request from other museums or competent
legal, governmental or other responsible public authorities. However,
when the museum itself may be the beneficiary,
appraisal of an object or specimen must be undertaken independently.
Museums work in close collaboration with the communities from
which their collections originate as well as those they serve
Museum collections reflect the cultural and natural
heritage of the communities from which they have been derived.
As such they have a character beyond that of ordinary property
which may include strong affinities with national, regional,
local, ethnic, religious or political identity. It is important
therefore that museum policy is responsive to this possibility.
Museums should promote the sharing of knowledge, documentation and
collections with museums and cultural organisations in the countries
and communities of origin. The possibility of developing partnerships
with museums in countries or areas that have lost a significant part of
their heritage should be explored.
Return of Cultural Property
Museums should be prepared to initiate dialogues for the return of
cultural property to a country or people of origin. This should be
undertaken in an impartial manner, based on scientific, professional
and humanitarian principles as well as applicable local, national and
international legislation, in preference to action at a governmental or
Restitution of Cultural Property
When a country or people of origin seeks the restitution of an object
or specimen that can be demonstrated to have been exported or otherwise
transferred in violation of the principles of international and
national conventions, and shown to be part of that country’s or
people’s cultural or natural heritage, the museum concerned should, if
legally free to do so, take prompt and responsible steps to co-operate
in its return.
Cultural Objects From an Occupied Country
Museums should abstain from purchasing or acquiring cultural objects
from an occupied territory and respect fully all laws and conventions
that regulate the import, export and transfer of cultural or natural
FOR COMMUNITIES SERVED
Where museum activities involve a contemporary community or its
heritage, acquisitions should only be made based on informed and mutual
consent without exploitation of the owner or informants. Respect for
the wishes of the community involved should be paramount.
Funding of Community Facilities
When seeking funds for activities involving contemporary communities,
their interests should not be compromised. (See
Use of Collections from Contemporary Communities
Museum usage of collections from contemporary communities requires
respect for human dignity and the traditions and cultures that use such
material. Such collections should be used to promote human well-being,
social development, tolerance, and respect by advocating multisocial,
multicultural and multilingual expression.
Supporting Organisations in the Community
Museums should create a favourable environment for community support
(e.g., Friends of Museums and other supporting organisations),
recognise their contribution and promote a harmonious relationship
between the community and museum personnel.
Museums operate in a legal manner
Museums must conform fully to international, regional,
national, or local legislation and treaty obligations. In
addition, the governing body should comply with any legally
binding trusts or conditions relating to any aspect of the
museum, its collections and operations.
7.1 National and Local Legislation.
Museums should conform to all national and local laws and respect the
legislation of other states as they affect their operation.
Museum policy should acknowledge the following international
legislation which is taken as a standard in interpreting the
ICOM Code of Ethics:
Museums operate in a professional manner
Members of the museum profession should observe accepted
standards and laws and uphold the dignity and honour of their
profession. They should safeguard the public against illegal
or unethical professional conduct. Every opportunity should
be used to inform and educate the public about the aims, purposes,
and aspirations of the profession to develop a better public
understanding of the contributions of museums to society.
Familiarity with Relevant Legislation
Every member of the museum profession should be conversant
with relevant international, national and local legislation
and the conditions of their employment. They should avoid
situations that could be construed as improper conduct.
Members of the museum profession have an obligation to follow
the policies and procedures of their employing institution.
However, they may properly object to practices that are perceived
to be damaging to a museum or the profession and matters of
Loyalty to colleagues and to the employing museum is an important
professional responsibility and must be based on allegiance
to fundamental ethical principles applicable to the profession
as a whole. They should comply with the terms of the ICOM
Code of Ethics and be aware of any other codes or policies
relevant to museum work.
Academic and Scientific Responsibilities
Members of the museum profession should promote the investigation,
preservation, and use of information inherent in the collections.
They should, therefore, refrain from any activity or circumstance
that might result in the loss of such academic and scientific
8.5 The Illicit Market
Members of the museum profession should not support the illicit
traffic or market in natural and cultural property, directly
Members of the museum profession must protect confidential
information obtained during their work. In addition, information
about items brought to the museum for identification is confidential
and should not be published or passed to any other institution
or person without specific authorisation from the owner.
Museum and Collection Security
Information about the security of the museum or of private
collections and locations visited during official duties must
be held in strict confidence by museum personnel.
Exception to the Obligation for Confidentiality
Confidentiality is subject to a legal obligation to assist
the police or other proper authorities in investigating possible
stolen, illicitly acquired, or illegally transferred property.
8.9 Personal Independence
While members of a profession are entitled to a measure of
personal independence, they must realise that no private business
or professional interest can be wholly separated from their
Members of the museums profession form working relationships
with numerous other persons within and outside the museum
in which they are employed. They are expected to render their
professional services to others efficiently and to a high
It is a professional responsibility to consult other colleagues
within or outside the museum when the expertise available
is insufficient in the museum to ensure good decision-making.
8.12 Gifts, Favours, Loans, or Other
Museum employees must not accept gifts, favours, loans, or
other personal benefits that may be offered to them in connection
with their duties for the museum. Occasionally professional
courtesy may include the giving and receiving of gifts but
this should always take place in the name of the institution
Outside Employment or Business Interests
Members of the museum profession, although entitled to a measure
of personal independence, must realise that no private business
or professional interest can be wholly separated from their
employing institution. They should not undertake other paid
employment or accept outside commissions that are in conflict
with, or may be viewed as being in conflict with the interests
of the museum.
Dealing in Natural or Cultural Heritage
Members of the museum profession should not participate directly
or indirectly in dealing (buying or selling for profit), in
the natural or cultural heritage.
Interaction with Dealers
Museum professionals should not accept any gift, hospitality,
or any form of reward from a dealer, auctioneer, or other
person as an inducement to purchase or dispose of museum items,
or to take or refrain from taking official action. Furthermore,
a museum professional should not recommend a particular dealer,
auctioneer, or appraiser to a member of the public.
Members of the museum profession should not compete with their
institution either in the acquisition of objects or in any
personal collecting activity. An agreement between the museum
professional and the governing body concerning any private
collecting must be formulated and scrupulously followed.
Use of the Name and Logo of ICOM
The name of the organisation, its acronym or its logo may not be used
to promote or endorse any for-¬profit operation or product.
Other Conflicts of Interest
Should any other conflict of interest develop between an individual
and the museum, the interests of the museum should prevail.
authentication and valuation of an object or specimen.
In certain countries the term is used for an independent
assessment of a proposed gift for tax benefit purposes.
existence of a personal or private interest that gives
rise to a clash of principle in a work situation, thus
restricting, or having the appearance of restricting,
the objectivity of decision making.
or independent personnel competent to undertake the technical
examination, preservation, conservation and restoration of cultural
property. (For further information, see ICOM News, vol. 39, n°1 (1986),
pp. 5 6.)
thing or concept considered of aesthetic, historical,
scientific or spiritual significance.
and selling items for personal or institutional gain.
requirement that every endeavour is made to establish
the facts of a case before deciding a course of action,
particularly in identifying the source and history of
an item offered for acquisition or use before acquiring
persons or organisations defined in the enabling legislation
of the museum as responsible for its continuance, strategic
development and funding.
intended to bring financial gain or profit for the benefit
of the institution.
right to ownership of property in the country concerned.
In certain countries this may be a conferred right and
insufficient to meet the requirements of a due diligence
| Minimum Standard
standard to which it is reasonable to expect all museums
and museum personnel to aspire. Certain countries have
their own statements of minimum standards.
museum is a non-profit making permanent institution in
the service of society and of its development, open to
the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates
and exhibits, for purposes of study, education and enjoyment,
the tangible and intangible evidence of people and their
professionals consist the personnel (whether paid or unpaid)
of museums or institutions as defined in Article 2, paras.
1 and 2, of the Statutes, who have received specialised
training, or possess an equivalent practical experience
in any field relevant to the management and operations
of a museum, and independent persons respecting the ICOM
Code of Ethics for Museums and working for museums
or institutions as defined in the Statute quoted above,
but not persons promoting or dealing with commercial products
and equipment required for museums and museum services.
natural thing, phenomenon or concept, considered to be
of scientific significance or to be a spiritual manifestation.
legally established body- corporate or unincorporated-
whose income (including any surplus or profit) is used
solely for the benefit of that body and its operation.
The term "not-for-profit" has the same meaning.
full history and ownership of an item from the time of
its discovery or creation to the present day, from which
authenticity and ownership is determined.
right to ownership of property, supported by full provenance
of the item from discovery or production.
should be noted that the terms "museum" and "museum professional"
are interim definitions for use in interpreting the ICOM Code
of Ethics for Museums. The definitions of "museum" and "professional
museum workers" used in the ICOM Statutes remain in force
until the revision of that document has been completed.