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Resolutions adopted by ICOM's General Assembly 1948

First Biennial Conference of ICOM

Paris, France, 28 June-3 July 1948 [2nd General Assembly, 3 July 1948]

Resolution No. 1 ICOM

Considering that it is necessary to improve and develop, at the international level, the professional facilities available to museographers,

Resolves to set up an International Documentation Centre having as its essential tasks:

1. To assemble all information on: museums and public collections (of which a complete list should be drawn up, classified by country and by subject); centres for museological studies; museum catalogues; auction sale catalogues; museum methods (a special bibliography concerning museography should be published annually);

2. To draw up rules regarding the publication of museum catalogues, their standardization, and the use of duplicate photographic reference cards;

3. To organize the international exchange of publications, photographs and information.

The International Centre of Museum Documentation should in each country maintain contact with a national centre or any other body specially organized for that purpose. On the international level, it should maintain close contact with the Documentation Service and Museums Section of UNESCO, as well as with the International Federation of Documentation and the International Association of Standardization.

It should be the essential duty of this International Centre to coordinate the work of existing museums and organizations. Under no circumstances should it offer any replacement for their work or methods.

Resolution No. 2


Considering the advisability of extending the field of its specialized committees, of defining their respective duties and putting the results they achieve to the best advantage,


a. To merge the "Committee of Scientific Health Museums and Planetaria" and the "Committee of Technical Museums" into a "Committee of Scientific and Technological Museums",

b. To set up committees relating to: the architecture, material equipment and methods of displaying museum collections; the scientific and technical staff of museums (training, status and international exchanges); the administration and physical protection of museums (safety against theft and fire, evacuation, international insurance, etc.); propaganda for museums,

c. To invite the Specialized Committees to keep the new International Centre of Museological Documentation informed of their activities, with a view to increasing the Centre's documentary resources.

Resolution No. 3



a. The importance of the role played by museums in the popularization of arts, sciences and techniques and the opportunity for these establishments to act as civilizing influences,

b. The importance of drawing the attention of the general public to these points,

c. The advisability of increasing its own sphere of influence,

Resolves to organize at each Biennial Conference, on condition that the necessary notice is given, an international exhibition including:

a. Elements expressive of the latest applications of museology,

b. A certain number of masterpieces.

Resolution No. 4


Considering the necessity of ensuring that the museographic collections of Germany, stored in the American, British and French zones of occupation, should be well preserved,


a. To set up a special committee of three persons, to be nominated by the Executive Committee, in order to study instantly the present condition of these collections and the possibilities of obtaining the necessary material for their restoration,

b. To submit duly to UNESCO and any other competent body the recommendations of this committee.

Resolution No. 5



a. The increasing number of international exhibitions of works of art which are of such value that they cannot be ensured by commercial means,

b. The desirability of establishing a universally recognized principle, according to which, in the case of total loss of an object of great value or of serious and irreparable damage to such an object,this accident should not alone affect the country owning and lending this object, but such losses and damages should be equitably shared by the lending countries and the borrowing country,

c. The fact that this situation has already received the attention of the International Museums Office of the former League of Nations,

Resolves to invite the Executive Committee to study this problem.

Resolution No. 6



a. that institutions whose object is to develop the artistic taste of the public cannot remain indifferent to industry, the products of which influence this taste,

b. that in recent years a certain number of museums have set up special services to place their resources at the disposal of designers, manufacturers and dealers, and are actively collaborating with industry in order to develop new talent and to inspire designs of quality,

c. that efforts in this direction have improved the artistic quality of industrial products and have aroused a greater demand for well-designed articles,


a. to give the greatest possible publicity to the results of experiments carried out by museums in the field of industrial arts,

b. to set up a section devoted to these problems within the framework of the next biennial conference.

Resolution No. 7



a. that museum directors are unanimous in agreeing that paintings should be restored to an appearance corresponding, as closely as possible, to their original state, and that they are aware of the difficult problems raised by the removal of varnishes (in itself simple in theory, though delicate in practice),

b. that in this respect a doctrinal approach may not recognize the complexity of the task, and may result in irreparable mistakes,

c. that only the constitution of a small international commission composed of museum directors and curators may, by a comparison of methods and by the exchange of results achieved, establish a procedure at once efficacious and prudent,

Resolves to request the Executive Committee to form such a commission without delay and to ensure that it holds regular meetings, the first of which might take place towards November in London, where the problems raised by restoration have been discussed and displayed publicly in an exhibition of unusual scope.

The first task of this commission will be that of obtaining from art museums and from institutions interested in these problems the fullest information on the following matters:

a. Routine methods of inspecting the condition of paintings,

b. Methods of repairing supports, i.e. panels and canvases,

c. Methods of repairing damage to the paint film,

d. Methods of diagnosis for cleaning,

e. Methods, photographic or otherwise, of recording the condition of paintings before, during, and after cleaning,

f. Methods of cleaning and restoration,

g. Methods of scientific research in all matters connected with the conservation of paintings.

The commission will be constituted of representatives of twelve nations where these problems have been particularly studied. The Executive Committee of ICOM will choose the twelve nations annually, having regard to the programme drawn up. The delegates will be proposed by the National Committees of ICOM.

The minutes and recommendations of this commission will be circulated to all National Committees.

Resolution No. 8


Considering the community of some of its aims with some of the aims of the International Folklore Commission (CIAP),

Resolves to enter into close collaboration with CIAP, particularly with the third section (museums collections, archives and documentation centres) of that Commission, in order to coordinate studies in the field of ethnography and folklore.


Updated: 20 June 2005