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Resolutions adopted by ICOM's General Assembly 1968

9th General Assembly of ICOM

9 August 1968, Munich, Germany

Resolution No. 1: Museums and Development

Aware of the importance, at the present time and in all countries without exception, of the development of man and his community from the cultural, social and economic points of view,

Believing that museums, being public institutions possessing both collections of original objects representing the visible heritage of nature and of mankind and documentation relevant to these collections, scientifically established and equipped with the necessary means for conservation, have a specific role to play when serving individuals and communities,

Declares that museums must rank among the most important scientific institutions contributing to the cultural, social, economic and tourist development of each country,

Urgently requests international organizations, in particular UNESCO, governments and all museum authorities:

1. To recognize museums as major institutions in the service of development;

2. To include the creation or the development of museums in their long- or short-term plans for national development,

Recommends ICOM National Committees to undertake all possible action, both with their governments and with their UNESCO National Commissions, to make this recommendation widely known and to achieve its aims,

Suggests to the Director General of UNESCO that this matter be included in the future programmes of the Organization.

Resolution No. 2: Museums and Research

Considering the reports submitted to the 8th General Conference and the discussions which followed the presentation of these reports,

States the principle that museums are intrinsically scientific institutions and that as a result any museum possessing qualified personnel and suitable practical and technical means must promote, encourage, undertake or develop individual or collective scientific research, the field of the museum's research being, as a general rule, defined by the nature of is collections and by its programme,

Appeals to authorities, administrations and public and private institutions responsible for museums to grant these museums their support and the necessary financial means to undertake scientific research actively,

Adopts the following principles and recommendations:

a. Personnel

In accordance with points 1 to 4 of the annexe to the 8th Resolution adopted by the 7th General Conference, it is stressed that the scientific personnel in museums responsible for research must possess the necessary qualifications and must be granted the corresponding status. The lack of scientific personnel is beginning to be felt to an alarming extent, and is prejudicial to research activities. To remedy this situation, museum personnel should be granted a similar status to that of members of universities and of other research institutions, as and when the qualifications and responsibilities are equivalent. This would enable the museums to engage highly qualified personnel on a more stable basis, as such personnel is too frequently attracted by the more profitable working conditions offered by other research institutions.

In cases where a museum cannot hope to have available, on a permanent basis, the personnel essential to the execution of a minimum of regular scientific work, it is to be hoped that solutions might be found enabling scientists from outside the museum, from another museum or a university or other research institution, to offer their services periodically or temporarily;

b. Museums, Research Institutions

As stated in the 4th Resolution adopted by the 7th General Assembly, it is of primary importance that the results of scientific research be prepared and published, in the form of scientific catalogues and reports.

Catalogues should be edited and published on the basis of the scientific standards laid down for each discipline and of the modern criteria for describing and interpreting objects; it is to be hoped that such standards might be laid down at the international level.

Experiments on the use of computers in the service of museums or in museums themselves, which have been carried out in various countries, have given interesting results and should be continued in view of their importance for future collaboration between museums at the international level, and above all in view of the value of computers to research: accuracy, ease and rapidity of information.

In addition to the study of collections, research activities should be completed by programmes externally orientated: field missions in the disciplines of archaeology, ethnology, natural history, etc.;

c. Museums and Other Research Institutions

Stress should be laid on the maintenance and development of the tradition of cooperation, so fruitful in the past, between museums and other scientific institutions, and in particular universities. First, museums must be truly open to research workers from other institutions, either for consultation, or when seconded to the museum. Similarly, through exchanges, the scientific personnel of museums must have access, under the same conditions, to these institutions and their activities. Museums must also participate more actively and more permanently in the planning and coordination of scientific research appertaining to their disciplines or to related disciplines, at the regional, national and international levels. Thus museums can participate, under the best possible conditions, in collective research.

There is one particular problem, in this connection, which must be solved through the relations between museums and other institutions: the problem of the attribution of results, and in particular of collections of objects arising from field missions. Since the specific functions of the museum include the collection, classification, conservation of objects and documents, as well as the task of making them widely available, they should offer assistance to other institutions in this respect, namely, if possible, by receiving the product of their research work, or at least by helping with their maintenance and their worthy presentation;

d. Recommendations to International Organizations

It is to be hoped that ICOM, through the intermediary of its specialized International Committees, will undertake the preparation of cataloguing standards for museums of the various disciplines, and of advice on the application of these standards, bearing in mind the possibility of using computers in the future.

It is suggested that UNESCO might envisage the publication of an article of general information, in its review Museum, concerning "Museums and Information: Present Situation and Future Prospects".

ICOM should, during the coming years, make firm contacts with professional international organizations representing the various scientific disciplines, with a view to organizing exchanges of opinion on the problems of museums and research.

Resolution No. 3: Scientific Documentation

Considering that museum collections are composed not only of objects but also of documentation of all kinds enabling the objects to be seen in their context, to the benefit of both research work and the general public,

Knowing that in many countries collections set up during field missions (natural history, archaeology, ethnology) are too frequently deposited in museums in isolation from their scientific and documentary context, either because the missions were organized by non-museum institutions or because they were organized by a foreign country,


1. That written, graphic or audio-visual scientific documentation be considered as an integral part of museum collections;

2. That individual, national or foreign research missions and workers be required to deposit, in a central or regional museum of the country where the research was carried out, duplicates of all relevant documentation, author's and publication rights being reserved;

3. That museums be equipped to receive, classify, conserve and hold available to research workers copies of the documents thus obtained,

Decides that a study should be undertaken to lay down the methods for applying this resolution, in liaison with the International Committees involved.

Resolution No. 4: Directories, Inventories

Having received a joint request from several of its International Committees,

Recalling the recommendations adopted by various previous General Assemblies and the activity of the UNESCO-ICOM Museum Documentation Centre since its creation,

Recommends that ICOM National Committees, in liaison with museums associations and scientific organizations covering various disciplines, should start to prepare for publication museological terminologies, national directories of museums in these disciplines, and scientific inventories of collections, based on standardized rules in accordance with the needs of research, as a first step towards the preparation of international directories and inventories, to be undertaken by the ICOM Committees at a later date.

Resolution No. 5: International Bibliography

Taking as its own the recommendation adopted by the Documentation Committee regarding the annual publication of an international museographical bibliography, as a supplement to ICOM News,

Accepts with gratitude the proposal from the Czechoslovakian National Committee of ICOM to bear the cost of the printing and distribution of this supplement, and the proposal of the Prague Museological Centre to be responsible for the editing of this supplement,

Entrusts the UNESCO-ICOM Museum Documentation Centre with the task of coordinating the preparation of this bibliography,

Requests the various ICOM bodies, and in particular the United States National Committee, the Prague Museological Centre, the Museums Association of Tropical Africa, and the ICOM Asia Agency, to offer their assistance in the collection of information for this bibliography.

Resolution No. 6: Regional Museums

Considering the efforts made in the majority of countries to provide cultural activities for urban and rural communities far distant from large towns,

Aware of the danger involved in allowing regional museums to lose their characteristic of privileged cultural centres serving these same communities, either through lack of means, or through an uncontrolled proliferation of small museums,

Recalls that regional museums are defined by the nature of their collections, coming from a specific region, or by the homogeneous nature of the territory which they serve, or again by a combination of these two factors,

Hopes that each country will grant high priority to the development of museums with a regional vocation, by providing them with administrative structures, equipment, technical and financial means, personnel adapted to the role which these museums should play,

Particularly desires:

1. That the most important regional museums should have laboratories or at least restoration workshops;

2. That they may receive the means, in personnel, in equipment and in funds, to enable them to carry out their scientific activities and their educational and cultural action, to the benefit of the whole of the region involved;

3. That the Training of senior personnel for regional museums be guaranteed in specially created centres, where the programmes and instruction would be adopted to museums of this type.

Resolution No. 7: Museological Training

Considering the resolutions and conclusions of the 7th General Conference of ICOM (New York, 1965) on the general theme of the training of museum personnel,

Bearing in mind the discussions at the expert meeting held in Brno (1967) and the working sessions of the 8th General Conference;

Recommends that the ICOM Committee for the Training of Personnel should set up a working group to present to the 1970 session of the Executive Council a group of resolutions aimed at promoting an instruction in museology, in universities and in cooperation with museums.

Resolution No. 8: Museums and Youth

Considering that the accelerated development of industrial civilization leads to critical situations in many countries, because of the fundamental changes which it brings to the way of life and to the mentality of society,

Believing that museums themselves are affected by these problems, and that there is a danger that new generations may decide to reconsider their legitimacy, as has already happened on occasions,

Recommends that museums should become much more open to young people, particularly by means of the following:

a. By increasing the number of cultural action programmes for young people, in an atmosphere of greater participation;

b. By making sure that the younger members of the museum's public, and in particular students in related disciplines, are involved in the preparation of such programmes, suiting the methods employed to the particular conditions prevailing in each country.

Resolution No. 9: Protection of Cultural Property

Concerned about the danger to the cultural heritage of various countries arising from the many armed conflicts now affecting several regions of the world,

Recalls the International Convention of The Hague (1954) for the safeguard of cultural property in the case of armed conflict and the International Recommendation of New Delhi (1956) on the principles to be applied with regard to archaeological excavations, in as much as it concerned the non-execution of archaeological excavations in all territories under military occupation,

Approves and encourages the steps taken by UNESCO in each particular case,

Urgently appeals to the authorities in charge of museums and of the cultural heritage in the countries involved, to ICOM National Committees and to all members of the museum profession, and requests them to take all possible steps to ensure that the above mentioned international agreements are respected.



Updated: 20 June 2005