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Resolutions adopted by ICOM's General Assembly 1974

11th General Assembly of ICOM

Copenhagen, Denmark, 14 June 1974

Resolution No. 1

Having examined the results of the working sessions of the 10th General Conference, on the theme of "The Museum and the Modern World",

Thanks the keynote speakers and the various members who have participated in the discussions,

Adopts the following conclusions:

1. In addition to the traditional and still essential functions of investigation, conservation and preservation in the service of a heritage, conditions of the modern world lead the museum towards assuming new commitments and adopting new forms;

2. In order to answer these present needs, the museum must interpret the demands of the community in its cultural, environmental and demographic position;

3. The transformation of the museum whether gradual or radical, must allow it to realize new activities and methods of action for the use of the collections where at the moment the contents and their conservation form one of the links between the past and the present;

4. The museum must interpret the cultural needs of the community completely independent of circumstantial factors, with an understanding of the problems of the contemporary individual and a respect for the liberty of information;

5. It is imperative to bring up to date a museology still subject to social and cultural situations belonging to the past;

6. The debates of the conference have made evident the need for a more profound inquiry and reflection into the following points:

a. What can the museum contribute to the modern world?

b. What methods for evaluating the needs of society are available?

c. In what form are these needs reflected?

d. How can society defend the rights and independence of the museum?

e. How should the museum profession secure the independence of the institution in all circumstances?

7. Whatever answers might be given to the previous questions it seems imperative that members of the profession keep in mind and take as principal criteria in their actions, the principle which has been so clearly emphasized in this conference namely that the museum, an institution in the service of society, in the modern world must be the reflection of that society.

Resolution No. 2

Considering Article 5 of the ICOM Statutes according to which members of the museum profession are distinguished, particularly in regard to the basic rules of professional ethics,

Taking into account that professional ethics, although made the object of numerous studies and partial definitions, have still never been formulated in a code directed to the profession as a whole,


a. That the Secretariat and Documentation Centre reassemble, analyze, compare and make available the existing texts and documents concerning professional ethics;

b. That the Executive Council designate a group of experts particularly qualified in this field;

c. That this group prepare a draft code of professional ethics to be distributed to all National and International Committees for their study and comments, these latter to be returned to the Secretariat no later than 31 December 1976,

Resolves to include this item on the agenda of its next session, in order to adopt a definitive text applicable to all members of ICOM.

Resolution No. 3

Taking into account the growing number of exhibitions in the world and their importance in cultural relationship between peoples,

Aware of the complex and varied problems of the security and conservation of objects and collections which are exposed by this fact to risks of all kinds,

Informed of the repeated warnings issued by the International Committee for Conservation and of the results of the work of the ad hoc Committee on Insurance during this past triennial period,

Considering that the aims, programmes and working methods which up to now have characterized the International Exhibitions Committee are now mostly outmoded, especially concerning the patronage accorded by ICOM to certain international exhibitions,


a. That the Executive Council supervise the reanimation of the Exhibitions Committee, and

b. That this Committee add some specialist members of the ad hoc Committee on Insurance and some experts from the Conservation Committee and continue such plans as have already been undertaken in respect to the improvement of covering risks run by cultural property;

c. That an exhaustive study be made, when possible, on the conditions and present problems of the organization of international exhibitions, and on ways of giving them priority and means of putting them into effect;

d. That all National and International Committees and all the members in general, give their cooperation to this project,

Demands moreover that the Executive Council and the Secretariat coordinate their efforts in this field with the International Exhibitions Committee, the Conservation Committee, and the Committee for Security, respectively.

Resolution No. 4

Wishing to develop and complete the motions and resolutions adopted at its preceding sessions (Motion No. 8, 8th session, New York, 1965; Motion No. 7, 9th session, Munich, 1968) concerning the status of training and refresher courses for museum personnel,

Considering that it is necessary to continually develop the teaching of museology and to make widely known its fundamental principles,

Noting however that certain existing training centres have a tendency to restrict their programmes to museographical techniques and to only one or another of the basic scientific disciplines,


a. That the museum training centres instruct both their students and those members of the profession taking refresher courses, not only in one or another museographical practice, but also in interdisciplinary museology, in as close a cooperation as possible between museums and universities, and corresponding to the real needs of the museums, and giving such people a diploma recognized by their country and accorded international equivalents;

b. That the specialized institutions of higher studies and post-graduate university courses include in their programmes some indication of the role of museums in the service of society, in research and documentation and in the conservation and development of cultural and natural heritage, education and culture.

Resolution No. 5

Recalling the Code of Ethics of Acquisition adopted by ICOM in 1970 and 1971, as well as the International Convention on the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, adopted by Unesco in 1970,

Worried by the multiplication of risks such as theft, deliberate destruction, vandalism, blackmail, terrorism, internal and international conflicts, which provide for the cultural heritage of mankind constantly increasing dangers,

Considering that all these threats to the cultural heritage must be efficiently foreseen and sanctioned,


a. To members of ICOM, to follow strictly the ethical rules of acquisition and to ensure all methods of security for the collections in their care;

b. To National Committees and other bodies of ICOM, to exert their influence on local, national, regional and international authorities so that they are informed of ways to prevent the risks, and to give effective punishment;

c. To countries, to reinforce, adapt and complete the existing laws, to be alert to making them known and respected and to cooperate in their mutual respect, notably for the ratification of the Unesco Convention of  1970, and, when appropriate, the Hague Convention of 1954, on the protection of cultural property in the case of armed conflict;

d. To Unesco, to actively follow and encourage the application of the international instruments now existing, to improve and complete them, to put at the disposal of its Member States, with the help of ICOM, the assistance of experts, and of an international force for control and protection of cultural heritage,

Recommends, furthermore, as a means of eventually changing attitudes towards cultural property, undertaking at all levels of the public a greater effort for information and education, notably in schools, in order to inspire respect for the heritage and to entrust its protection to the very community which has it in its charge.

Resolution No. 6

Programme and Budget of ICOM for 1975-77

Having examined the conclusions reached in discussions of the Programme Committee elected by the 10th General Conference and the 33rd session of the Executive Council,

Adopts the programme of activities for 1975-77 contained in document 74/CG.33 and instructs the Executive Council and Secretary General, the National and International Committees with its application, according to the resources available,

Aware, however, of the financial difficulties which will be encountered in the execution of this programme and of the impossibility of defining even the broad lines of the triennial budget,

Considering that the future of ICOM depends largely on:

a. A clear and lucid forecast of the long- and short-term development of ICOM's finances (income and expenditure);

b. The discovery of new sources of funds, both from its members and from those outside the profession,

Instructs the Treasurer of ICOM and the Secretary General to submit jointly to the next session of the Executive Council:

A detailed draft budget for 1975;

An extension of this budget for the years 1976 and 1977, showing clearly the funds which are absolutely necessary and those which may be decided upon later;

A detailed proposal, including figures, for a financial policy for ICOM, according to the advice given by the Advisory Committee at its 31st session and by the Board of the ICOM Foundation,

Resolves that, in any case, priority should be given in future to maintaining the instruments of work and action of ICOM, that is the Secretariat and the Documentation Centre.

Resolution No. 7

Having examined the reports and conclusions submitted to it by the Board of the ICOM Foundation,

Thanks it for its efforts during the past years and renews the mandate of the following members for the next three years: Mrs A. Zacks, P. McCray, A. Pestalozzi, A. van Schendel, A. de Vries, Sir Philip Hendy, and

Requests that the Board of the Foundation collaborate with the Secretary General of ICOM in order to:

a. Study divers methods for finding new sources of financing;

b. Propose to the Executive Council practical recommendations based on this study.

Updated: 20 June 2005