Code of Ethics

ICOM Code of Ethics for museums

Ethics and museum professionals’ exemplary practices are essential for ICOM.

ICOM Code of Ethics for museums
was adopted in 1986 and revised in 2004. It establishes the values and principles shared by ICOM and the international museum community. It is a reference tool translated to 37 languages and it sets minimum standards of professional practice and performance for museums and their staff.

By joining ICOM, each member commits to respect this code.

Museum Definition

According to the ICOM Statutes, adopted during the 21st General Conference in Vienna, Austria, in 2007:

A museum is a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment.

This definition is a reference in the international community.

Terms

To become an ICOM member you must:

  • be a museum or an institution recognised by ICOM as they are defined in the Statutes, a museum professional or a person or an institution interested in the museum community evolution
  • accept and respect the ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums

 

The people or institutions –including the staff- who sell cultural goods (objects, natural and scientific specimens) can’t become members.

To a wider extent, this restriction applies to any person or institution that carries out activities that might lead to a conflict of interest with ICOM’s activity.