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The ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums, 1986-2016

EVENT - 7 & 8 December 2016
How universal ethics benefit natural and cultural heritage
@ Musée d’Art et d’Histoire de Genève

The ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums, 1986-2016

In 1986, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) adopted the first Code of Ethics establishing universal principles, providing a source of shared responsibility for collections and natural and cultural heritage for museum professionals across the five continents. Abiding by the Code of Ethics became "considered a minimum standard for membership in the museum profession", making it both the template and reflection of rules of professional conduct in the international museum community. Thirty years after its adoption, this international conference will conduct a first evaluation of the Code of Ethics and its universality. Museum professionals, specialists in natural and cultural heritage, and legal experts will discuss the principles and issues on which museum ethics are based – and how they have even inspired national and international laws – and will offer a forward-looking debate on this body of ethical and professional standards for museums which benefit society.

On the agenda are three sessions on the origins of the Code of Ethics (chaired by Martin Schärer, Chair of the ICOM Ethics Committee), ethical principles and issues for museums (chaired by David Vuillaume, Secretary General of ICOM Switzerland), and the ICOM Code of Ethics as a template for new standards (chaired by Benno Widmer, head of museums and collections at the Federal Culture Office in Bern). A public lecture will extend the notion of ethics to the topic of The ethical museum, an actor in sustainable development at the Musée d’ethnographie de Genève.

Invited speakers include Vincent Négri (CNRS researcher at the Institut des Sciences sociales du Politique (ISP), member of ICOM's International Observatory on Illicit Traffic in Cultural Goods and the Editorial Advisory Board of the publication Countering Illicit Traffic in Cultural Goods), Jean-Yves Marin (Director of the Musées d’art et d’histoire de Genève), François Mairesse (Chair of ICOM's ICOFOM international committee and professor at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris 3), Édouard Planche (Programme Specialist, Division for Cultural Expressions and Heritage, UNESCO), Susan Corr (President of ECCO, the European Confederation of Conservator-Restorers' Organisations), and Sébastien Minchin (Director of the Muséum d’histoire naturelle de Rouen).