2nd Biennial General Conference [and 3rd General Assembly] of ICOM
London, United Kingdom, 17-22 July 1950
Resolution No. 1: International Exhibitions
Deeply concerned at the dangers both material and otherwise entailed by the growing number of exhibitions,
Recalling that the first duty of museums and of the countries they represent is to safeguard the masterpieces of the past by reducing the risks to which this essential heritage of civilization is exposed by unduly frequent transportation,
Invited by UNESCO to submit to the Organization the conclusions of a study of international art exhibitions,
Recommends that in connection with the choice of works of art which are to figure in international exhibitions, the advice of the curator should never by disregarded,
Resolves to set up, under Committee 5, an International Commission on Exhibitions to consider the best means of reducing the risks in question and, in particular:
a. To assemble schemes for exhibitions,
b. To issue recommendations on the subject, place, and number of exhibitions held each year necessitating the movement of old masterpieces, namely of pictures and drawings,
Recommends to UNESCO to give full support to the work of the Commission in question, and to approach the governments of Member States to secure the full support of their authority for the measures advocated by the Commission to limit the movement of works of art.
Resolution No. 2: International Travelling Exhibitions
Considering that it is equally desirable:
1. To limit the number of international exhibitions of ancient art, in the interests of the preservation of artistic masterpieces;
2. To ensure that works of art are disseminated as widely as possible among the nations for the sake of understanding between men,
1. That as many international travelling exhibitions of a documentary nature may be organized as possible;
2. That international exhibitions of contemporary art also be organized as often as possible.
Resolution No. 3: Colour Reproductions of Works of Art
1. That in lieu of original works, which cannot be moved too frequently, good colour reproductions may provide material for international travelling exhibitions;
2. That the Organization of such exhibitions cannot but be facilitated by international catalogues of colour reproductions of works of art,
1. That UNESCO's laudable experiment of publishing such catalogues be placed on a permanent footing, with the cooperation of ICOM,
2. That, in order to serve their object adequately, such catalogues, while never sacrificing quality, should in all cases be drawn up on the most broadly international lines and should give each school a place commensurate with its importance in civilization.
Resolution No. 4: Exchange of Restorers
Considering that the professional training of restorers of works of art is bound to benefit if advantage can be taken of the knowledge acquired in various countries,
Resolves to advocate the exchange of restorers between museums in different countries, each of the beneficiary countries undertaking to pay the expenses of the visiting expert,
Recommends to UNESCO that it make provision for travelling fellowships, so that future restorers may study on the spot methods used in the restoration laboratories acknowledged to be the most important.
Resolution No. 5: Care of Paintings
Considering that it is highly desirable to give the necessary publicity to the work of ICOM's International Commission on the Care of Paintings,
1. To publish, after each of the annual meetings, a summary of the work and its results in ICOM News;
2. To ask the Editorial Committee of Museum to publish periodically (at intervals of from one to three years) a detailed, and possibly illustrated, report on the problems studied at the annual meetings;
3. To ask this Committee to publish immediately the results of the Commissions's work on the question of the removal of varnish from pictures.
Resolution No. 6: Art and Industry
1. That the development of mechanical processes is opening up new opportunities for applied art;
2. That museums may act in this matter as a source of stimulus and guidance,
1. That museums and their specialized services develop their contacts with art schools and industry;
2. That, in consultation with the appropriate bodies, they examine and carry out measures designed to maintain an "art and industry" campaign (experimental centres of industrial design in museums, exhibitions at museums or in factories, competitions, etc.).
Resolution No. 7: Historical Monument Museums
Considering it important to stimulate public interest in historical monuments,
Recommends that, as far as possible, the various countries organize in their historical monuments "special museums" consisting of exhibitions of objects, diagrams, photographs or other documents dealing with the history of the building, its architectural development through the centuries, restoration, and the events which have taken place in it.
Resolution No. 8: Exchange of Objects
1. That international exchanges of museum objects are likely to foster the advancement and dissemination of knowledge;
2. That such exchanges have not yet been developed as extensively as is desirable;
3. That a campaign is therefore necessary to promote such exchanges and that it is advisable to begin it in the fields offering the greatest chance of success,
1. That natural history museums and museums of archaeology and ethnology make arrangements by direct negotiation for the exchange of their duplicate specimens, accompanied by all the necessary particulars;
2. That, in order to speed up such exchanges, ICOM and UNESCO give the widest possible publicity to such exchanges as have already been made or are being arranged.
Resolution No. 9: Type Specimens
Considering how necessary it is for naturalists to possess an accurate knowledge of type specimens,
Resolves to ask its International Committee on Natural History Museums to establish a sub-committee to consider, in consultation with the International Union of Biological Sciences, suitable methods to facilitate the study of type specimens.
Resolution No. 10: List of Scientific Instruments
Considering the value to the history of science and technology of a list of historically important scientific apparatus preserved in public museums and other repositories and in private collections,
noting that its International Committee on Museums of Science and Technology has happily embarked on the preparation of such a list,
Resolves to furnish that Committee, as far as possible, with the necessary means to continue the list and to publish it.
Resolution No. 11: Museum Crusade
Considering that museums can and should play a most important part in the education of young people and adults,
Recommends that UNESCO undertake as soon as possible, with the assistance of ICOM, the organization of a "Museum Crusade" to show the importance of the part played by museums in this question.
Resolution No. 12: Museums and School Syllabuses
Considering that it is urgently necessary that visits by young people to scientific and technical museums should be developed on a large scale,
Recommends that visits to such museums should be part of the school syllabuses in the various countries, having regard to the special methods employed in each country.
Resolution No. 13: Children's Museums
Considering the importance of museums in the education of children,
1. That museums organize exhibitions for children in their own premises and outside;
2. That, as far as possible, a section be set aside in every museum for activities concerning children;
3. That arrangements be made for regular collaboration between the scientific staff of museums and teachers, so that the latter may be aware of the many opportunities for educational work offered by museums.
Resolution No. 14: Museums and Education
Considering the importance of museums in the education of children,
Resolves to prepare, in collaboration with the National Committees and the Secretariat, a small travelling exhibition of documentary panels, giving concrete illustration of the various ways in which museums can be used in the education of young people.
Resolution No. 15: Loan of Museum Collections to Schools
Considering that it is desirable for the education of children that museum collections be constituted for loan to schools,
Resolves to instruct the National Committees to supplement the information on this subject assembled at the Second Biennial Conference, and to publish it before the next ICOM Conference.
Resolution No. 16: Lighting
Having approved the proposals submitted to the Council by its International Committee on Museum Techniques, after the Stockholm Conference,
1. To recommend that this Committee extend the activities of the Expert Committee of four which it has instructed to make a critical study, with an assessment of their results, of the experiments carried out in various countries on the lighting of museum exhibits;
2. To publicize the results of these experiments as widely as possible.
Resolution No. 17: The Museum Profession
Considering that it is essential to know and compare the conditions of the museum profession in the various countries,
1. To establish a small committee, under the International Committee on Personnel, to study these conditions, with special reference to the following questions:
(a) professional training,
(c) salaries, compared with those of other professions,
(d) time available for scientific work,
2. To ask this committee to put forward, for the next triennial Conference, practical suggestions on
which resolutions may be based;
3. To make a small provisional committee responsible for organizing the committee in question, that committee to consist of Mr. S.D. Cleveland, President of the Museums Association of Great Britain, Sir Leigh Ashton, President of the Second Biennial Conference, and Sir Philip Hendy, Director of the National Gallery, London.
Resolution No. 18: Fire Precautions
Considering that many of the fires entailing the destruction of museum objects have broken out in premises, within the museum, affected: (a) to living quarters, (b) to administrative services not connected with the museum,
Recommends that all possible steps be taken to avoid having administrative or other services not connected with a particular museum in the building in which it is housed, and that, if staff are lodged in a museum building, all the necessary measures be taken to isolate the parts used as dwellings completely from the rest of the building,
Resolves to set up a Committee under the ICOM International Committee on Administration to gather all information concerning the protection of museums against fire, and to charge the said Committee with the preparation of a handbook on fire precautions in museums.
Resolution No. 19: Repositories of Reproductions
Having regard to resolution 6.143 in UNESCO's programme for 1950, instructing the Director-General to encourage the establishment of a certain number of repositories in which a series of reproductions of the most representative and the most vulnerable works might be assembled, and
Having been asked by UNESCO to pronounce an opinion of this matter,
1. That measures be taken without delay to organize such repositories in a few countries;
2. That such repositories be organized solely for purposes of security;
3. That the most competent bodies be made responsible, in all the countries taking part in the scheme, for the selection of reproductions;
4. That the countries in which the repositories are to be established be chosen so as to ensure that as many of the collections as possible may have the maximum chance of being preserved;
5. That the repositories be organized so as to provide the best possible conditions for security and physical preservation;
6. That, as far as possible, the reproductions be in the form of microfilms, prints being included when microfilms are not available;
7. That the observations on this matter made by the ICOM experts be taken into account,
Recommends to UNESCO that financial assistance be accorded to those countries not having sufficient means to create a series of such reproductions to be conserved in selected repositories.
Resolution No. 20: International Museum of Civilization
Having heard the statement by M. André Léveillé on the scheme for an International Museum of Civilization,
Recommends that UNESCO set up a Committee to consider the possibilities of carrying out this scheme.