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 38 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.

ICOM Statutes

Download the PDF

The Statutes of the International Council of Museums (hereinafter referred to as “ICOM”) is the basic document of the Organisation. The Internal Rules of ICOM and the ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums define and complete these Statutes.

The new version of this essential document was adopted by the Extraordinary General Assembly of ICOM in Milan (Italy), held on 9th July 2016.

Article 03 - 3. Definition of Terms

Whenever used in these Statutes, the following terms beginning with a capital letter shall bear the meaning defined in the present Article. No distinction shall be made between the singular or plural use thereof.

Section 1.
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.

Section 2. Institutions recognised by ICOM
After seeking the advice of the Advisory Council, the Executive Board, may recognise other institutions as having some or all of the characteristics of a Museum.

Section 3. Museum Professionals
Museum professionals include all staff of the museums and institutions qualifying as museums in accordance with the definition stated within the scope of Article 3, Section 1 and 2 and persons who, in a professional capacity, have as their main activity to provide services, knowledge and expertise for museums and the museum community.

Section 4. Member in Good Standing
An ICOM member in good standing is a person or an institution whose request for membership to ICOM has been accepted under the conditions defined within the scope of Article 4, Section 2 of these Statutes, and has paid the annual membership fee for the respective period and in amount stipulated by the Executive Board.

Section 5. State
For the purposes of establishing National Committees, a State is defined as a sovereign country that is a member of the United Nations or any of its Specialised Agencies, or is a party to the Statutes of the International Court of Justice.