Museums have no borders,
they have a network


As the foremost reference for museums and museum professionals, ICOM works with world-renowned partners to achieve common goals. We seek part­n­ers to ensure the development of our activities that benefit museums and museum professionals worldwide.

Non-governmental organisations

  • Blue Shield

    The Blue Shield is dedicated to the protection of cultural heritage in the event of armed conflict and natural disasters. It plans strategic interventions, in collaboration with local authorities, to prevent or respond to attacks and damage done to cultural goods in emergencies. ICOM is one of the four founding members of the Blue Shield and an active member of its Executive Board.

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  • ICA – International Council on Archives

    ICA works for the preservation of archival heritage on a worldwide scale, by sharing experiences and goods practices about professional archives. ICA also contributes to the protection of the world’s cultural heritage as one of the four founding member of the Blue Shield, alongside ICOM.

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  • ICOMOS – International Council on Monuments and Sites

    ICOMOS works for the preservation of the world’s monuments and historical sites; it promotes conservation techniques and standards through an international network of experts in diverse disciplines. ICOM and ICOMOS are close partners and work together on endangered cultural heritage, including as founding members of the Blue Shield.

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  • IFLA – International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions

    IFLA acts as a network to represent the interests of the library and information profession. This Federation promotes high standards for the profession of librarian and defends the principle of freedom of access to information. IFLA is one of four founding members of the Blue Shield, and also cooperates with ICOM on the theme of intellectual property.

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  • WFFM – World Federation of Friends of Museums

    WFFM gathers the existing Friends of Museums’ groups worldwide, supports their interests and promotes common values through their Code of Ethics for Friends and Volunteers of Museums.

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  • Aliph Foundation

    Aliph, International Alliance for the protection of heritage in conflict areas, is a Geneva-based Foundation that supports via aid programs the protection of cultural heritage in conflict and post-conflict areas around the globe. In January 2022, ALIPH and ICOM signed a Memorandum of Understanding. Under the Under the ICOM-ALIPH partnership several museums are receiving grants with the aim to improve anti-illicit and security measures, provide staff training and advice on inventories, documentation, and storage management.

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Intergovernmental organisations

  • ALECSO – Arab League for Education, Culture and Science Organization

    ALECSO works for the development of education, culture, science, environment and communication in the Arab region, promoting dialogue and cooperation between Arab communities and other worldwide cultures. Since 2002, ICOM and ALECSO have been working together on projects related to the protection and promotion of museums and heritage in the region.

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  • ECOSOC – United Nations Economic and Social Council

    Being one of the main organs of the United Nations system, ECOSOC is responsible of the programmes related to the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental. ICOM is officially recognised by the ECOSOC as the expert NGO in the fight against illicit traffic in cultural goods.

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  • ICCROM – International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property

    ICCROM is an intergovernmental organisation acting in favour of the conservation of cultural heritage. The organisation develops educational programmes, tools and materials for conservation and restoration. ICCROM and ICOM cooperate on building capacities in the field of emergency preparedness and response for cultural heritage.

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    INTERPOL is the world’s largest international police organization working to prevent and fight crime through enhanced cooperation and innovation on police and security matters. In 2000, ICOM and INTERPOL signed an official cooperation agreement on the fight against the illicit traffic of cultural goods. To this end, the two organisations have worked together on the development of a database for the identification of stolen objects as well as on other related initiatives. INTERPOL’s Stolen Works of Art Unit aims at supporting the hunt for stolen cultural items.

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  • UNESCO – United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

    UNESCO is the United Nations specialized institution in charge  of promoting, organising and coordinating international cooperation for the development of projects related to education, science, culture and communication, in different regions of the world. Since its creation, ICOM has worked with UNESCO for the protection and promotion of cultural heritage, having also an active advisory status with most heritage-related conventions.

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  • UNODC – United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

    ONUDC is a United Nations office created to assist Member States in their struggle against crime and terrorism. Its mission is pursued through research, financial and technical assistance, and guidance and support to governments. In the framework of its fight against illicit traffic, ICOM works with ONUDC to improve our understanding of transnational criminality related to cultural heritage.

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  • WCO – World Customs Organisation

    WCO is an independent intergovernmental body working to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of Customs administrations around the world. Since 2000, ICOM and WCO have developed activities to fight the illicit traffic of cultural goods, especially through the organisation of capacity building programmes aiming at training customs agents in the identification of suspicious movement of cultural goods. ICOM directly helps customs agent try to identify cultural material at risk by providing expertise on the most problematic items.

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  • WIPO – World Intellectual Property Organization

    ICOM and WIPO, a specialised agency within the United Nations, collaborate in a range of Intellectual Property related activities (mainly through the WIPO Standing Committee on  Copyright and Related Rights) as well as on an Art and Cultural Heritage Mediation programme.

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    The International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) is an independent intergovernmental Organisation with its seat in the Villa Aldobrandini in Rome. Its purpose is to study needs and methods for modernising, harmonising and co-ordinating private and in particular commercial law as between States and groups of States and to formulate uniform law instruments, principles and rules to achieve those objectives. The 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects underpins the provisions of the 1970 UNESCO Convention, supplementing them by formulating minimal legal rules on the restitution and return of cultural objects. ICOM has worked with UNIDROIT for the protection and promotion of cultural heritage.

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  • OECD – Organisation for economic co-operation and development

    The OECD is a multi-disciplinary inter-governmental organisation of 36 member countries which engages in its work an increasing number of non-members from all regions of the world. The Organisation’s core mission today is to help governments work together towards a stronger, cleaner, fairer global economy. Through its network of 250 specialised committees and working groups, the OECD provides a setting where governments compare policy experiences, seek answers to common problems, identify good practice, and co-ordinate domestic and international policies.

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  • The European Union (EU)

    The European Union (EU) as a supranational political and economic union of 27 Member States is committed to safeguard and enhance Europe’s cultural heritage through a number of policy areas and programmes. Under the common goal to protect cultural heritage, ICOM and EU are working together on projects related to the development of new tools and methodologies for the museums with the aim to combating the illicit trafficking of cultural goods inside and beyond Europe.

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Museum institutions

  • The French Ministry of Culture

    The French Ministry of Culture regularly supports financially ICOM’s activities related to cultural heritage protection and promotion, and especially those intended for French-speaking concerned actors worldwide. As an example, the development of a French version of the ICOM International Observatory on Illicit Traffic in Cultural Goods, the first observatory of its kind, was made possible thanks to the Ministry’s support.

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  • The Getty Foundation

    The Getty Foundation has been helping ICOM and its international committees develop their activities for over 25 years. Through the ICOM-Getty International Programme, the foundation provides financial support to foster the participation of ICOM members from emerging and developing countries in ICOM General Conferences, ICOM-CC Triennial Conferences and CIDOC annual events.

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  • The Palace Museum

    The Palace Museum, located is the Forbidden City in Beijing, is a public museum displaying collections originating from the Qing imperial collection. It contributes to fostering capacity building for Chinese museum professionals. ICOM, ICOM China and the Palace Museum work together to run the ICOM-International Training Center (ICOM-ITC).

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  • Smithsonian Institution

    The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex, with 19 museums and the U.S. National Zoo. Its mission is to shape the future by preserving heritage, increasing and disseminating knowledge. ICOM and the Smithsonian work together to support museums for capacity-building and to provide assistance to museums and sites in case of disaster or conflict.

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