Across the world ICOM provides a common framework for museums, a forum for professional discussions, and a platform for questioning and celebrating heritage and collections in museums and cultural institutions. A shared definition of the museum serves as the backbone for ICOM as a global organisation.
Following the processes of active listening, collecting and collating alternative definitions through its standing committee on Museum Definition, Prospects and Potentials (MDPP), the Executive Board of ICOM, at its 139th session in Paris on 21-22 July 2019 reached the following decision.
The Executive Board selected the below as a new alternative museum definition for a vote to be included in the ICOM Statutes instead of the current museum definition at ICOM’s next Extraordinary General Assembly (EGA), which will take place on 7 September 2019, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Kyoto International Conference Center (ICC Kyoto) in Kyoto, Japan:
Museums are democratising, inclusive and polyphonic spaces for critical dialogue about the pasts and the futures. Acknowledging and addressing the conflicts and challenges of the present, they hold artefacts and specimens in trust for society, safeguard diverse memories for future generations and guarantee equal rights and equal access to heritage for all people.
Museums are not for profit. They are participatory and transparent, and work in active partnership with and for diverse communities to collect, preserve, research, interpret, exhibit, and enhance understandings of the world, aiming to contribute to human dignity and social justice, global equality and planetary wellbeing.
For more information about the process please visit: https://icom.museum/en/activities/standards-guidelines/museum-definition/
ICOM members can access the EGA working documents through their membership space.