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August 16, 2019

The Backbone of Museums? Roundtables on a New Museum Definition

During ICOM Kyoto 2019, a roundtable will be dedicated to the topic ‘The Backbone of Museums? Roundtables on a New Museum Definition’.

We did a Q&A with the moderator of the session Jette Sandahl, Chair of the European Museum Forum and Chair of ICOM’s Standing Committee for Museum Definition, Prospects and Potentials.

What is the aim of this activity?

An unprecedented number of people have participated in discussing the need for a new museum definition which is more in tune with our times and in developing new, alternative proposals. These two workshops are part of this exchange between ICOM members about the museum definition as the backbone of our practice.

Why is museum definition important for the future of tradition?

Some parameters and statements about core values, purposes and methods were developed to be reflected and included in a new definition, and thus part of shaping the futures of museums.

Why attend?

In a roundtable format, the two consecutive workshops will provide an opportunity for the participants to voice and to exchange how they relate to these statements of values, purposes, and methods behind the new museum definition proposal.


Between the 1st and the 7th of September 2019, Kyoto (Japan) will host the biggest and most important conference of museums in the world. More than 3.000 museum professionals and experts from all international backgrounds will participate in this triannual event, the 25th General Conference of ICOM.  After 24 successful editions, ICOM’s flagship conference has become a worldwide reputed hub for exchange about the topical issues museums tackle today, as well as the most innovative solutions.

ICOM Kyoto 2019 website