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The International Council of Museums promotes excellence and best practices. As such, it strongly encourages the implementation of professional standards within the global museum community.

Through its standards and guidelines, ICOM provides best practices to museum professionals in terms of objects acquisition, documentation of collections, descriptions, terminology, collections, security, conservation, personnel management and training, among others. These standards are developed by ICOM’s Committees and are approved by the ICOM Executive Board.

ICOM also supports and contributes to the development of other global international standards such as Object ID  and the 2015 UNESCO Recommendation concerning the protection and promotion of museums and collections, their diversity and role in society.

Standards on Loans

  • ICOM Guidelines for Loans (ICOM Secretariat, 1974)

Find it here

Standards on Ethics

Standards on Education and Cultural Action

  • Best Practice in Museum Education and Cultural Programmes (CECA)
  • Best Practice Books (6 volumes), (ICOM-CECA/Edizioni Nuova Cultura, 2017)
  • Education Toolkit, Methods and Technique from Museum and Heritage Education (ICOM-CECA/LCM/Erfgoedhuis Zuid-Holland, 2017)

CECA’s website

Standards on Documentation

  • Statement of Principles of Museum Documentation (CIDOC, 2012)
  • The CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model (CIDOC, 2011)
  • Lightweight Information Describing Objects (CIDOC, 2010)
  • The CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model (CIDOC, 2001)
  • International Core Data Standards for Ethnology/Ethnography (CIDOC, 1996)
  • International Guidelines for Museum Object Information: the CIDOC Information Categories (CIDOC, 1995)
  • Recommendations for Identity Photography (CIDOC Fact Sheet 3, 2010)
  • Labelling and Marking Objects (CIDOC Fact Sheet 2, 1993)
  • Registration Step by Step: When an Object Enters the Museum (CIDOC Fact Sheet 1, 1993)

CIDOC’s website

Standards on Museums and Collections of Instruments and Music

  • Voices for the Silenced – Guidelines for Interpreting Musical Instruments in Museum Collections (CIMCIM, 1998)
  • Recommendations for the Application of Accession Numbers on musical instruments (CIMCIM, 1995)
  • CIMENT: Uniform Procedures for Data Element Description in CIMCIM Database Systems (CIMCIM, 1991)
  • Recommendations for Regulating the Access to Musical Instruments in Public Collections (CIMCIM, 1985)

CIMCIM’s website

Standards on Museums and Collections of Costume

  • Clothes Tell Stories, Working with Costume in Museums (COSTUME, 2013)
  • Guidelines for Costume (1998) – check latest version
  • Vocabulary of Basic Terms for Cataloguing Costume (English, German, French, Spanish) (COSTUME, 1981)

COSTUME’s website

Standards on Historic House Museums

  • Rules for Functions in Historic Buildings – Caterers (DEMHIST, 2007)
  • Rules for Filming in Historic Buildings (DEMHIST, 2007)
  • Rules for TV and Entertainment Crews in Historic Buildings (DEMHIST, 2007)

DEMHIST’s website

 Standards on Memorial Museums in Remembrance of the Victims of Public Crimes

  • International Memorial Museums Charter (ICMEMO, 2011)

ICMEMO’s website

Standards on Museum Security

  • Handbook on Emergency Procedures (ICMS, 2010)
  • Guidelines for Disaster Preparedness in Museums (ICMS, 1993)

ICMS’ website

Standards on Conservation

  • Environmental Guidelines: ICOM-CC and IIC Declaration (ICOM-CC, 2014)

ICOM-CC’s website

Standards on Money and Banking Museums

  • Resources for Curators of Numismatic Collections (ICOMON, 2013)

ICOMON’s website

 Standards on Training of Personnel

  • Museum Professions – A European Frame of Reference (ICTOP, 2008)

ICTOP’s website

Standards on Museum Management

  • INTERCOM Management Scenarios (INTERCOM, 2008)

INTERCOM’s website

Standards on Museums and Collections of Natural History

  • NATHIST Conference Planning Guide (NATHIST, 2018)

NATHIST’s website

Standards on University Museums and Collections

  • University Museums and Collections – Importance, Responsibility, Maintenance, Disposal and Closure (UMAC, 2007)

UMAC’s website

Standards on African Museums

  • Handbook of Standards: Documenting African Collections (AFRICOM,1996)

  • Resources

    Find all ICOM's documents and publications in the Resources center