Art Gallery Ulster Museum (credit National Museums NI)

ICOM International

A global network

ICOM is a global network of National ICOM Committees in 117 countries representing 20000 museums around the world.

The International Council of Museums counts amongst its institutional members leading institutions including the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Palace Museum in Beijing and the Louvre in Paris. Museums of Science and Technology, Social History Museums, Galleries of Fine Art and City and Regional Museums throughout Europe, Africa, Oceania, Asia and the Americas, embodying the global diversity of the museum community, are all represented within the global ICOM network.

Specialist expertise

ICOM has 32000 museum professionals as members and 31 International Specialist Committees.

The 32,000 museum professionals that are members of ICOM constitute a distinguished network of knowledge. ICOM is among the few global organisations that are able to quickly mobilize such an expert network and to gather, around various museum matters, the most acclaimed specialists worldwide.

The museum professionals who constitute ICOM’s International Committees advance the theory and practice of their respective fields for the benefit of the entire museum community.

Regional alliances

The Regional Alliances are forums designed to promote dialogue and the sharing of information between the National Committees, museums and the museum professionals of a given region.

The National Committees can be members of a Regional Alliance established in their geographical area. The Presidents of the five ICOM Regional Alliances sit at the Advisory Committee.

International conservation of material cultural heritage

ICOM raises awareness of illicit trade in cultural artefacts, promotes the preservation of intangible cultural heritage and facilitates the restitution of cultural property.

ICOM has a consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council and is a leading force in ethical matters pertaining to museums. It is one of the founding members of the International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS).

Blue Shield

Information about the Blue Shield can be found here

Ethical Code

Exemplary ethical practices by museum professionals are essential for ICOM members. By joining ICOM, each member agrees to respect this code.

Red Guides

Raising awareness of the theft and illicit trade in cultural artefacts through the publication of Red Guides:

Triennial Conferences

Every three years, the global museum community meets to discuss emerging issues and practice.