ICOM museum definition process: the two final proposals

This article was first published by ICOM

The process of defining the museum is entering its final phase with the presentation of the two proposals submitted to the vote of the ICOM representatives.

The members of ICOM Define worked on drafting five definition proposals, basing their work on the results of the data analysis of Consultation 2 and 3. On Consultation 4 ICOM committees were asked to rank the five proposals and had the possibility of commenting on their top choice. ICOM Define worked intensively on processing the results and elaborating the final two proposals. On Thursday, May 5th, the Advisory Council met to discuss them.

An online voting platform is open until 20th of May in order to allow all the Chairs of ICOM Committees to vote on the definition that will be presented to the Executive Board and then voted in Prague during the Extraordinary General Assembly.


Proposal A

A museum is a permanent, not-for-profit institution, accessible to the public and of service to society. It researches, collects, conserves, interprets and exhibits tangible and intangible cultural and natural heritage in a professional, ethical and sustainable manner for education, reflection and enjoyment. It operates and communicates in inclusive, diverse and participatory ways with communities and the public.

Proposal B

A museum is a not-for-profit, permanent institution in the service of society that researches, collects, conserves, interprets and exhibits tangible and intangible heritage. Open to the public, accessible and inclusive, museums foster diversity and sustainability. They operate and communicate ethically, professionally and with the participation of communities, offering varied experiences for education, enjoyment, reflection and knowledge sharing.

The methodology was based on 4 rounds of consultation, divided into 11 steps with a duration of 18 months.


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Enjoyed a lovely afternoon yesterday at @UK_ICOM’s Student and Emerging Professional event! So excited to share initial findings from my research. Thanks everyone for joining the discussions☺️

The Museum of Homelessness (@our_MoH) has announced plans to open a new museum at Manor House Lodge, Finsbury Park.

Opening in 2023, the museum will host creative programmes and community services focused on homelessness and housing.