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DCMS Museums and Galleries Sector Coronavirus Bulletin 6 July 2020

Below is a link to download the latest PDF coronavirus bulletin for the museums and galleries sector, containing links to government advice and published information, including:

  • £1.57 billion arts, culture and heritage support package. The funding includes:
    • £1.15bn for cultural organisations through grants and loans
    • £100m of targeted support for national cultural institutions
    • £120m capital investment to restart construction
    • Dedicated new funding for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales
  • Museums and galleries able to reopen in Northern Ireland from 3 July, and in England from 4 July.
  • Guidance for reopening in Wales and Northern Ireland has been published.


Northern Ireland Department for Communities guidance for a phased return to cultural and heritage destinations venues

National Museums Northern Ireland (NMNI) and other stakeholders (Northern Ireland Museums Council, Historic Environment Division etc.) were involved in preparing the reopening guidelines for cultural and heritage destinations venues.

The guidelines have now been released by the Department for Communities and can be found at https://www.communities-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/communities/dfc-culture-heritage-destinations-phased-return-guide.pdf

Welsh Government guidance on reopening museums and heritage sites

Welsh Government have published their guidance towards reopening for museums and heritage sites:

English:  https://gov.wales/culture-and-heritage-destinations-and-venues-guidance-phased-return

Cymraeg:  https://llyw.cymru/cyrchfannau-lleoliadau-diwylliant-threftadaeth-canllawiau-ar-gyfer-dychwelyd-yn-raddol-0?_ga=2.45572964.118217638.1593788296-1992190854.1512421468

Please note, other than for outdoor attractions who can begin to reopen from the 6th July, there is no date announced yet for when museums can reopen.

Watch the recording of Post COVID-19: reopening museums around the world

Organised by ICOM UK, this online discussion provides insights from a global perspective on the re-opening of museums around the world.  ICOM UK, in partnership with NMDC, hosted an online discussion on 25 June 2020, which provided a global perspective and insights from museums at different stages of re-opening. The discussion, with contributions from sector colleagues in India, Poland, Singapore and the UK, looked at key issues around the re-opening of museums, with an opportunity to discuss challenges and share lessons learnt.


Host – Duncan Dornan, Head of Museums and Collections at Glasgow Life (Glasgow Museums) and ICOM UK Treasurer

Singapore – Nicola Mah, ICOM Singapore Secretariat

Poland – Dr Piotr Rypson, Professor, Polsko-Japońska Akademia Technik Komputerowych (Chair, ICOM Poland)

India – Dr Ambika Bipin Patel, Professor & Head Museology, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara, Gujarat (Secretary, ICOM India)

UK – Bryan Robertson, Chief Operating Officer, National Galleries Scotland and a member of NMDC’s Planning and Remobilisation steering group (ICOM UK Institutional Member).

Interview with Catalina Cavelier, Lead on Intangible Heritage at the Cultural Heritage Institute of Bogotá, Colombia

Catherine McDermott, ICOM UK Secretary, talks to Catalina Cavelier leads the section of Intangible Heritage at the Cultural Heritage Institute of Bogotá, Colombia.

Catalina thank you for talking to us.  Would you set out your role and responsibilities?

My responsibilities involve devising and leading strategies for safeguarding the intangible heritage in the city of Bogota, including structuring and implementing projects and programmes, working with local communities on the basis of a strong participatory practice and advising heritage listing procedures. At present, intangible heritage plays a fundamental role for the Institute’s course of action; it is understood as a tool for building a more inclusive city on the basis of recognising cultural diversity and strengthening social tissue locally. Moreover, the cultural practices, traditional knowledge and systems of social relations that make up intangible heritage are seen as social assets that add value to territorial planning and land use in the city.


How have you – professionally – been dealing with lockdown in your city?

In Colombia, lockdown measures were put in place since mid-March. Though the measures have been slowly eased, they continue to be in place and it is likely that they tighten up again very soon. Professionally this has meant working from home on a 100% basis, all contact with colleagues is virtual since Bogota is the most affected city in the country.


How is your practice continuing to develop through this situation? 

Like many other cultural institutions, the current situation has opened up an opportunity to strengthen online outreach and engaging wider and maybe younger audiences. Programmes and activities that used to be based on on-site and face-to-face, such as heritage walks around the city, are now being done virtually through simple and at hand tools, such as Google Earth and Facebook live.


Have your projects and programmes needed to move online or change shape during lockdown?  How have you had to adapt?

Over the last four months or so the Cultural Heritage Institute of Bogotá has been in a stage of preparation and strategic planning in the light of the new government period that has recently started, meaning that projects and programmes are only starting to operate. However, adaptation to the circumstances of lockdown and health emergency hasn’t been easy since many of the projects and programmes are based on participatory processes that commonly involve direct interaction with groups of people in local settings. Participatory practice is understood as a mandate for intangible heritage management and the challenges of putting it into practice virtually are not minor; connectivity and access are big questions when it comes to engaging with diverse and sometimes marginalised communities.

So far, we have opted for strengthening heritage outreach and dissemination of digital contents to engage younger, wider and diverse audiences, as explained above. On the other hand, the Institute has decided to allocate additional funds for the programme of public grants and awards that it runs some time ago, as a strategy to provide additional and direct support to community-based processes around cultural heritage in the light of the economic recession caused by the pandemic and its impacts on the cultural sector. New grants and awards are being designed to support local research and creativity around heritage fields that we consider to be particularly relevant under the current situation, seeking to emphasise and make visible creativity and solidarity emerging as a result of the pandemic and lockdown measures.

Some of the aspects we will promote through the grants and awards programme are: rural and urban agricultural practices and traditional marketplaces and their key role in food security, sustainability and neighbourhood economies; traditional crafts and trades and other productive activities currently stagnated; social agency around heritage and self-management processes by local communities; traditional and innovative strategies for maintaining or generating social encounter, dialogue and connectivity.


After the pandemic is under control what are the changes and challenges that you and your institute are likely to face?

As suggested above, a serious economic recession derived from the pandemic has already started showing itself and it will only become more serious over the next months and probably the next years; the effects in the cultural and heritage sector are harsh and are affecting the more vulnerable. On the other hand, the lockdown measures have impacted on elements that constitute the very nature of heritage, that is the social relations and bonds that support it and give meaning to cultural practices, places and systems of knowledge from the past in the present day. In many cases, intangible heritage safeguarding depends on people gathering, permanently connecting to each other, finding ways of living together, exchanging knowledge and experience, participating actively and effectively, building common ground and sharing values.

Under this perspective, we will face challenges related both to economic recovery, social tissue restoration and the possibilities of participation under social distancing measures. As stated before, we are committed to supporting such processes and seeking to strengthen solidary economies, as well as innovative and traditional strategies for dialogue and social encounter. Intangible heritage visible in everyday practices, present in the social fabric of the city, will prove definite to overcome this crisis by living together and connecting to each other on the basis of our shared values about the past and their role in imagining new futures.

Before the pandemic arrived, it was clear that our doings around protecting cultural heritage were to be aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals. Now it is even clearer and more pressing to walk in that direction.

Community Engagement during COVID-19 at the House of Memory Museum, Medellín

This article was first published by ICOM https://icom.museum/en/news/community-engagement-during-covid-19-at-the-house-of-memory-museum-medellin/

The global crisis caused by the arrival of COVID-19 has not only forced us to rethink our daily lives and the way we work, but also to question the systems that have shaped our societies until today. The pandemic has exposed a shocking deficiency in all sectors of our society: medical, political, financial, industrial and cultural. Those who were already vulnerable now must fight to simply stay alive. Human rights defenders working with vulnerable communities have pointed out how groups such as the elderly, asylum seekers, refugees, members of the LGBTQAI+ community, undocumented workers, the homeless and those living in poverty have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

Faced with such a scenario, some museums who work closely with their communities have adapted their practices so that they can continue to fulfill their missions. For instance, the House of Memory Museum in Medellín, Colombia, together with the Culture Secretariat of Medellín, were mandated by the mayor’s office of Medellín to lead the COVID-19 strategy in the Commune 8: Villa Hermosa, a neighborhood where different ethnic groups, victims of the Colombian conflict, informal workers, Venezuelan migrants, and displaced communities converge.

Collaborative social actions to help communities 

The decision by the mayor’s office to include the House of Memory Museum in its strategy against COVID-19 was influenced by the years of community work carried out by the museum in order to build a relationship of trust with the various communities within its surroundings. In light of this commitment, the municipal government saw an opportunity to create a partnership to promptly assist those disproportionately affected by the pandemic. This unique scheme of cooperation between the municipal government and the museum has focused on four areas:

  • Communication: following the security measures and the guidelines established by the mayor’s office, members of the museum’s team are on the ground, listening to and evaluating the needs of community members and transferring this information back to the administration. This has established a channel of communication between the community and the municipal government.
  • Shelter: the museum’s team works to refer homeless people to temporary shelters built by the city so that they can improve their conditions for self-isolation and social distancing.
  • Health: the museum’s team is being trained by health professionals from Medellín’s hospitals on issues of prevention, reduction and treatment of the COVID-19 infection. In this way the museum can transfer this knowledge to people in the community who do not have access to it.
  • Food: the museum’s team is also distributing food to those unable to work due to quarantine.

The collaborative work with community leaders in Commune 8 has been essential for the museum to carry out the mandate assigned by the mayor’s office. For instance, the pre-existing relationship of trust between the museum and community leaders has facilitated the identification of families most in need so that the team can assist them promptly.

Preserving long-term community projects

At the same time, the museum continues to work remotely with the community on an agenda related to memory and peacebuilding, which includes:

  • The ‘Gathering of Memory Weavers’ project, in which women individually weave their memories during quarantine so that they can be united to form a collective art piece at the end of lockdown.
  • Re-activation and promotion of 10 virtual exhibitions on issues related to the Colombian conflict, memory, peace and reconciliation
  • Offering support for the development of the Casa Amiga Memory Museum project, a community museum of collective memories started by community organizations and women leaders in Commune 13.
  • Support in the development and management of strategic allies for the project: ‘Conquering borders’, a community initiative aiming to create a memory Boulevard through participatory approaches in Calle Nueva in the Commune 13.

The work being carried out in the Commune 8 neighborhood has also created an opportunity for the museum to learn about people’s experiences during quarantine. As a memory museum, the House of Memory Museum is responsible for preserving the memories and stories of those who have been most affected by the pandemic in an ethical and responsible manner.

The House of Memory Museum serves as a reference in a museum sector that is driven more by an obligation to assist and contribute to the betterment of every member of society and less by the desire to develop ‘blockbuster’ exhibitions aimed at pleasing a smaller, elite audience.

The current global health crisis is pushing us, as museum professionals, to radically rethink our sector from a perspective that favours the social role of museums over their previous positioning as elite institutions; and to re-imagine museums both as community spaces existing within and beyond their walls and as key agents that can assist society in times of crisis.  The House of Memory Museum in Medellín is showing the way.

Isabel Dapena – Head Curator, Museo Casa de la Memoria

Armando Perla – International Advisor on Museums, Human Rights and Social Inclusion, City of Medellín and Board member, IC-Ethics


More information about the House of Memory Museum

Scottish survey to understand audience engagement, pre-, during and post-lockdown

The Scotinform Cultural Survey was launched on 12 May 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent closure of cultural venues across Scotland.

Designed by Scotinform and distributed by the cultural sector, the aim of the Scotinform Cultural Survey is to understand how audiences were engaging with cultural organisations before lockdown, how this has changed during lockdown, and what we might expect as lockdown restrictions are eased.
Key findings for Scottish museums post-lockdown include:
  • Just over half of museum visitors say that they have concerns about being in public spaces, and that this ‘might’ or ‘definitely will’ affect how often they go out into these types of spaces.
  • 26% of museum visitors say that they will visit a museum as soon as possible when lockdown restrictions are lifted.
  • 18% say that they will visit museums more often than before and 68% say that it will make no difference.
  • Museum visitors expect a wide range of safety measures to be put in place by cultural venues. The most commonly cited were regular cleaning, clear communication of measures, planning spaces for social distancing and limiting the total number of people in the space.
Read the full reports for Scottish museums and galleries at http://www.scotinform.co.uk/cultural-survey/

Leading the Van Gogh Museum Through a Future With No Tourists

This article was first published in The New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/12/arts/design/van-gogh-museum-emilie-gordenker.html

Emilie Gordenker took over at the Amsterdam institution that attracts most of its visitors from abroad just months before the coronavirus lockdown began.

Surrounded by sunflowers, Emilie Gordenker stood on a yellow carpet rolled out in front of the Van Gogh Museum. On June 1, the institution’s new director was there to welcome the first visitors back after the coronavirus lockdown. About a dozen were lining up in the sunshine, six feet apart.

“We’ve waited eleven weeks for this moment,” said Ms. Gordenker. “It’s fantastic that we can reopen on such a radiant day.” Instead of shaking hands, she walked to an automatic hand sanitizer dispenser, demonstrated how to use it, and then pressed through the museum’s revolving glass doors.

The first ticket holders, Emma Overheul, 35, and Maarten Halma, 43, took a few tentative steps forward, passing a line of news cameras, like celebrities at a movie premiere. “In the last years there were always such huge groups of people,” Ms. Overheul said. “Now is a good opportunity to be here without all the enormous crowds.”

As the visitors continued to trickle in, Ms. Gordenker said she felt happy about reopening, even if the museum could only accommodate a maximum of 750 visitors over a six-hour day. It’s a far cry from the 6,000 visitors a day before the pandemic.

“It is going to feel slow,” she said. “We’re used to having so many more visitors here, but we have to be careful and do what we can.” Tickets must now be booked for specific time slots, and Ms. Gordenker said there were still plenty available. “I think people are still waiting to see how it goes,” she added.

Attracting visitors was not the problem Ms. Gordenker thought she’d be facing when she became director of one of Amsterdam’s most popular museums in February. A profile in the Dutch national newspaper NRC Handelsblad at the time heralded her move from the tranquil Mauritshuis Royal Picture Gallery in the Hague to the Van Gogh Museum with the headline, “It Will Never Be Quiet in the Museum Again.” Famous last words.

“We do disaster scenarios and the ones I was more prepared for were flooding or fire,” she said in an interview by video a month into the lockdown. “But a pandemic like this with a complete shutdown of the economy? No one has ever seen it before, and I don’t think anyone saw it coming.”

All museums need visitors to survive, but the Van Gogh Museum is particularly reliant on tourists. Unlike Dutch national museums, which are supported by substantial government subsidies, the Van Gogh relies on earned income — ticket sales, and revenue from the shop and cafe — for 89 percent of its budget. This is in large part because 85 percent of its visitors do not live in the Netherlands. That reality creates additional difficulties during an already challenging time.

So, Ms. Gordenker hopes that more local people will take the same view as Ms. Overheul’s perspective, and see this as a special opportunity to come in. That’s the message she wants to get out there.

“Now we are reorienting towards our Dutch public,” Ms. Gordenker said. “A lot of people here thought that the Van Gogh Museum is for tourists. That was a matter of perception that we need to change.”

For years, one of the museum’s biggest struggles was crowd control. In 2015, it opened a new wing with a larger entrance to move the winding lines off the street. When that wasn’t enough, the museum introduced a time-slot system, with visitors buying tickets online in advance.

Ms. Overheul, who used to visit the Van Gogh Museum when she was a student in the early 2000s, said that in the last five years or so, the museum was too crowded for her taste. “It’s not so relaxed anymore to visit a museum when there are like 30 people standing in front of all the great paintings,” she said. “Over the years, it started to feel more like a tourist thing.”

This perception wasn’t limited to the Van Gogh Museum, but extended to many of the city’s major tourist attractions such as the Anne Frank House and red-light district, but also to the city as a whole. Earlier this year, some media outlets were lamenting the tragedy of “over-tourism” in the city, with locals saying that Amsterdam’s distinct charm had been lost in the din of nearly 20 million tourists a year.

In recent years, taking cues from popular European destinations such as Venice and Barcelona, Amsterdam implemented measures to rein in unruly tourists, creating fines for “nuisance” behaviors like drinking alcohol in public or urinating in the street, restricting tour bus routes and increasing a tourist tax on hotel stays.

Geerte Udo, the chief executive of Amsterdam & Partners, a nonprofit that advises city authorities on branding and marketing, said those measures were intended to create a “sustainable visitor economy” that wouldn’t place “too much of a burden on locals.” The tourism industry directly supports about 11 percent of the jobs in Amsterdam, she said, and there were many other indirect economic benefits as well.

The shutdown has given the city a much-needed pause to weigh the value of tourism against its negative impact, Ms. Udo said in a telephone interview. “There are some people that are happy because they say, ‘This is the city I fell in love with 20 years ago,’” she said, but there would be negative impacts, too, from lower tourist numbers — particularly for arts and culture.

In the meantime, the city is trying to send a message to residents that their local attractions are open to them again. “We are working on a campaign that says, ‘Discover your own city, and discover your own country,’” said Ms. Udo, “because we see that there is a potential Dutch market that will not be able to go abroad this summer. They’ll say, ‘This is our chance.’”

Ms. Gordenker grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, with a Dutch mother and an American father, and moved to the Netherlands 12 years ago, after working as curator of Dutch and Flemish painting at the National Gallery of Scotland.

As director of the Mauritshuis, home to an exquisite collection of Dutch Golden Age paintings, including Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with A Pearl Earring,” she oversaw the $40.6 million renovation and expansion, reached out to younger audiences with new technologies, such as a virtual Vermeer museum, and invited the public to observe research and restoration projects that were formerly in-house affairs.

Gary Tinterow, the director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and a member of the Van Gogh Museum’s supervisory board, said that during her tenure at the Mauritshuis Ms. Gordenker became respected as a cultural leader who had fully integrated into Dutch culture.

“We felt that Emilie had the right balance of local, meaning, Dutch and European, and international contacts,” he said in an interview, “as well as the right balance of new thinking and entrepreneurial instincts, with respect for scholarship and art history.”

At the Van Gogh Museum, she succeeded the German curator Axel Ruger, who became the director of the Royal Academy of Arts in London last June.

Ms. Gordenker has spent nearly two-thirds of her tenure at the museum so far in lockdown, and will continue to work from home for the coming months as well, she said, to “set a good example for the other staff members who are able to do so.” Of more than 300 staff, she said about 40 are essential to keep the museum open to visitors.

Her biggest challenge will be to figure out how to make up for the loss of earned income. For every month the museum was closed, it lost about $4.3 million, Ms. Gordenker said. Even with its doors open, it is earning about 10 percent of its former revenues, and visitor numbers are likely to stay low for many months.

“I feel extremely nervous,” Ms. Gordenker said in April. “As the month has gone on it’s become clearer and clearer that it’s going to last a lot longer than we’d hoped. If we keep going like this, we will burn through our reserves. I am worried about the future of the museum and the people who work there.”

A few weeks later, Ingrid van Engelshoven, the minister of education, culture and science in the Netherlands, visited the Van Gogh Museum and announced that it would receive additional government support, without specifying an amount. “No one has to worry that the Van Gogh Museum will go under,” she said later in an interview. “It will always be there, and we will help them to survive the crisis.”

On June 1, when the museum reopened, Ms. Gordenker said she still hadn’t heard from the culture ministry about the financial support, but she was a little less anxious.

“I have to do it step by step because there are too many unknowns to factor in right now,” she said. “I like to focus on how creative you can get with a little bit less.”

European Heritage Awards 2021 – Call for Entries

Europa Nostra is now calling for entries for the 2021 Awards. In this Transition Year, the UK is eligible for all the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards.

Find out more information and how to apply at http://www.europeanheritageawards.eu/

The European Heritage Awards/Europa Nostra Awards were launched in 2002 by the European Commission and have been organised by Europa Nostra ever since. The Awards promote best practices related to heritage conservation, management, research, education and communication. In this way, the Awards scheme contributes to a stronger public recognition of cultural heritage as a strategic resource for Europe’s society and economy.

The Awards honour every year up to 30 outstanding heritage achievements from all parts of Europe. Up to four are selected as Grand Prix laureates and one receives the Public Choice Award, chosen in an online poll. All the winners receive a certificate as well as a plaque. The Grand Prix laureates also receive €10,000 each.

In 2020 and 2021, two new ILUCIDARE Special Prizes will be awarded from among the submitted applications. ILUCIDARE is a project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme with the aim of building international connections for heritage-led innovation. The European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards will contribute to ILUCIDARE by identifying, promoting and facilitating the upscaling of best practices in cultural heritage-led innovation and diplomacy.


Specialist juries made up of independent experts assess the applications and select the winners in the four categories.

1. Conservation

Outstanding achievements in the conservation, enhancement and adaptation to new uses of cultural heritage.

2. Research

Outstanding research and knowledge transfer projects which lead to tangible effects in the conservation and enhancement of cultural heritage in Europe.

3. Dedicated service by individuals or organisations

Open to individuals or organisations whose contributions over a long period of time demonstrate excellence in the protection, conservation and enhancement of cultural heritage in Europe

4. Education, training and awareness-raising

Outstanding initiatives related to education, training and awareness-raising in the field of tangible and/or intangible cultural heritage, to promote and/or to contribute to the sustainable development of the environment.

Best achievements

Each year, the most remarkable heritage achievements in Europe are recognised.

Call for Papers – Museum International: Museum Collection Storage – 15 August deadline

Museum Collection Storage. Vol. 73, Nº 289-290.

ICOM is preparing an issue of Museum International on the theme Museum Collection Storage. All proposals submitted will be assessed for suitability and if chosen, the subsequent articles will go through a double-blind peer review process. The issue is expected to be published, in collaboration with Taylor&Francis/Routledge, in June 2021. 


Although it forms an essential component of museum activity, museum collection storage has failed to arouse the interest of politicians, researchers and other stakeholders, whose attention is focused on museums’ public spaces. However, most museums store a large part of their collections – up to 99% in certain institutions – in these spaces. A significant number of museum professionals also work in these spaces, ensuring the preservation and correct handling of objects: registrars, conservators, restorers, among others. Although often perceived as dusty, inactive spaces, reserves are in fact essential to the management and preventive conservation of collections. In a context of increasing collections and their growing circulation, storage facilities appear to be a central issue for museum policies. 

Events in recent years have brought museum collection storage back to the fore. Natural disasters (floods, fires, earthquakes, etc.) have highlighted the risk management issues that collections face in these spaces. Major renovation projects in certain institutions have also brought to light the economic and ecological challenges linked to the construction and maintenance of these conservation spaces. From an economic perspective, a certain number of experts plead for the limitation of these spaces, which they consider to house ‘unproductive stock’. For efficiency reasons, many establishments have also gradually decided to manage shared storage facilities, promoting the emergence of autonomous entities separate from exhibition spaces. This dissociation between the museum and its storage facilities reopens the debate on the collection’s role in the museum. At the same time, certain initiatives, such as the creation of visible storage or the opening of interpretation spaces in independent storage facilities, contribute to their visibility. However, the different dimensions to these facilities remain relatively unexplored. 

This issue of Museum International will open the discussion on museum collection storage in museums worldwide. An ICCROM study, conducted in 2011, found that two out of three museums reported lack of space, and that one in two museums had overcrowded museum collection storage. Almost 10 years later, how has the situation changed? What are museum storage conditions like in Europe, Africa, Asia, America, Oceania? What are the design templates for these spaces around the world? What alternative traditions to the Western museum storage model exist, and how are they used? Do professionals have sufficient resources to preserve their collections? How have conservation norms and standards been adapted? 

On a historical level, this issue will trace the transformations initiated since the beginning of this century, on the one hand by paying tribute to those who have advocated for improved conditions for heritage preservation, and, on the other, by examining the development of shared spaces, outsourcing, and the professionalisation of museum collection storage. We will be particularly interested in papers/contributions that address the concept of interpreting museum collection storage and the challenges of this process: guided tours, artists’ invitations, etc. We would also like to hear about special conditions required for sacred objects or sensitive heritage, which are subject to various display rules, and culturally sanctioned collection management practices. 

Should storage spaces be another means to enhance collections, complementary to exhibitions? Or do they provide an opportunity to transform the relationship with collections, through the visibility (or invisibility) of the conservation and collection management processes? How has museum collection storage evolved and what could their future look like? What is their place in the contemporary museum? How are the roles of those working in museum collection storage to be defined? 

Possible topics related to museum collection storage include, but are not limited to: 

  • Architecture, risk management and preventive conservation 
  • Empowerment and shared storage
  • Conservation and presentation of objects in reserve
  • Sustainable development
  • Collection interpretation in storage
  • Storage professions and training in storage management
  • Economic models for storage management
  • Museums without storage spaces; autonomous storage spaces
  • Concept of storage through history and civilisations
  • Pioneers in storage design and management
  • Storage for specific objects (sacred or sensitive heritage)
  • Alternative storage solutions

This issue aims to contribute to the emergence of a history of museum collection storage and their professionals – which remains to be written – but above all to a reflection on their future. We welcome proposals for papers that explore this critical area of the museum endeavour. 


Abstracts of between 250 and 300 words, written in English, French or Spanish, should be submitted for selection to publications@icom.museum. Contributions will be on a voluntary basis. 

The following information should be included with the abstract: 

  • Title of submitted paper 
  • Name(s) of author(s)
  • Professional background

The abstract submission deadline is 15 August 2020. 

The abstracts received will be examined on a blind review basis by a panel of experts on the topic. 

Museum International is currently published in English and Chinese only. However, proposals in the other two official languages of ICOM (French and Spanish) will also be considered. If your abstract is selected, we will send you guidelines for your full article, which you will be given approximately two months to complete. You may also submit your full article in either English, French or Spanish. 


An abstract is a summary of the journal manuscript. 

It should be no longer than 250-300 words, and provide a succinct overview of the article. 

The abstract should read as a standalone document. 

Abstracts sent to Museum International should include the following sections: 

  1. Introduction: describes the overall topic dealt with in the article and provides background to the study.
  2. Research question(s)/Critical issue(s): explains the key research question or critical issue, by stating the problem addressed. It should also highlight the gap in existing research on the topic.
  3. Innovation: explains the approach to the research question/issue, and the new perspective adopted.
  4. Methodology: explains how the research was carried out (e.g. case studies, interviews, etc.) or the means used to address the critical issue.
  5. Conclusion: outlines the impact of the research or the outcome of addressing the critical issue, and why the findings/outcomes are important.
  6. Selected references: a selection of the references that will be cited in the article.