The International Council of Museums (ICOM) is an international organization of museums and museum professionals which is committed to the conservation, continuation and communication to society of the world's natural and cultural heritage, present and future, tangible and intangible.

Created in 1946, ICOM is a non-governmental organization maintaining formal relations with UNESCO and having a consultative status with the United Nations' Economic and Social Council.

As a non-profit organization, ICOM is financed primarily by membership fees and supported by various governmental and other bodies. It carries out part of UNESCO's programme for museums. Based in Paris (France), the ICOM Headquarters houses both the ICOM Secretariat and the UNESCO-ICOM Museum Information Centre.

The 19,000 members of ICOM in 150 countries participate in the national, regional and international activities of the organization: workshops, publications, training, twinning programmes, and the promotion of museums through International Museum Day (May 18, annually).
The membership participates in the activities of 115 National Committees and 29 International Committees. Some National Committees have also organized on a regional level to reinforce their action. ICOM is affiliated with 13 international associations.

The ICOM Triennial Programme of Activities adopted by the General Assembly is implemented by the ICOM Secretariat as well as National and International Committees who contribute to the realization of ICOM's programmes. ICOM's activities respond to the challenges and needs of the museum profession and are focused on the following themes:

  professional cooperation and exchange
dissemination of knowledge and raising public awareness of museums
training of personnel
advancement of professional standards
elaboration and promotion of professional ethics
preservation of heritage and combating the illicit traffic in cultural property

If you are a museum professional and wish to become a member of ICOM, please contact the Membership Service.

A wide variety of documents about additional aspects of ICOM's organizational history and structure are available in the Home Page.


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