New museum definition approved by ICOM

slide from the ICOM Prague conference promoting the new museum definition

During the 26th ICOM General Conference in Prague, the ICOM Extraordinary General Assembly approved a new museum definition on Wednesday 24 August 2022. "The vote is the culmination of an 18-month participatory process that involved hundreds of museum professionals from 126 National Committees from all over the world." It now includes important changes in what the roles of museums are, "recognising the importance of inclusivity, community participation and sustainability."

"A museum is a non-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."

EXARC is an affiliated organisation to ICOM and has been involved in this from the start. We were at the General Conference in Kyoto (JP) when the museum definition was first discussed (read more on this in our news item from 2019) and we were present in Prague when the new definition was accepted.

At the General Conference in Prague this year, EXARC also hosted a session on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in open-air museums. We had a good dialogue with representatives of such museums as well as with several International Committees which each revolve around a specific museum theme, like for example, the committee on archaeological and historical museums.

EXARC is looking forward to consequently updating its own definition of archaeological open-air museums, dating to 2008. This will be an exciting process.