ICOM updates the definition of Museum
1 September 2022

Towards museums more accessible, inclusive and sustainable

Univocally defining what it is meant by a museum is fundamental not only to define its area of ​​interest and field of action, but also to guide strategies, policies and adopting a shared vision on the mission of today’s museums.

ICOM Extraordinary General Assembly approved in Prague a
new definition of Museum

On August 24th 2022, as part of the Extraordinary General Assembly convened in Prague, the ICOM (International Council of Museums) approved an updated definition of “museum”.

The new definition, which amends Art. 3 of the ICOM Statute, was voted almost unanimously (92.4% of votes), involving 126 Committees around the world.

The approval marks an important milestone in the new presidency of the Italian Alberto Garlandini and the coordinated “ICOM Define” Committee which worked on the proposal for 18 months.

The definition of Vienna (2007)

A museum is a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment.

The definition of Prague (2022)

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 new definition keeps unchanged the mission entrusted to museums to promote the study, conservation and enhancement of cultural heritage. The main novelty introduced in the updated version concerns the focus on accessibility, inclusiveness and sustainability.

The shift towards a modern conception of museum is up with the times. We wish all museums to continue being promoters of change and supporters of diversity.

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