The ICOM Standing Committee on the Definition of a Museum


According to the International Council on Museums (ICOM), a museum is a permanent institution dedicated to the conservation and display of collections of cultural and scientific significance. Elaine Heumann Gurian offers a definition for a museum. She suggests five different categories for museums: object-oriented, national-oriented, cultural-historical, and interdisciplinary. These categories are not intended as a definition but rather as a guideline.

The committees’ initial work on the definition of a museum was based on their own activities and the views and concerns of the membership. The process is currently at consultation stage and is divided into 11 steps. It is estimated to take 18 months to complete the consultation. The proposed schedule will start on December 10, 2020, and end in early May 2022. It is expected that there will be more consultation rounds in the future, but for now, the committee is proceeding with caution.

The new committee has received more than 80 responses to the consultation process, and a draft definition is being developed. The new definition will be submitted to the next ICOM General Conference in 2022. It is based on four rounds of consultation. The process will take 18 months. The proposed schedule will begin on December 10, 2020, and conclude early May of 2022. Depending on the outcome of this process, the schedule may change. In the meantime, the committees will continue to work on the definition and develop a proposal.

The committee is still working on the definition and will continue to hold consultations. In the meantime, they are creating a new methodology for the consultation process. It aims for more transparency, democratic participation, and careful consideration of all the proposals. During the consultation process, the Standing Committee for the Museum Definition will present their proposed definition to the membership of the ICOM General Conference in 2022. This process has been delayed because of the lack of consensus among the members.

The new definition of a museum has to meet the ICOM’s guidelines. In the previous phase, the committee developed a proposal for a new museum definition based on the ICOM’s own definition. The new definition will be presented and voted on at the ICOM General Conference in 2022. It has four rounds of consultation, each consists of eleven steps. The process is expected to take about 18 months, and the results will be submitted to the ICOM in December.

The committee’s work will continue through the process of consultation. After the consultation process is completed, the committee will make a recommendation for the final definition of a museum to the ICOM General Conference. The committee will also need to make sure the definition is as inclusive as possible. After consulting the membership, the committee will then have to submit the report to the ICOM for approval. It will then be voted upon at the next ICOM General Conference.