The New UNESCO Definition of a Museum
The UNESCO definition of a museum is the most widely used worldwide. The new definition should take the role of a public institution into consideration. It is the only universal definition of the term. While museums are not governmental institutions, they are institutions in service of the community. They acquire, preserve, communicate, and exhibit the intangible and tangible heritage of humanity and the environment. The purpose of a museum is to serve education, research, and enjoyment.
The new definition is based on a request from the ICOM’s German branch. It focuses on the defining characteristics of a museum, rather than the nebulous features of a museum. It is the result of four rounds of consultation. The process is divided into 11 steps. It is expected to take 18 months to complete. The proposed schedule will begin on December 10 2020 and will end in early May 2022. It may be revised depending on circumstances.
The new definition of a museum was approved in October 2017 by ICOM’s General Conference. In a meeting in early May of 2018, ICOM’s French branch discussed the new proposal. The meeting was attended by representatives of the organization’s national branches. Several countries voiced objections to the definition, including Turkey, France, and the United Kingdom. The ICOM’s French branch chair, Burcak Madran, said the proposed definition would be “policy-driven” and could lead to problems in authoritarian countries. As a result, ICOM’s Chair resigned in June, but the process is not over.
The new definition of a museum was based on ICOM’s consultation. It will be subject to vote at the next ICOM General Conference in 2022. During the consultation process, ICOM will continue to seek input from members on the definition of a museum. The ICOM Define process has been a long and difficult process. Its results will not be final until the ICOM Board approves the final version of the definition.
After four rounds of consultations, the Standing Committee for the Museum Definition has developed a new methodology that aims to provide greater transparency and participatory processes. The new methodology will be based on the consensus of the Standing Committee and will involve 11 steps. The process will take 18 months to complete, and the proposed date is December 10 for the next ICOM General Conference. The deadline may be adjusted according to different circumstances. In the meantime, the ICOM continues to work on the ICOM Define process.
The ICOM’s definition of a museum is based on its definition. It includes the preservation and display of objects of cultural and scientific significance. There are different types of museums. Some focus on objects, while others place importance on a nation’s history or culture. A good example of a museum is a collection of works that can be viewed by the public. Some museums are simply collections of objects, while others are organized around a theme.