The ICOM Definition of a Museum

The concept of a museum is not confined to the physical building, but also encompasses objects housed inside it. These are the jewels of a museum, and their safekeeping is crucial to preserve their value for future generations. Curators are the key to the success of a museum, because they educate the public about the objects while also safeguarding the objects themselves. They must be well informed about each object, and they must be able to share this knowledge with the general public.


The International Council of Museums (ICOM) defines a museum as an institution that has educational and research purposes. The definition focuses on the work of a museum to advance knowledge, culture, and society. The current ICOM definition largely mirrors the definition proposed by the Museum Association. However, the latter emphasises the work of a museum to improve society. This is reflected in the upcoming ICOM General Conference, which is scheduled to take place in 2022.

The ICOM’s process for defining a museum has been in place since the early 2000s. This committee was created to define a universal definition of a museum. The committee has met four times and made no progress. In June, the French branch of ICOM held a meeting to discuss the proposed definition. The objections were repeated. Burcak Madran, the chair of the French branch of ICOM, pointed out that the proposed definition contained political terms that could cause problems in authoritarian countries.

The ICOM’s new definition process began in 2002, but it made little progress in its first phase. It is based on 4 rounds of consultation and 11 steps, and will be presented for a vote at the next ICOM General Conference in 2022. The process is expected to last 18 months. The proposed schedule starts on December 10, 2020 and ends in early May 2022. This schedule may be revised depending on circumstances. If there is significant change in the timeline, the process will be completed in 2020.

The International Council of Museums (ICOM) has a definition for museums that differs from the ICOM’s definition. Nevertheless, both definitions stress the work that the museum can do to benefit the public and the researchers. While ICOM has a long history of defining a museum, the process of defining it has a respectable history. It is based on the concept of a museum as a collection of objects.

The ICOM’s definition of a museum has been drafted based on the needs of the public. It is an international organization that serves to protect and conserve artifacts and objects. The ICOM definition of a museum is the official term used by members of the ICOM. The ICOM membership’s purpose is to provide access to the public and researchers. This is why the definition of a museum should be standardized. Thousands of museums are located in every country and city.