Thank you for submitting your proposals for the new ICOM Museum Definition!

20 July 2020


Thank you for participating in rethinking a new museum definition for ICOM.

The board of CIMAM is grateful to its members for contributing with key ideas and relevant thoughts to the new Museum Definition of ICOM.

Having reviewed the proposals received, the board identifies that the new Museum definition should embody these three essential concepts. CIMAM's proposal will be submitted to ICOM by August 1.


Art should be represented in the museum definition, besides artifacts and specimens.

“they hold works of art, artefacts and specimens in trust for society ..."
“they hold and mediate art, artefacts and …"


The educational, learning, community building and enjoyment aspects are key experiences that museums provide.

“for the purposes of education, increased understanding, exchange and enjoyment…”
“and platforms for learning, study and enjoyment…”
“the museum, being eminently educational, …”


Museums should be on a path to a sustainable future, committed to fight back the climate emergency and taking responsibility to achieve the United Nations’ Museums and the Sustainable Development Goals.

"They are participatory and transparent and work in active partnership with and for diverse communities to collect, preserve, research, interpret, exhibit, and enhance understandings of the world, aiming to contribute to human dignity and social justice, global equality, “and to environmental sustainability and planetary wellbeing".

Inclusive rather than Democratizing

The word democratizing is problematic for those museums in non-democratic contexts.

CIMAM instead suggests removing it and leave “inclusive”:

“Museums are inclusive and polyphonic spaces for critical dialogue about the pasts, the presents and the futures.”

The ICOM Standing Committee on Museum Definition, Prospects and Potentials (MDPP) will publish the final proposal in between December 2020 and March 2021, so that ICOM members can submit their final vote in June 2021.

ICOM's website