ICOM Code of Ethics
Exemplary ethical practices by museum professionals are essential for ICOM members.
ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums was adopted in 1986 and revised in 2004. It establishes the values and principles shared by ICOM and the international museum community. It is a reference tool translated into 38 languages and it sets minimum standards of professional practice and performance for museums and their staff.
By joining ICOM, each member agrees to respect this code.
Status of the ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums
The ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums has been prepared by the International Council of Museums. It is the statement of ethics for museums referred to in the ICOM Statutes. The Code reflects principles generally accepted by the international museum community. Membership in ICOM and the payment of the annual subscription to ICOM are an affirmation of the ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums.
A Minimum Standard for Museums
The ICOM Code represents a minimum standard for museums. It is presented as a series of principles supported by guidelines for desirable professional practice. In some countries, certain minimum standards are defined by law or government regulation. In others, guidance on and assessment of minimum professional standards may be available in the form of ’Accreditation’, ’Registration’, or similar evaluative schemes. Where such standards are not defined, guidance can be obtained through the ICOM Secretariat, a relevant National Committee of ICOM, or the appropriate International Committee of ICOM. It is also intended that individual nations and the specialised subject organisations connected with museums should use this Code as a basis for developing additional standards.
Table of Contents
- 1. Museums preserve, interpret and promote the natural and cultural inheritance of humanity
- 2. Museums that maintain collections hold them in trust for the benefit of society and its development
- 3. Museums hold primary evidence for establishing and furthering knowledge
- 4. Museums provide opportunities for the appreciation, understanding and promotion of the natural and cultural heritage
- 5. Museums hold resources that provide opportunities for other public services and benefits
- 6. Museums work in close collaboration with the communities from which their collections originate as well as those they serve
- 7. Museums operate in a legal manner
- 8. Museums operate in a professional manner