ICOM & OECD: Guide for Local Governments, Communities and Museums


Building on its sustainability agenda, ICOM joins forces with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to strengthen the role museums play in local development.


During 2017 and 2018, several museums and museum professionals, ICOM committee representatives and members met regularly and worked together with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and ICOM Secretariat to draft a Guide for Local Governments, Communities and Museums.
With the aim of highlighting the role museums play in local development the Guide for Local Governments, Communities and Museums is a road map for local governments, museums and museum professionals on how to jointly define a local development agenda that promotes a more sustainable future.


Over the last decade, ICOM has been strengthening its partnerships with high-level intergovernmental organisations to promote the value of museums in contemporary society. The Guide for Local Governments and Museums builds on the UNESCO 2015 Recommendation concerning the Protection and Promotion of Museums and Collections, their Diversity and their Role in Society, drafted by ICOM, by suggesting concrete ways in which museums and local governments can collaborate to ensure museums remain high on local decision and policy-makers’ agenda.


Organised around five major themes: cultural development and education (1), economic development and innovation (2), urban regeneration and community development (3), inclusion, health and well-being (4) and managing museums for local development (5), the Guide for Local Governments and Museums:


    Identifies policy options and measurement indicators to help local governments and museums to increase the development impact of cultural heritage;
    Builds a repository of good practices;
    Distills lessons for policies in the area of culture and tourism, employment and skills, health, business development, innovation and spatial planning.


ICOM and the OECD will launched the Guide in Venice, Italy, during an OECD conference entitled Unleashing the Transformative Power of Culture and Creativity for Local Development held on 6-7 December 2018 in co-operation with the European Commission and UNESCO.


During the Venice conference, ICOM and the OECD co-hosted a session entitled "Cultural Heritage and Local Development: Maximising the impact to discuss the importance of cultural heritage for economic development and urban regeneration, as well as potential partnerships between museums and local governments to enhance education, well-being and inclusion."


The  Guide  provides  a  roadmap  for  local  governments, communities,  and  museums  on  how  to  define  together  a  local  development  agenda  that promotes a more sustainable future by mobilising the transformative power of culture.  Culture is increasingly high on the agenda of OECD cities and regions, both in its own right and as part of inclusive growth efforts.


The OECD has been working for several years on producing data and evidence on the linkages between culture and local development, job creation, tourism and social inclusion. This work seeks to help policymakers, both at the local and  national  level,  to  design local development strategies that  leverage culture and target public investments effectively. Through their manifold activities,  museums play an important role in addressing contemporary  social issues.  By  strengthening  creativity,  a  sense  of  belonging  and  civic engagement, museums have the power to contribute to the economy, social capital and the well-being of a local community.