Resources > International Council of Museums (ICOM)
17 May 2011

International Council of Museums (ICOM)

The International Council of Museums (ICOM) is the only international organisation representing museums and museum professionals.

Since 1946, ICOM has assisted members of the museum community in their mission to preserve, conserve and share cultural heritage. ICOM also takes advice from institutional partners to achieve its objectives.

ICOM is governed in an inclusive and hierarchical manner, on an international level. The organisation gathers more than 32,000 members and is made up of National Committees, which represent 136 countries and territories, and International Committees, which gather experts in museum specialties worldwide. ICOM Secretariat is situated at UNESCO House, Paris, France.


The International Council of Museums serves society and its development and is committed to guaranteeing the protection, the conservation and the transfer of cultural goods.

Thanks to international projects with partners like UNESCO, INTERPOL or the World Customs Organisation (WCO), ICOM carries out several missions such as fighting against illicit traffic in cultural goods, risk management, promotion of culture and knowledge and protection of tangible and intangible heritage.

ICOM relies on the network of experts and professionals that form the National and International Committees for these wide-ranging programmes. ICOM is the only international organisation that can quickly mobilise the most renowned museum specialists worldwide. The International Council of Museums is a formidable network that gathers museums and museum professionals from all over the world who share the vision of a world where the importance of natural and cultural heritage is universally acknowledged.

The ICOM network is made up of 20,000 museums, 32,000 experts, 117 National Committees, 30 International Committees, 5 Regional Alliances and 20 Affiliated Organisations present in 136 countries and territories. Thanks to this international network, ICOM is a responsive organisation, capable of intervening at any time on museum-related concerns.


Thanks to its large network, the International Council of Museums organises hundreds of events every year and takes part in many activities. International conferences, scientific and technical meetings, practical workshops and training activities are some examples of events where ICOM communicates its international vision of the museum community.


The International Council of Museums has one of the largest portfolios of specialised publications, reports and databases related to museums and their specialisations, which are stored at the UNESCO-ICOM Museum Information Centre.

Through its network, ICOM publishes or takes part in the publication of major books for the international museum community every year. In order to make knowledge accessible to a wider public, ICOM has created powerful databases and search engines, available through the website.