The French National Committee of ICOM
The French National Committee of ICOM has over 4,800 institutional and individual members, forming a broad and diverse community of actors working all over the country in every discipline, from fine arts to science and technology, natural history, ecomuseums and living-history museums. Together, the members of ICOM France work to represent and promote museums and support their individual professional goals, from managing collections to reaching a wider audience, training, integrating new job roles, adopting new technologies and identifying sources of funding.
As a not-for-profit association, governed by the French Act of 1901 and active since 1946, ICOM France is a key player in the museum sector at both the national and international level, thanks to its large membership and representative weight in the non-governmental organisation, the International Council of Museums (ICOM).
The Board of ICOM France is made up of elected representatives and ex officio members. It represents the entire profession: large and small, national and regional institutions, professional associations and individuals, people working on the ground and researchers. The French Ministry of Culture is an ex officio members and supports its activities.
ICOM France at the national level
Deals with essential questions affecting the museum professionals community and the role of museums in the “cultural landscape”. ICOM France instigated the Code of Ethics for Museums, which has been translated into 36 languages and has forged a common culture between professionals worldwide, for over 30 years. It provides a copy of the Code to all its members and helps them to implement it in practice. The Code also acts as a point of reference for discussion days focusing on changes in ethics and evening debates that are open to both professionals and students.
Engages in public debate on current issues and the future of institutions and professionals. It is a key point of contact for public decision-makers on museums policy.
Monitors the changes underway in the life of museums through its member network, from museum closures to collections at risk, changes in job roles and skills, ways of welcoming visitors, developments in event programming, funding, the balance between the public and private sectors, regional policies, etc. Every year, ICOM France holds a day for professionals that coincides with its AGM, for members to meet each other and discuss the key issues they face.
ICOM France at the international level
Is the main contributor to the International Council of Museums – ICOM (40,000 members in 141 countries), which gives it influence and visibility all over the world. ICOM France encourages its members to get involved in the 30 international themed committees of the International Council of Museums by keeping them informed about the committees’ working groups and providing support so that they can take part in annual events and meetings.
Consistently promotes French excellence in museums and works proactively to maintain the influence of French culture and the French language. It is supported in these activities by the General Delegation for the French Language and Languages of France (DGLFLF) of the French Ministry of Culture.
Manages the France-Canada Agreement on Museums, under the direction of the European and International Affairs Unit of the Department of Heritage, providing French and Canadian professionals with opportunities to share experiences.
Contributes to enhancing the definition of museums and updating the criteria for belonging to the museums profession, by sharing ideas with other national committees. It is involved in various European museums networks, and participates in and organises working meetings on cross-cutting topics of strategic importance to institutions and their officials, such as legal questions relating to intellectual property or changing concepts of public interest.
Museums bear scientific, social and cultural responsibility. They tell people about their history and help them to share it. They bridge the gap between cultures and generations, create an emotional response and help make learning enjoyable. They must also identify what will affect contemporary culture in the future.
ICOM France is committed to serving its members to achieve these aims and supporting them in their work.