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August 1, 2022

ICOM General Conference in Prague 2022 Conference, News

The General Conference is the main event of the International Council of Museums (ICOM).


Prague, capital of the Czech Republic and a magnificent open-air museum, welcomes the 26th ICOM General Conference in the week of 20–28 August 2022. Museum professionals from around the world will put forward the topics and set the direction of the museum sector for the next three years at least.

We will be interested in the strength, position and capacity of museums in building a free, democratic and educated society, reactions of museums to the challenges and needs of the 21st century; and the ability to cope with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, both societal and economic. The results of the search for a new definition of “museum” will be presented at ICOM Prague 2022.

The theme of the general conference will be discussed in three main areas:

Purpose: Museums and Civil Society
In recent times, many voices have been raised regarding the role cultural institutions should play within their own local communities. The democratic battles fought worldwide in the name of human rights urge museums to take an active stance towards a fair advancement of civil society. Believing that the cultural sector can remain neutral in the face of exclusion and discrimination would endanger museums’ own relevance. This plenary session stimulates a wider debate on projects and ideas capable of enabling museums to take on a key role as agents of social change.

Sustainability: Museums and Resilience
Climate change, natural disasters and a wide range of environmental concerns call for the implementation of more effective actions from global institutions. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically underlined the need to develop more sustainable funding models for museums and other cultural institutions. In this context, can museums, through their activities and programmes, actively participate in the creation of sustainable models for contemporary societies? A varied group of panellists will provide an opportunity to share experiences and innovative ways to move towards a sustainable future.

Vision: Museums and Leadership
Disruption is emerging as a key factor for contemporary museum leadership. Museum directors are faced with the difficult tasks of encouraging their colleagues to find new solutions to unprecedented issues, as they seek ways for their organisations to endure and survive. Expert panellists from renowned international institutions will debate on the challenges faced by museum leaders today, including the integration of physical and digital, the need for new business models, a greater engagement with the social role of museums and more.

Delivery: Museums and New Technologies
New technologies for museums are not only precious tools for creating digital exhibitions and improve audience engagement, but also effective resources to protect and store collections, reduce organisational costs and expand accessibility in cultural institutions. The application of digital instruments accelerated due to the recent forced closures of most museums worldwide: several museums have resorted to the use of digital tools to maintain contact and engage with their publics remotely. This plenary session addresses the potential of new technologies to meet the different needs of contemporary museums.

On August 24, the ICOM General Assembly will be held, where a new definition of the term “museum” will be presented. Assembly members, representatives of national committees, regional alliances, associated organizations will take part in voting for the election of the new president and members of the ICOM Executive Board. ICOM members can view candidate portfolios in their personal membership area.

In 2022, for the first time, the ICOM General Conference will be held in a hybrid format.

‘Museums have the Power to Change the World Around Us!’


About ICOM General conferences:

ICOM’s General Conference is a worldwide reputed hub for exchange about the topical issues museums tackle today and the most innovative solutions. 

Since 1948, every three years, ICOM gathers the international museum community around a theme of crucial interest to facilitate cultural exchange, to promote international cooperation, and to inspire local actions in order to allow museums to continue their public service mission to the society.

More than 3.000 participants from all international backgrounds come together to attend debates, round tables, panels, networking events and cultural activities.

In parallel, an International Museum Fair, where suppliers and museums showcase their latest projects and products, takes place in the whole week.

The three key moments of the ICOM’s General Conference are:

  • Inspiring speeches by world-renowned professionals on multidisciplinary subjects concerning the international museum community;
  • Scientific discussions on the conference theme among ICOM’s International Committees;
  • Administrative sessions to summarise and evaluate the actions conducted over the past three-year period and to initiate the new working term.