ICOM Code of Ethics

The cornerstone of ICOM is the ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums. It sets minimum standards of professional practice and performance for
museums and their staff. In joining the organisation, ICOM members undertake to abide by this Code.

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 of ICOM and the payment of the annual subscription to ICOM are an affirmation of the ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums.
The ICOM Code of Professional Ethics was adopted unanimously by the 15th General Assembly of ICOM in Buenos Aires (Argentina) on 4 November, 1986. It was amended by the 20th General Assembly in Barcelona (Spain) on 6 July 2001, retitled ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums, and revised
by the 21st General Assembly in Seoul (Republic of Korea) on 8 October, 2004. First published in the three official languages of ICOM, the Code of Ethics has been translated into numerous other languages by ICOM’s committees.

ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums – download

The ICOM Code of Ethics for Natural History Museums supplements, and is complementary to, the ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums. It was developed between December 2006 and November 2012 to address specific issues relevant to the life and earth sciences. The purpose of the document is to define ethical standards on issues specific to Natural History Museums, providing standards of professional practice that can serve as a normative basis for museum institutions.

ICOM Code of Ethics for Natural History Museums – download

Considering the complexity of the ethical questions affecting the work of museums today, the Checklist is a tool for two purposes: it sets out the 8 organising principles that shape the detailed articles of the ICOM Code, as well as providing orientation and support in dealing with these complex topics; and it offers a list of contacts for further advice on particular questions.

Checklist on Ethics of Cultural Heritage Ownership – download