ICOM Code of Ethics 1986-2016
In 1986, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) adopted the first Code of Ethics establishing universal principles, providing a source of shared responsibility for collections and natural and cultural heritage for museum professionals across the five continents. Abiding by the Code of Ethics became “considered a minimum standard for membership in the museum profession”, making it both the template and reflection of rules of professional conduct in the international museum community. Thirty years after its adoption, this international conference will conduct a first evaluation of the Code of Ethics and its universality. Museum professionals, specialists in natural and cultural heritage, and legal experts will discuss the principles and issues on which museum ethics are based – and how they have even inspired national and international laws – and will offer a forward-looking debate on this body of ethical and professional standards for museums which benefit society.
On the agenda are three sessions on the origins of the Code of Ethics (chaired by Martin Schärer, Chair of the ICOM Ethics Committee), ethical principles and issues for museums (chaired by David Vuillaume, Secretary General of ICOM Switzerland), and the ICOM Code of Ethics as a template for new standards (chaired by Benno Widmer, head of museums and collections at the Federal Culture Office in Bern). A public lecture will extend the notion of ethics to the topic of The ethical museum, an actor in sustainable development at the Musée d’ethnographie de Genève.