The International Committee of Memorial and Human Rights Museums

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September 27, 2021

ICOM DEFINE Consultation 3. September 2021 Meeting

You were all invited to join us on Sept. 13th for a presentation of the process, progress and status of the new museum definition by ICOM Define Chairs, Lauran Bonilla-Merchav & Bruno Brulon. Along with their team and external analysts, they are doing their utmost to engage all members in a totally transparent and fully participatory endeavor which will culminate in a vote of the New Museum Definition at the ICOM Triennial in Prague in August 2022.

PARTICIPATE: Please take a moment to reply to the questionnaire we e-mail you.

Consultation 3 is the opportunity for Committees to evaluate the key terms proposed by us in Consultation 2, identifying those we prioritize to be included in a new museum definition. The current consultation is divided into 7 sections. These 7 different dimensions were identified by the external analysts as they conducted the qualitative analysis of the results in Consultation 2. Under each section, we can select and rank a certain number of terms. Some terms appear in multiple sections, which imply slightly different meaning or application. Committees should be certain to select such terms (identified by two asterisks) in the section/dimension that we find most appropriate. This consultation will enable ICOM Define to gain a better sense of the general acceptance and inclination over the proposed words or concepts. Our choices will enable them to best integrate them into the definition proposals that will be drafted in the subsequent stage and which will again, be submitted for our consideration and input.

When we started deeply discussing the issue in 2019 in Kyoto, there were elements in the new museum definition that were groundbreaking.

We have since experienced a pandemic, which, in many ways, has brought us closer together, but which has also more clearly evidenced the ills of our societies, the social gaps and the injustice.

For better or for worse, our world is not the same it was in 2019 and neither are our museums. What seemed “A trumpet call of Humanism for the Civil Society”* became a necessary action.

When Donald Trump characterized Mexican immigrants as a threat to the U.S., held children in cages in Texas and banned travel for refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries, U.S. Museums opened their doors to migrants and the Museum Association took a strong stance stating that Trump was “beyond the wrong side of history”, “driving our nation off a moral cliff.”

The American Alliance of Museums issued a statement reiterating its core value to “seek out and embrace a diversity of people and cultures to enhance our understanding of the world”.
During the BLACK LIVES MATTER protests, ICMEMO dedicated a webinar to The National Museum of African American History and Culture, where Dr Spencer Crew, shared with us the tools that the museum was using to help the community and listen to the voices of the people.

We thank you, as always, for your collaboration in our Committee’s efforts to reach a consensus from our members.