The International Council of Museums (ICOM) was created in 1946 as a non-profit, non-governmental organization maintaining formal relations with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and having a consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
Its mission, according to its Statutes, is to be “the international organization of museums and museum professionals committed to the conservation, continuation and communication to society of the world’s natural and cultural heritage, present and future, tangible and intangible.”
As such, ICOM “establishes professional and ethical standards for museum activities, makes recommendations on such issues, promotes training, advances knowledge and raises public cultural awareness through global networks and co-operation programs.”
It is a unique professional network of institutions and museum professionals with almost 30,000 members worldwide collaborating and participating in the discussions, reflections, activities and actions of 117 National Committees and 31 International Committees on museum-and-heritage-related issues. Some National Committees are organized into Regional Alliances.
Every three years, a new strategic plan is adopted by the General Assembly of ICOM, and it is implemented by both ICOM General Secretariat and the National and International Committees.
ICOM’s headquarters (the General Secretariat and the UNESCO-ICOM Museum Information Center) are based in Paris, France, at the UNESCO Building.