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EXARC at the 29th general assembly of ICOM (Paris, UNESCO building)

By Luc Eekhout (EXARC Treasurer)

ICOM, the International Council of Museums, is a worldwide network of museum professionals. On 3-4 June 2014 they held their annual general assembly in Paris, France.

As many members of EXARC are developing themselves into professional museums, we see the benefit of becoming an affiliated organization of ICOM. ICOM organizes many activities to support the development of their 32.000 members worldwide. The bureau  of ICOM is in Paris, but every country has its own national committee as a spider in the national network. Besides, there are 31 international committees: theme-related networks. An ICOM member pays his annual membership fee to his national committee and is invited to join one or more international committees (ICs), related to his own theme. For EXARC members the IC's CECA (education) and ICMAH (archaeology) seem to be most related. At the website of ICOM all these ICs are mentioned: http://icom.museum/the-committees/international-committees/

As the EXARC delegate to ICOM (and as a personal member) I visited the annual general assembly in Paris. A proposed meeting for the affiliated organizations was canceled due to a lack of participants, although EXARC applied for this meeting. Then there was the meeting of the advisory council. We discussed many strategic and other issues. More and more the organization will operate businesslike and more efficient. Themes will be highlighted, to give incentives to museum development. The next world conference, in Milan (Italy) in 2016, will have the theme "Museums and cultural landscapes".  This title refers to the historical influences of human civilization on natural an inhabited landscapes. Museum should gather knowledge, educate, support landscape protection and promote sustainable development. Can you recognize yourself as EXARC member in this? I do! Experimental archaeology is about all these issues in pre- and early history of our landscapes, our cities and monuments.

The general assembly closed the program. The Chair Hans-Martin Hinz presented his annual report and the financial statements for approval. During these days in Paris I met many people. With Koffi Tizie Bi, director of the National Costume Museum of Ivory Coast, I discussed the issu of how to keep textiles in good condition in a humid and warm climate. Adriana Mortara Almeida, vice-president of ICOM Brasil, discussed with me the growth of museums and of ICOM in Brasil. Experimental archaeology is a very young discipline in Latin America. Elsa Bailey from ICOM USA knew a lot about education in museums. Hanna Pennock, former director of the ICOM secretariat, introduced me to the staff members.

In my opinion 2016 should be the year when we will be approved as ICOM affiliated organization. Our members should benefit  of the activities of the national committees and international networks. We can give a convincing presentation in Milan, see: http://network.icom.museum/icom-milan-2016

If EXARC wants to be recognized as Affiliated Organization, we need to have 50% of our members being member of ICOM too. We therefore call on our members to apply for ICOM membership! Contact your national committee, and if necessary ask for our assistance. See: http://icom.museum/the-committees/national-committees