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EXARC at the 29th general assembly of ICOM in Paris

Date: 
Tuesday, 3 June, 2014 to Wednesday, 4 June, 2014
Organised by: 
Responsible: 
Luc Eekhout (EXARC Treasurer)
Number of Participants / Visitors / Audience: 
150 Participants

ICOM, the International Council of Museums, is a worldwide network of museum professionals. In 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 being an affiliated organisation 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. At the website of ICOM all these ICs are mentioned: http://icom.museum/the-committees/international-committees/

I visited the annual general assembly in Paris representing EXARC and OpenArch. A proposed meeting for the affiliated organizations was canceled due to the lack of participants, although EXARC applied for this meeting. Then there was the meeting of the advisory council. We discussed many strategic issues. ICOM is becoming more professional and efficient. Museum development is at the front. The next world conference, in Milan (Italy) in 2016, is themed "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.
EXARC discussed the great chances we have concerning this theme for archaeological open-air museums. Our members have clear ties to the pre- and early history of our landscapes.

During the Conference I discussed with many museum professionals about possibilities for future cooepration. With Koffi Tizie Bi, director of the National Costume Museum of Ivory Coast, I discussed the issue 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 (an important theme for EXARC) is a very young discipline in Latin America and it is here where we can aisst others. 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. For EXARC members the IC's CECA (education) and ICMAH (archaeology) are the closest related - that is why we had meetings with their Board at previous OpenArch meetings as well as in Rio at the triannual ICOM meeting, contacts which we continued in Paris 2014. 

2016 should be the year when EXARC will be approved as ICOM affiliated organization. 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

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