The 23 Sep 2022

ICOM France professional meeting

To whom do the collections belong?

Asking who owns the collections means remembering that they are not simply riches to be coveted, but also that they are essential witnesses, and therefore threatened; vulnerable and directly targeted in armed conflicts. Engaging in these reflections at the musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac, under the presidency of Emmanuel Kasarhérou, is a way of taking a stand in the debate by remembering the museum's founding slogan: where cultures meet in dialogue.

ICOM France's professional day will be held on 23 September at the musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac, in its Claude Lévi-Strauss theatre and simultaneously online. Following the symposium, the General Assembly of ICOM France will be held.

From many angles, current events are encouraging museum professionals to consider the question of "collections", in France and around the world: 

  • In France, the 20th anniversary of the Museum Act is the subject of many discussions 
  • Within ICOM and its 134 member countries, the debate on the definition of a museum and the code of ethics involves the entire professional community.

To whom do the collections belong?
Who is responsible for preserving them, telling their story and exhibiting them? Their position has become an issue: how did their history come to be preserved in a particular location? Where do they come from? What do we know about their history? How were they acquired? What legitimacy does the country or museum presenting them have, and what responsibility does it have towards them?

The scope of the subject is such that we do not aim to cover everything, but rather to open up the debate to a range of expertise that will contribute to identifying the issues at stake and specifying the responsibilities of all parties. The outlines of a new way of working in museums are undoubtedly taking shape.

For more information, visit the ICOM France website.