The ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums sets minimum professional standards and encourages the recognition of values shared by the international museum community.

This reference tool provides guidance and is presented as a series of principles supported by guidelines detailing expected professional practice. It was drafted in a cross-cutting manner and conceived as an instrument of professional self-control. ICOM members must accept and comply with the Code’s rules.

The ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums addresses diverse museum-related topics such as acquisition procedures, compliance with legislation, management of resources, security, returns and restitutions. The Code also advocates strong principles playing a key role in the fight against illicit traffic, for instance concerning due diligence and provenance.

ICOM promotes and advocates its Code during training sessions organised all over the world, including practical cases studies, to help museums professionals apply its values and principles. A Standing Committee on Ethics (ETHCOM) is dedicated to handling museums’ ethical issues that are brought to its attention.

After being first adopted in 1986, and revised in 2004, the Code has been translated into 38 languages.  See all translations HERE.

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