Created in 1946 as a non-governmental organisation, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) was initially founded by a few museums professionals – archaeologists, art historians, museologists, conservators etc…- who were concerned about the future of the world’s cultural heritage after the disasters of the Second World War.
UNESCO decided from the beginning to support ICOM by giving it shelter in its Headquarters in Paris. In 1951, they started together the programme “Crusades of the Museums” that contributed significantly to the recognition of the educational role of Museums. Following similar preoccupations, in 1977, the 18th of May started being celebrated as the International Museum Day.
The main concern of ICOM is the notification and the confrontation of the problems related to museums and museum professionals, as well as the development of the field of Museology. To achieve that the above-mentioned goal, 30 international committees have been created, each devoted to the study of a particular type of museum or to a specific museum-related discipline, such as the architecture of museums, conservation, country museums, education etc; they are composed of ICOM members who request membership. These committees have contributed to the compilation of essential manuals like, for instance, the Code of Ethics that was adopted in 1986.