What is ICOM?

Established in 1946 in Europe, ICOM, or the International Council of Museums, began as an organization for museum professionals in light of the devastation of World War II. Based in Paris, ICOM now has over 37,000 members from around the world, representing museum professionals from over 141 countries in 30 international museum committees. ICOM’s Code of Ethics is the organization’s signature document which serves as guidance for the international museum community. The organization sits within UNESCO, the United Nations Economic, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, and conducts all business in ICOM’s three official languages: English, Spanish, and French.

What is DEMHIST?

DEMHIST is one of the 30 official committees of ICOM. The committee is an international forum for convening historic house museum professionals in the issues, best practice, and discourse particular to the conservation and management of historic house museums. DEMHIST, a portmanteau in French standing for “demeures historiques,” or “historic house museums” in English, is the world body for the historic house museum field. Each year, this committee of the International Council of Museums, hosts an annual conference where conference sessions delve into current house museum issues and debate, committee board members are elected by DEMHIST members, and the committee solidifies plans for upcoming conferences.

DEMHIST represents historic house museums reflecting a wide range of artistic, architectural, cultural, and social diversity, as well as museum institutions of various sizes and budgets. Conference themes serve  this institutional diversity through relevant and timely topics generated by a call for proposals for each conference. The committee publishes the outcome of annual conferences to create a platform for historic house museum practitioners and academics as well as to disseminate best practices and solutions for the historic house museum field.