26th ICOM General Conference
On 20 – 28 August last year, Prague hosted one of the world’s largest conferences of museum professionals for the first time. The 26th ICOM Conference was the most important event dedicated to museums and professionals. The International Council of Museums is the only worldwide museum association. It provides museums and museum professionals with a national, international, and regional space for dialogue and the exchange of ethical standards and innovation.
Our biggest challenge in hosting this event and the main issue we faced was uncertainty. If you are planning such a big event, you need to know how to do it. The ever-changing conditions, caused mainly by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and, in 2022, the war unleashed by Russia in Ukraine, made our job extremely difficult and complicated.
Platform: for the first time in history, the 26th edition of this conference was held in a hybrid format. The gCon virtual platform provided all conference participants with the opportunity to attend the professional program from home or directly from the museum office.
Programme: There were also panel discussions, workshops and excursions, which totalled 238. A memorial lecture or lecture on the protection of cultural heritage in Ukraine, spaces for the accompanying museum fair or Expo Forum, where exhibiting companies had the opportunity to present their innovations.
Benefits: Czech museums were very involved in the preparations and all the institutional members of ICOM were involved. Museums were actively involved in the preparation of Off-site Meetings, excursions, Museum Night, as well as the opening party and the ICOM Flag Relay. University departments collaborated in the debate on the redefinition of the museum according to ICOM, thanks to which 499 museum professionals from the Czech Republic participated in the first round of the debate (the second largest number after Brazil) and hundreds of participants attended the other rounds and seminars. Individual members worked together to prepare the agenda for the international committee meetings.
More than 3,000 experts from 124 different countries physically attended the conference. 655 participants joined via the virtual platform.
We would like to thank ICOM, the members of the ICOM Executive Board, and the staff of the ICOM General Secretariat for their excellent cooperation in the preparation of the 26th ICOM General Conference Prague 2022.