ICTOP History


What is ICTOP?

The International Committee for the Training of Personnel (ICTOP) was founded in 1968. However, training for museum work has been a main activity of ICOM (the International Council of Museums) since it began in 1946.

Our mission in ICOM is to encourage and promote training programmes at university level in all regions of the world. Further and equally important to our work, we support training programmes for all museum workers as part of a life long education and professional development whether by associations, institutions or other delivery agencies.

In cooperation with other national and international committees, ICTOP wants to develop professional standards, which will prepare museum workers for the future institutional challenges. ICTOP supports the idea that education and training is the precondition of good practice and professional directions for our sector.


Six active subcommittees establish the work ICTOP does.  They are:

  • Strategic Planning & Action
  • Membership
  • Communication & Liaison
  • Conference Planning & Management
  • Research & Development
  • Programing


We share with ICOM the Code of Ethics for Museums.

New members are very welcome. To become a member, you must first become an ICOM Member and than select ICTOP as your preferred (i.e. the first) International Committee.

What is ICOM?

The International Council of Museums (ICOM) is the international organisation of museums and museum professionals committed to the conservation, continuation and communication to society of the world’s natural and cultural heritage, present and future, tangible and intangible.

Created in 1946, ICOM is a non-governmental organization (NGO) maintaining formal relations with UNESCO and having a consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

As a not-for-profit organization, ICOM is financed primarily by membership fees. It is also supported by various governmental and other bodies such as UNESCO for whom it carries out part of its museum program. Based in Paris, France, at UNESCO headquarters, ICOM’s head office houses both the ICOM Secretariat and the UNESCO-ICOM Museum Information Centre.

The 36,000 members of ICOM in 136 countries participate in the national, regional and international activities of the organisation: workshops, publications, training, twinning programmes, and the promotion of museums through International Museum Day (May 18, annually).

Members participate in the activities of 119 national committees and 30 international committees. Some national committees have also joined together regionally in order to strengthen their activities. ICOM is affiliated with 21 international associations.

The ICOM Strategic Plan, adopted by the General Assembly, is implemented by the ICOM Secretariat as well as by national and international committees who contribute to the implementation of ICOM’s programs. ICOM’s activities respond to the challenges and needs of the museum profession and focus on the following themes:

  • professional cooperation and interchange
  • disseminating knowledge about and raising public awareness of museums
  • training of personnel
  • advancement of professional standards
  • development and promotion of professional ethics
  • heritage protecting and combatting the illicit traffic in cultural property.

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Some of the ICTOP Chairs:

First President of ICTOP

Founding Chair 1968 and founder of Leicester University Museum Studies

Dr. Patrick Boylan, President

Dr. Patrick Boylan, Chair