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International Council of Museums conference: institutions asked to think beyond collections

Participants in Milan will ponder the relationship between museums and the cultural landscape<br>

Twenty-first century museums have moved beyond their traditional core functions of conserving and promoting their collections, says Alberto Garlandini, the president of the Italian organising committee of Icom Milano 2016, the triennial conference of the International Council of Museums (Icom) being held in Milan until 9 July. “They have new social goals and larger territorial responsibilities than in past times,” he says, adding that museums should promote the landscapes they are part of as well as their collections.

The relationship between museums and cultural landscapes is the theme for the 24th general conference, where museum professionals will come together to discuss the changing responsibilities of today’s museums and what role these institutions can play in interpreting their local cultural heritage and preserving the cultural landscape, which Unesco’s assistant director-general for culture, Francesco Bandarin, says “embodies centuries of traditional knowledge, experiences and practices”. He sees museums’ role of conserving, interpreting and preserving these landscapes as “necessary actions to learn from their past and transmit their richness to the future”.   

The Italian architect Michele de Lucchi, the Nobel Prize-winning novelist and museum founder Orhan Pamuk and the artist Christo are among the keynote speakers. The hot topics of the illicit trafficking of artefacts and destruction of cultural sites will be addressed in a panel discussion that includes Egypt’s antiquities minister Khaled El-Enany and Markus Hilgert, the director of Berlin’s Pergamon Museum, and in the screening of the new documentary film The Destruction of Memory.

Installation and case manufacturer Goppion Museum Lab and the banking group Intesa San Paolo are the main sponsors of the conference.