ICOM was formed in 1946. It is a non-governmental organisation maintaining formal relations with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation
(UNESCO ). It has a consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC ).

The Australian National Committee of ICOM (ICOM Australia) has been active since the mid-1980s.  Its Chairpersons and other office bearers have been regular participants at the annual meetings of ICOM’s Advisory Committee, while several Australians have served on ICOM’s Executive Council.  Many Australian members have attended ICOM General Conferences and participated in the work of ICOM’s numerous International Committees and Affiliated Organisations.

Because its members are resident all over Australia, ICOM Australia does not hold regular meetings, other than in association with the annual conferences of Australian Museums and Galleries Association , with which it has a close working relationship.  Members of ICOM Australia constitute Australian Museums and Galleries Association’s International Committee.  ICOM Australia keeps its members informed about international developments via its website and occasional E-News bulletins to those members with registered email addresses.

ICOM Australia has hosted three major events in past years – the 5th Regional Assembly of ICOM’s Asia and Pacific Regional Organisation in Sydney in 1995, the ICOM General Conference in Melbourne in 1998 and the ICOM Committee for Conservation (ICOM-CC) 17th Triennial Conference in Melbourne in 2014.

ICOM Australia is a pillar body of Blue Shield Australia (the Australian National Committee of the International Committee of the Blue Shield, an organisation established to develop and coordinate responses to natural and man-made disasters that impact on cultural and natural heritage).