National Museum of Brazil fire

A devastating fire has destroyed the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro. Housed in the former Imperial palace of São Cristóvão since 1902, the museum was celebrating its 200-year anniversary this year.

It appears that the majority of the Museum's invaluable collection of natural history, mineralogical, paleontological, archaeological, ethnographic, and documentary collections has been destroyed.

ICOM statement Guardian article Wikipedia article



Message of support

The Australian Committee of ICOM wishes to express its deepest sympathy and support for our colleagues at the National Museum of Brazil, following the terrible news of the devastating fire that consumed the National Museum of Brazil. The international museum community is stunned and saddened.

The facts before us are horrifying: Brazil’s oldest and most distinguished museum, situated in the former Imperial palace of São Cristóvão, celebrating its 200 year anniversary, destroyed along with its extraordinary and unique collections of some 20 million specimens and artefacts.

We wish to offer our heartfelt support to our international colleagues and the people of Brazil, a country that has, as a result of this fire lost, not only an integral part of its heritage and identity, but something of its soul.

This event is, literally, every museum worker’s worst nightmare: To our colleagues in Rio, and to all the Brazilian people, our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Can you help?

There were over 20 million objects inside the National Museum of Brazil. Did you take a photo of any of them? Help preserve the memories of as many as we can and add them to WikiCommons. Here's how to do it from your desktop:


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ICOM-ITC grants open soon

Applications for the April 2019 program at the ICOM International Training Centre for Museum Studies (ICOM-ITC) in China will open in December. The ICOM-ITC offers full and partial grants to ensure participation from around the world. Courses are offered twice per year, in English. The ITC is a collaboration between ICOM, ICOM China and the Palace Museum in Beijing to offer training programs to the growing community of museums. The focus of this program will be collections, including documentation, preservation and ethics. The call for applications is published on the web page and social networks in December.

DEMHIST grants

Individual and institutional International Committee for Historic House Museums (DEMHIST) members are welcome to apply for grants for collaborative projects with ICOM national groups, other ICOM international committees, or other partners. Contact the DEMHIST secretary for more information and forms.

Conference news

Creative and culture futures: leadership and change
University of Canberra symposium
(Canberra, 12 October 2018)

Join established and emerging industry leaders, academics and practitioners to discuss the future of the cultural sector. The sector is a driver of economic development and is integral to community wellbeing, yet it faces many challenges, from the impact of new technology to changes in funding models. How will we equip professionals in the sector to adapt to these changes, and foster flexibility, confidence and resilience in future leaders? More information


Facing the new political realities: rethinking training for regional museums
(Auckland and Wellington, 4-9 November 2018)

Aotearoa New Zealand is hosting a joint conference of two ICOM groups. The International Committee for Regional Museums (ICR) and the International Committee for the Training of Personnel (ICTOP) have joined forces to consider how best to prepare those working in and with regional museums to manage their museums in constantly changing political environments. Australian colleagues are warmly invited to participate in the conference. Registrations are now open.  More information


Cultural heritage: transition and transformation
ICEE-ICFA annual conference
(Spain, 11-17 November 2018)

A seven-day joint conference bringing together members of the International Committee for Exhibition Exchange (ICEE) and the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Fine Arts (ICFA) with museum and exhibition professionals from all over the world to explore the challenges and opportunities facing museum professionals in the presentation of cultural heritage in today’s complex cultural economy. The conference is a part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage. Conference information

At the centre: our people, our places, our practices
Museums Galleries Australia National Conference
(Alice Springs [Mparntwe],  13-17 May 2019)

Combining elements of recent conferences that focused on Museums and galleries in their cultural landscapes (Brisbane 2017) and Museums and galleries as agents of change (Melbourne 2018), in 2019 Museums Galleries Australia travels to the geographical centre of the nation to tackle some of the biggest thematic areas that occupy much of the national conversation. More information

Professional development

Summer scholarships

Could you be one of the National Library of Australia's 2019 Summer Scholars? Apply now for the chance to work in-depth with the National Library’s world-class collections. Annual summer scholarships support younger scholars and a scholar from rural or regional Australia undertaking postgraduate research, who require special access to the Library’s collections.Scholars spend six weeks at the Library, commencing in the second week of January each year. They have privileged access to the Library’s materials and facilities, as well as sustained interaction with Library staff. More information

Museums Australia Victoria

A range of museum professional development programs are conducted by Museums Australia Victoria. September offerings include Roving curator program information session and Programing for museums and galleries

Local news

Image courtesy of Historic Houses Trust: Jack Mundy and Green Ban demonstration

Historic Houses Association turns 30

It has been three decades since the Historic Houses Association of Australia (HHA) incorporated under the name Friends of the Historic Houses Trust. Over that time, it has saved historic properties, drawn attention to the most pressing heritage issues of the time and promoted greater understanding of the importance of our shared built heritage. Based in Sydney, the HHA celebrated its 30th anniversary with a grassroots event on Saturday 1 September at the Abraham Mott Hall in The Rocks, Sydney.
More information

Connection & recollection

August was National Family History Month in Australia. Dr Sherene Suchy writes that she was honoured to be part of this celebration with a presentation about estate planning, provenance, and heirlooms with heritage at the Goulburn Mulwarree Library. Sherene noticed a familiar face in the audience which led to a conversation about the Kenmore Hospital Museum (2000-2011). Leone Morgan had been a nurse at Kenmore and ran tours of the museum. The Museum closed in 2011. The collection went to various national, state, and regional museums. Monies remaining were given to the mental health and education sector. Leonie said, 'I still get on average, an e-mail or phone call weekly enquiring as to the next tour or when is the museum open?' Our conversation prompted reflections on a chapter contributed to Leading with passion: Museum philosophy for the 21st century museum about the importance of museums as places for memory making. 

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 ICOM e-newsletter


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