Immediate Past-President's Columns : Frits Loomeijer
2013 - Another year on - the Chicken & the Egg
In Washington DC and Newport News, at the time of the 2011 ICMM Congress, ICMM’s Executive Committee launched a vision for the future of our organisation. The message was: transform ICMM from a volunteer organisation into a professional managed network. We are now another year on, in the year of the 2013 ICMM Congress in Cascais, Portugal. It’s time for an update and it’s the appropriate moment to take stock of where we are right now.
As you know, ICMM’s membership is facing an increasingly professional, cultural and political environment. Programming and hospitality, collection management, education, financial management and fundraising, marketing & communication, have developed – or are on their way to developing – into specialised sub-disciplines of museum management. Many of us are facing quite some challenges. These are due to more than one cause. Economic recession, a changing attitude of governments towards culture and the demands and rising expectations of a mature audience, are in the top three, worldwide.
More than ever museum professionals need to be connected, to be in touch with best practices, to know what exhibitions are on the market, to learn from each other. Of course we do have an increasing number of tools to realise this individually, thanks to the internet and new media like facebook or twitter. But the maritime museum community needs more. It always has. Colleagues need to know each other personally; which is why from its earliest days ICMM has organised congresses. But between congresses there is a need for professional communication and facilitation if we are to meet and take advantage of the new challenges – and ICMM has a leadership role here, too.