ICMM Biennial Congresses
ICMM holds a Congress every two years. Each Congress is hosted by an ICMM member who has won a bid to hold the event. The aim is to hold Congresses in different countries and on different continents so that delegates have the opportunity to see how other maritime museums operate around the world. Delegates attending ICMM Congresses come from many countries and represent a wide cross section of maritime museums as well as those with an interest in maritime heritage and history.
The ICMM Executive Council appoints a Programme Committee to arrange the academic content of each Congress. The Congress host museum arranges cultural, sightseeing and just plain fun activities to blend with the academic programme so that delegates have the opportunity to meet, see and sample the people, places, history and culture of the host country. And not to forget the cuisine.
As well as the programme for ICMM Congress delegates, there is a parallel programme organised for accompanying partners who also take part in most of the social activities organised for the Congress.
Optional post-Congress tours are offered for delegates who would like to explore the host country further before returning home.
The next Congress, in 2019, is in Stockholm, Sweden, and Mariehamn, in the Aland Islands of Finland.
Guidelines for hosting an ICMM Congress
ICMM member museums may submit a bid to host an ICMM Congress in response to a general Congress bid invitation from the ICMM Executive Council. Bids are always considered at least two years in advance of the Congress date. Specific guidelines for hosting a future ICMM Congress are issued by the Executive Council when bids are sought.
For any museum considering submitting a future bid, the following general notes may be useful.
The host museum, which will either be a member of ICMM or be willing to become a member prior to making its Congress bid, should indicate its commitment to organising a biennial Congress for ICMM by presenting a formal bid to the President of ICMM. This bid should take the form of a Letter of Intent offering to act as host for a future biennial Congress. The bid should come from the highest authority of the organisation – Chairman of Trustees or similar. It should identify any proposed supporting partners and the sponsoring government department, where applicable.
The host museum should be prepared to play the lead role in the logistical preparations for the biennial Congress. With the agreement of ICMM it may use the services of a professional conference and event management agency as long as this does not result in the delegate registration costs exceeding the agreed maximum.
Venues should be easily accessible to overseas and local delegates via good airport, railway and road networks.
Venues should be able to offer conference facilities for a minimum of 150 delegates: including conference accommodation, catering arrangements and technical support services.
By agreement with the ICMM Programme Committee, the host venue will provide an appropriate and attractive programme for accompanying partners at a registration cost to be agreed.
Venues should be able to offer hotel accommodation capable of accommodating at least 200 delegates, including accompanying partners, within a reasonable distance, and at a range of affordable prices.
The venue, or its conference organisers, are expected to administer registrations and arrange hotel accommodation. They are also expected to administer the conference budget, including registration fees, and provide progress reports to the Programme Committee as required.
The conference language is English: simultaneous translation may be requested in some circumstances.
The venue is expected to provide reasonable conference technical facilities for presentations including sound systems, computer-generated PowerPoint and video, with the necessary technical support.
The Congress is expected to include a varied supporting social programme: it should include a formal Congress Dinner and may, for example, include receptions or similar events in local historic locations.
The host venue will have sole responsibility for the Congress budget which is expected to be self-financing from registration costs and any local funding. Any profits will be divided, by agreement, between the host venue and ICMM.
The Congress Registration Fee will be agreed between the host venue and the Programme Committee of ICMM. In recent years it has been € 500, or local currency equivalent. This should include all Congress administration costs, catering during the Congress sessions, two evening dinners, including the formal Congress Dinner, and at least one excursion.
The host venue is encouraged to find local sources of funding, including sponsorship where possible, to offset the costs of the Congress and any supporting events. Sponsorship arrangements must be agreed between the venue and ICMM before formal commitments are made.