ICOM Executive Board


I am extraordinarily grateful for the support of ICOM in the election last September that saw me voted onto the Executive Board. I will update this page soon with further thoughts on how I hope to contribute to ICOM in its quest to represent and shape the museum field. In the meantime, here is what I wrote in advance of the election which, I hope, gives you an idea of my perspective.


In September 2019, I will be running for a seat on the Executive Board of the International Council of Museums, a position that was – I’m grateful to say – proposed by ICOM US to represent us nationally within the international museum sector.

It’s the culmination of a long history with the association. In my time with ICOM, which goes back to 2005, I have been lucky enough to have held various roles, including: Chair of ICOM NATHIST (2013-present); Deputy Chair of the ICOM Ethics Committee (2016-present); ICOM-US Board Member Ex-Officio (2016-present); Member of MDPP (2018-present); Chair of ICOM New Zealand (2010-2015); Editor of various articles for ICOM Museum; International and ICOM. I’ve also edited two books on natural history museology for Routledge in association with ICOM.

With such a rich and rewarding history with ICOM, it seems only natural that I should one day hope to serve at the governance level of the organization. ICOM has meant so much not only to me over the course of my career, but to many thousands of museums and cultural sector personnel across the globe.

ICOM asked for a brief account of my museological perspective, which takes the form of the manifesto below.


Museums in 2019 are presented with an enormous opportunity to find new relevance in the face of a rapidly changing world. Today, cultural institutions are beginning to foster mutual understanding and appreciation for our shared past, not only protecting historical objects, but also promulgating museums as microcosms of the world’s cultural legacy, where curiosity can thrive and visitors see themselves as part of a broader historical narrative.

ICOM is uniquely placed to lead the conversation examining our core identity in a holistic way, responding to fresh audiences who bring with them new and unfamiliar motivations and skills. Since 2005, I have been involved with ICOM’s efforts to support best practice in our sector. My goals as an ICOM Executive Board member would be to:

  • Enrich ICOM’s governance perspective with the typology of natural history;
  • Champion initiatives that promote diversity and inclusion across the cultural sector;
  • Continue my work consolidating standards of ethics and best practice;
  • Develop and promote initiatives that increase the relevance of museums and support their promotion as essential to societies’ health and well-being; as well as sustainability;
  • Build ICOM’s capacity and reputation as a service provider to the global cultural sector

A position on the Executive would, of course, offer many more opportunities to champion best practice and to connect to ICOM’s institutions and members than can be listed here.

Additionally, although being put forward by ICOM US, I have an international perspective (having lived extensively in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Germany) and hope to offer a point of view that is genuinely inclusive and cross-cultural.

A PDF version of the essential information has been produced by ICOM (supplemented by ICOM US). It can be downloaded at the following link: Eric Dorfman_ICOM Executive Council US

I look forward to the opportunity of continuing my service to ICOM and its members.