The cornerstone of ICOM is its ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums. Adopted in 1986 and revised in 2004, it establishes the values and principles shared by ICOM and the international museum community. It is a reference tool translated into 36 languages and it sets minimum standards of professional practice and performance for museums and their staff. By joining ICOM, members undertake to abide by this Code.
For US museum professionals, the ICOM Code provides an important alternative perspective to the AAM Code of Ethics for Museums or the discipline-specific codes published by other US-based museum specialty organizations. Unlike these other US codes, which tend to set high-level principles, the ICOM Code includes considerable guidance on practical implementation of ethical principles. US museum professionals and museum studies students may find it a valuable supplement to these other Codes.