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The ICOM Costume Committee is delighted to meet everyone specifically interested in costume. The Committee encompasses museum professionals and costume historians from all over the world, and our activities reflect their expertise. Explore this site to find information about how we present, preserve, research and collect costume!




International Committee for Museums and Collections of Costume

The International Committees of ICOM, bring together experts of museum specialties. The 31 International Committees are global think tanks on museum, and more generally, heritage, matters. They define the museum professional’s standards, share scientific information, establish partnerships with other organisations and develop recommendations for ICOM members.


The Costume Committee of ICOM is a forum for museum professionals committed to the study, interpretation and preservation of all aspects of apparel. Participation in the committee is open to those who wish to share their expertise in research projects, exhibitions, conservation, storage techniques, etc. The Committee publishes bibliographies, newsletters and the publication of selected research projects. At annual meetings papers are given and discussions take place around an established theme.





How the Committee works
The Costume Committee’s governing body is an elected, unsalaried Board of Officers, consisting of a Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and two more members. At present the Editor of the Newsletter is an appointed position. Board members sit for three years, with the option of being re-elected for another three years. At present there are about 250 individual and institutional members. The annual meetings usually draw 50-80 participants. An Annual General Meeting is held each year, at which Committee business and the direction of the Committee’s efforts is discussed.The Committee receives a small annual subvention from ICOM corresponding to the number of voting members who have paid their annual dues on time. Thus the annual meetings must in general pay for themselves. The Committee has in recent years produced a series of handsome publications containing the lectures and proceedings of the annual gatherings.


Committee activities


At the annual meetings not only is a specific theme explored, but members are encouraged to present their own research, exhibitions and other work for a discerning group of peers. Frequently these papers are published in a Proceedings. Recent meetings have been in Shanghai, Munich, Lyon, Santiago, Vienna, Copenhagen/Lund and Berlin. The newsletter Costume News is sent out twice a year, distributed primarily by e-mail. It contains Committee-related information and meeting plans, news of exhibitions, books, research and other costume-related activities. Everyone is invited to contribute. E-news and Newsletters are available to members only.