Recommendation Concerning the International Exchange of Cultural Property (1976)


The Recommendation encourages exchanges of cultural property to foster appreciation of the achievements of different cultures and to increase understanding among nations. For the purposes of the Recommendation, cultural property includes items of historical, artistic, scientific, or technical value and interest, as diverse as zoological specimens and cinematographic works. The Recommendation notes that cultural exchange tends to be unilateral; poorer countries and institutions are disadvantaged by the cost and complexity of regulations and restrictions. The Recommendation encourages cultural institutions with several identical or similar cultural objects to offer them for accession by institutions in other countries. Cultural institutions that participate in exchanges must undertake appropriate conservation measures to ensure protection of the cultural property they receive. The Recommendation suggests that the International Council of Museums produce a handbook (with model contracts) to help facilitate exchanges of cultural property.