Our statement on the invasion of Ukraine - Museums Association

Our statement on the invasion of Ukraine

The Museums Association supports the International Council of Museums’ (ICOM) condemnation of the invasion of Ukraine by Russian Federation military forces and echoes its concern about the risks faced by museum professionals on the ground in Ukraine.

Already the international museum community is rallying and offering support, including refuge, and we encourage colleagues in neighbouring countries in particular to continue and step up their offers of solidarity and support.

Many museum workers in Ukraine have previously been involved in human rights movements and many museums provide space for the promotion and discussion of human rights. This puts museum workers at particular risk in the current situation. 

The primary concern must be the safety of museum staff and the wider population – in addition there is a threat to the material cultural heritage of Ukraine and, as signatories of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property, in the event of armed conflict we would call on both countries to abide by their international legal obligations to protect heritage.

What can museum workers do in solidarity with Ukraine?

  • Welcome refugees and work with refugee organisations to create safe spaces to deliver support
  • Work with the international museum community to provide support and solidarity (see statements from ICOM and NEMO)
  • Commission and platform Ukrainian artists and curators
  • Work with Ukrainian support organisations in the UK to share and celebrate Ukrainian arts, heritage and culture
  • Be vigilant for looted items to prevent illicit trade
  • Open our spaces for public debate, discussion and reflection
  • Consider the ethical implications of any loans to the Russian Federation or sponsorship from the Russian Federation

Image: National Art Museum of Ukraine, credit to Suicasmo (CC BY-SA 4.0)