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Representatives of women’s museum worldwide met in the middle of the Australian desert from May 19–21, 2012. They met in the National Pioneer‘s Women Hall of Fame.

The meeting in Alice Springs was a milestone, because the members had decided in Buenos Aires in 2010 to seek for becoming an affiliated member of the International Committee of Museums (ICOM). In order to become an affiliated member of ICOM it is required to be an international association with registered statutes. This is the first step, which now was taken in Alice Springs. Not only did the participants pass the articles and a resolution, but they also elected an executive board of six members from various continents. Bettina Bab (Germany) was elected the first chair woman of the new section, assisted by the deputy chairwoman Mona Holm (Norway), treasurer Sigrid Prader (Italy), secretary Catherine King (USA) and assessors Patricia Galeano (Mexico), Nguyen Thi Bich Van (Vietnam).

With Bettina Bab from Bonn being the chairwoman the „International Association of Women’s Museums” accordingly will be situated in Bonn.

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This first meeting of the European women’s museums took place in Berlin in October. The participating museums came from Fürth, Berlin and Bonn in Germany, Meran in Italy, Norway, and from the initiative in Switzerland.

The delegates clarified once again the field of activity of the coordinator, Astrid Schönweger and the temporary way of payment of her work. Afterwards the participants formulated the next steps towards the foundation of the association. It was proposed to form a working group for this purpose.

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The Third International Conference of Women’s Museums in Buenos Aires on the 24th and 25th of May was part of the II International Feminist Congress 2010.

At this congress, it was decided that it would be advantageous to become members of the International Council of Museums, which requires the founding of an international association in the future. The congress elected a new Council Committee with a single co-ordinator as well as representatives from each continent. In the discussion about criteria for membership to the Network of Women’s Museums, it was agreed to accept any museum which would like to become a member. It was also decided to make two changes to the 2008 resolution, so that museums which followed and signed that resolution would be invited into the network and that the network would be opened to single persons as “friends of women’s museums”. Finally, it was agreed that the fourth international congress of women’s museums would be held in Alice Springs, Australia, in 2012.

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The goal of this second International Conference was “to make the network a strong instrument for women’s culture and women’s museums, to strengthen the exchange of knowledge and projects, and to lead the way to mutual support. The enthusiasm shall spread from this conference to other countries and further the rise of new fascinating projects”.

The issues discussed at this congress included the ongoing coordination of the network and the importance, development and possibilities of an internet platform. A working group was established, consisting of at least one representative per continent. The working group’s tasks included researching the advantages and disadvantages of membership with the International Council of Museums and deciding on the criteria for admission of other museums to the network.

As part of the second congress, the first common exhibition of women’s museums opened with the title Women’s Museums Worldwide: Idols – Role Models – Heroines. For more information see Womens Museums Worldwide 2009-2011.

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The first International Conference of Women’s Museums took place in Meran, Italy on June 11-13 2008.

Until 2008, there has been little contact between different women’s museums worldwide. However, it was clear that mutual exchange is crucial for the quality of museum work. Hence, the idea of an international network of women’s museums was born.

The 1st International Congress was a great success as it brought together the representatives of the women’s museums from all over the world: Argentina, Mexico, Australia, China, Vietnam, USA, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Sudan and Senegal.

Right from the beginning, the goals were exchange, achievement of international visibility, and support for further women’s museums.

On the agenda of these days were workshops, presentations of the single museums, analysis of strengths and weaknesses, and network work. The participators agreed on the next projects: a circulating exhibition should take place in Bonn (2009); 2nd International Women’s Museum Congress in Buenos Aires (2010); 3rd International Women’s Museums congress in China (2012). At the end of the congress a resolution had been passed. It represents a catalogue of topics with intentions and demands as a result of the international congress.

The Iranian peace Nobel Prize Laureate (2003) Shirin Ebadi, who first functioned as godmother of the congress in Meran, decided to continue to be the godmother of the network.

First IAWM Resolution

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