Non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment. It includes live museums.
a. The above definition of a museum shall be applied without any limitation arising from the nature of the governing body, the territorial character, the functional structure or the orientation of the collections of the institution concerned.
b. In addition to institutions designated as 'museums' the following qualify as museums for the purposes of this definition:
i. natural, archaeological and ethnographic monuments and sites and historical monuments and sites of a museum nature that acquire, conserve and communicate material evidence of people and their environment;
ii. institutions holding collections of and displaying live specimens of plants and animals, such as botanical and zoological gardens, aquaria and vivaria;
iii. science centres and planetaria;
iv. non-profit art exhibition galleries;
v. nature reserves; conservation institutes and exhibition galleries permanently maintained by libraries and archives centres; natural parks;
vi. international or national or regional or local museum organisations, ministries or departments or public agencies responsible for museums as per the definition given under this article;
vii. non-profit institutions or organisations undertaking conservation research, education, training, documentation and other activities relating to museums and museology;
viii. cultural centres and other entities that facilitate the preservation, continuation and management of tangible or intangible heritage resources (living heritage and digital creative activity); and
ix. such other institutions as the Executive Council, after seeking the advice of the Advisory Committee, considers as having some or all of the characteristics of a museum, or as supporting museums and professional museum personnel through museological research, education or training (ICOM 2007).

Source definition

International Council of Museums (ICOM), Article 3, Statutes, 2007.