Call for Papers (extended)- ICOM NATHIST 2023 Annual Conference in Costa Rica

CFP extended until September 20th 2023, 23:59 (UTC+0)!
ICOM NATHIST 2023 Annual Conference, Costa Rica, November 13 – 15, 2023

Realize Sustainability!

Museums as agents for social and environmental development

Museums are active contributors to the social cohesion of communities, the well-being of individuals, and an informed and active citizenry. Museums are recognized as trusted sources of knowledge and valuable resources for engaging communities to imagine and create sustainable futures for our planet. In the strategic plan of ICOM for 2022 – 2028, Sustainability is a leading idea. As quoted:

WHAT WE WANT TO ACHIEVE?  ICOM fulfills its commitment to the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)…

We believe natural history museums are powerful and can be leaders in achieving that. When we start to discuss sustainability, the role of natural history museums is very obvious. We have been engaged with the ecological and environmental aspects of sustainability for years now, but recently something has changed.

In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly published the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all people and the world by 2030”. The 2030 Agenda for SDGs covers aspects of economy, social and environment. Natural history museums are the natural leaders in achieving the SDGs.

Studies have shown that museums are perceived by the public as trustworthy in the information they display. This can make us a place of scientific literacy in a variety of fields. This is especially important in the current era where we are flooded with a very large amount of information in all media channels when some of the information is fake information. Natural history museums can make sense in bringing up not just scientific but also social, cultural, and philosophical questions. There is another social role we can fulfill – and that is motivating for action.

Natural history museums can also serve as a model and example for a sustainable institution in their buildings. Using new smart energy, smart use of water, ecological control of temperature, and methods for keeping the collections.

We are interested in papers that address the following topics:

  1. Sustainability and climate change in museums
  2. Museums and the SDGs
  3. Parks and natural reserves, the largest museums in the world
  4. Scientific literacy and citizen science
  5. Decolonialism and restitution
  6. The new definition of a museum


Conference Format

  • Hybrid, accepting both physical and virtual speakers.
  • Conference language: English and Spanish (simultaneous interpretation available)

Submission and Deadline:

  1. ABSTRACT TEMPLATE as the link below:
  2. Name the abstract in the following format: [Topic number]_[Name]_[Abstract Title]_[physical or virtual].docx
  3. Send the abstract before September 20th 2023, 23:59 (UTC+0) to the Secretary Ms. Phaedra Fang


Conference Registration and fees

  • Registration link: (the payment request will be emailed once you complete filling out the form)
    • The Registration fee covers events and lunch from 13th to 15th November, including the first 2-day conference events during the day, the excursion on the 15th to Poas Volcano and the off-site natural history collection of the Museo Nacional, the welcoming reception on the 13th evening, and the farewell party on the 15th.
    • The registration does not include accommodation