By Renee Montgomery
The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience (ICSC) is a worldwide network of museums, historic sites and initiatives commemorating struggles for justice or human rights. The ICSC “activates the power of places of memory to engage the public with a deeper understanding of the past and inspire action to shape a just future.”
The Coalition currently has 185 members from around the world, from historic houses to emerging memory initiatives, “But they are united by their common commitment to connect past to present, memory to action.” Several Western museums are already ICSC members, including the Skirball Cultural Center, Museum of Tolerance – Los Angeles, Manzanar National Historical Site, Angel Island State Park, Japanese American National Museum, and the Arizona State Museum. Furthermore, W. Richard West, President and CEO of the Autry National Center of the American West, serves on the group’s international Board of Trustees.
By joining the Coalition, organizations are entitled to several benefits, including direct funding for civic engagement programs, learning exchanges ranging from one-on-one collaborations to international conferences, and help with strategic advocacy. Specifically all Coalition members are eligible to:
- Apply for Project Support Fund and Peer Exchange grants of up to $10,000
- Receive and participate in trainings, workshops, conferences, and exchanges – usually at reduced or no cost
- Access the ICSC’s Online Resource Center – an online hub for methodology tools, such as program models from members around the world, publications, educational resources, and evaluation tools
- Develop or join collaborative projects on specific themes, like “Navigating Difference” and “The Girl Ambassadors for Human Rights”
Certain members’ achievements are also spotlighted on the ICSC’s website.
Membership fees are based on an organization’s annual operating budget:
- $100/year for budgets under $75,000;
- $200 for $75,000 - 300,000
- $300 for $300,000 - 1,200,000
- $400 for $1,200,000 – 5,000,000
- $500 for budgets over $5,000,000
Current ICSC campaigns or events revolve around the issues of dictatorships and repressions, gender equality, religious tolerance, and torture and detention, among many. Several of our Western museums and sites are active in the ICSC’s Immigration and Civil Rights networks in particular.