ICMM Life Fellow Award to Stuart Parnes

Harry de Bles accepts the Award on behalf of Stuart Parnes at ICMM 2015 Congress, Hong Kong. Kevin Fewster & Sally Archer look on.

Stuart Parnes – inaugural ICMM Life Fellow

Kevin Fewster, ICMM President 2013-2015, nominated Stuart Parnes for the ICMM Life Fellow Award.

Background: ICMM was established in 1972, thus has been operating for over 40 years. During this time, various people have given great service to the organisation over many years, generally on a voluntary basis. The majority of these people gave very freely of their time over and above the normal demands of their professional jobs, while others took on voluntary ICMM work after they had left or retired from their ICMM member museum. It seems fitting and appropriate to recognise and honour such dedicated service.

The Executive Council agreed at its meeting in Greenwich, February 2014, to establish the award of an ICMM Life Fellow to recognise people who have given outstanding service to the aims, administration and activities of ICMM over an extended period of time. 

The Executive Council agreed in March 2015 to grant the first ICMM Life Fellow award to Stuart Parnes.


Kevin Fewster writes: Stuart has been active in ICMM since the early 1980s, attending virtually every biennial congress since that time. For 15 years (1996–2011) Stuart served with distinction as the ICMM Honorary Secretary-General. It is believed that he served in this role longer than any other person in ICMM’s history. Moreover, his tenure coincided with the introduction of the internet and the consequent massive transformation in the expectations of the role and the operation of the organisation. It was also during this period that ICMM transformed its governance practices: Executive Council meetings became more regular and far more demanding in terms of agendas and paperwork. Stuart provided leadership and continuity through this period of seismic evolution.

Unfortunately Stuart could not attend the 2015 Congress in Hong Kong, but he sent the following words with his acceptance of the Fellowship earlier this year:

“Thank you for this. The honour was unexpected (and un-deserved) but I am truly touched by it.  My years with ICMM provided the highlights of my museum career and many dear friends.  It was truly a privilege to have been able to serve.”