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.museum, the new alternative for museums on the internet

Home > Observatory and resources > News > .museum, the new alternative for museums on the internet

According to Afnic estimates, in 2016, only 38% of museums or related organizations in the world had a website.

Created in 2001 by the International Council of Museums (ICOM), .museum is a legacy TLD dedicated to museum activities. Backed by the experience and expertise gained as part of its task to support companies in developing their online presence, especially with the Ré program, Afnic was designated by ICOM in 2018 as the world registry operator for .museum to increase its use and adoption, thus supporting the digital transformation of museums.

Three priority projects

For a year, Afnic has been working in close conjunction with ICOM to set the criteria for allocating .museum domain names, as well as their distribution and pricing conditions in order to accelerate the access to digital technology of museum institutions and promote the adoption of the TLD, the generic term of which is international in scope. With these new provisions, .museum also helps highlight the expertise and skills of both museum employees and private individuals. It is a perfect showcase for sharing their work, their passion or their patronage activities and visibly standing out.

  • Relaxed eligibility rules

The major change made by Afnic lies in the easing of registration rules. Today, any museum or museum professional (curator, chief librarian, etc.) or anyone with an interest in a museum can register a .museum domain name. It is no longer required to be a member of ICOM, as was the case beforehand. For example, a fan of the Prado Museum can create a website with a .museum internet address. In addition, the opportunities are vast if we take into account the Artprice study of 2017, which indicated that 700 world-class museums open each year!

  • Wider distribution network

Afnic is also committed to developing the distribution network. If a large majority of registrars are located in Europe, the mesh of North America and Asia is developing to penetrate these high potential markets. Today .museum has 23 registrars around the world (vs. only 3 up until 2019).

  • Lower price

The other key point to facilitate membership is the price. While it may vary from one provider to another because of the additional services offered (hosting, security, etc.), the average price is €60 for one year, whereas previously it was around €200.


This extension has many advantages for museums, museum workers and the public with keen interest in the institutions concerned. .museum enables international outreach, and more than any other TLD, holders can assert their membership in the community by being very easily identifiable by internet users,” says Pierre Bonis, CEO of Afnic. “With more than 115,000 organizations able to register a .museum domain name, the TLD could undergo high growth in the coming years, in an area where visibility, and therefore online presence, is now essential to reach the target audience.”


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About ICOM

The International Council of Museums is an international organisation of museums and museum professionals, which is committed to the research, conservation, continuation and communication to society of the world’s natural and cultural heritage, present and future, tangible and intangible. ICOM is a membership association and a non-governmental organization, which establishes professional and ethical standards for museum activities. As a forum of experts, it makes recommendations on issues related to cultural heritage, promotes capacity building and advances knowledge. ICOM is the voice of museum professionals on the international stage and raises public cultural awareness through global networks and co-operation programmes.

About Afnic

Afnic is the acronym for Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération, the French Network Information Centre. The registry has been appointed by the French government to manage domain names under the .fr Top Level Domain. Afnic also manages the .re (Reunion Island), .pm (Saint-Pierre and Miquelon), .tf (French Southern and Antarctic Territories), .wf (Wallis and Futuna) and .yt (Mayotte) French Overseas TLDs.

In addition to managing French TLDs, Afnic’s role is part of a wider public interest mission, which is to contribute on a daily basis, thanks to the efforts of its teams and its members, to a secure and stable internet, open to innovation and in which the French internet community plays a leading role. As part of that mission, Afnic, a non-profit organization, has committed to devoting 11% of its Revenues from managing .fr Top Level Domain to actions of general interest, in particular by transferring €1.3 million each year to the Afnic Foundation for Digital Solidarity.
Afnic is also the back-end registry for the companies as well as local and regional authorities that have chosen to have their own TLD, such as .paris, .bzh, .alsace, .corsica, .mma, .ovh, .leclerc and .sncf.

Established in 1997 and based in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Afnic currently has nearly 90 employees.