About the BCMA

Supporting, empowering, and advocating for the BC cultural community since 1957

Founded in 1957, the British Columbia Museums Association (BCMA) creates a bright future for British Columbia’s museum, gallery, and related heritage communities through networking, advocacy, innovation, and professional development. Since our founding, the BCMA has grown to include more than 450 members in every corner of the province representing museums, art galleries, science centres, Indigenous cultural organizations, heritage sites, botanical and zoological gardens, cultural centres, conservation institutes, exhibition galleries permanently maintained by libraries and archives, and nature reserves.

The core of the BCMA’s work is to provide programs and services to benefit our members and the sector at large. To achieve this we are guided by the following:

Guiding Principle: We believe in the transformative power of museums.

Vision: The museum community is valued for providing leadership, dialogue, influence, and knowledge to British Columbians.

Mission: We lead by supporting, empowering, and advocating for the BC museum community.

When we say “museum” what do we mean?

BC Museums Association embraces a broad and inclusive definition of museums. In the BCMA Bylaws, a “museum” is defined as:

Institutions created in the public interest. They must engage their community, foster deeper understanding, and promote the enjoyment and sharing of authentic cultural or natural heritage. Museums work to collect, preserve, research, interpret, exhibit, and enhance understandings of people and their environment.

The definition of “museum”  includes the following: museums; art galleries; archives; heritage and cultural centres; Indigenous cultural centres, Friendship centres, and bands/council; universities and/or local governments responsible for stewarding arts, culture, and heritage; natural, archaeological and ethnographic monuments and sites and historical monuments and sites of a museum nature; institutions holding collections of and displaying live specimens of plants and animals, such as botanical and zoological gardens, aquaria and vivaria; science centres and planetaria; conservation institutes and exhibition galleries permanently maintained by libraries and archive centres; nature reserves; such other institutions as the BCMA Council determines in its discretion.

The BCMA provides a unified voice for the institutions, trustees, staff, and volunteers who make up BC’s diverse museum sector, advocating with partners in all levels of government for the critical impact our sector plays in the lives of British Columbians.

A Council elected from our membership governs the BCMA. Councillors and volunteer committees set policy and strategic priorities for the Association while services are delivered by a dedicated staff and network of professional support. The BCMA is a provincially incorporated society and a registered charitable organization.


Living Wage Certified Employer

The BCMA has committed to pay their direct staff and contracted workers a Living Wage. Learn more here.

Want to learn more about the BCMA?


Learn about our Staff, Council, and Committees

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Read about the BCMA’s ongoing commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion

BCMA History

Learn more about the history of our organization

BCMA Bylaws

Review our bylaws - last updated October 2021

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BCMA in the News

Explore recent news about the BC Museums Association