What do Canadians see as the value of museums for them, their communities, and for Canada?
As a sector, we understand the significance of museums and museum work, but we do not always have the right words to express why museums matter. To support our members to speak with conviction about the public value of museums, the BCMA has partnered with our counterparts across the country on a national project, Reconsidering Museums.
Led by the Alberta Museums Association (AMA), Reconsidering Museums sets out to better understand what museums mean to Canadians and to support our sector with the tools and language necessary to advocate for the value of museums. Since 2020, the AMA has engaged with Canadians to understand the perceptions the public holds of our sector. Read the findings of their engagement campaign, Museums for Me, and research in two reports, What We Heard and Trust and Value: The Role of Museums in Canada in the Twenty-First-Century. We hope these resources will be valuable to you in your work!
At a time of increased urgency around discussions about social change and with lives disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Alberta Museums Association (AMA) wanted to examine the role of Canada’s museums in an uncertain future. In late 2020 and early 2021, the AMA consulted more than 3,000 Canadians to find out what people think about the museums of today and how they serve (or don’t serve) their communities, what museums could become in the future, and how to turn that vision into reality.
Museum workers, trustees, and volunteers expressed over and over their frustration at the difficulty in speaking to community leaders about the significance of museums and museum work. They want to advocate on behalf of museums as important public institutions, but they often cannot find the words to explain succinctly why museums matter.
Over the next year, we will be contributing to the development of an advocacy and communications toolkit with a consortium of provincial and territorial museums associations and the Canadian Museums Association. The toolkit will build on the findings of the AMA’s research and engagement campaign to re-articulate the value of museums.
The resources developed through Reconsidering Museums will provide a brand narrative and messaging that museums can use to engage the public, empowering museums with a shared language to express and substantiate the value of museums with data-driven insights, and helping to shape public dialogue on the vital role of museums in our society.