Crossing the Threshold from Community Museum to Community Resource




Session Title:

Crossing the Threshold from Community Museum to Community Resource



Huron County Museum and Historic Gaol: Meighan Wark (Director), Rick Sickinger (Cultural Development Officer), Claire Carter (Business Development Manager), Jenna Leifso (Archivist) and Will Kernohan (Assistant Curator)


Session Description:

In 2013, Huron County Museum completed a study and new strategic plan with an eye to increasing its capacity and improving its levels of public engagement. In 2014, the County of Huron completed a Municipal Cultural Plan which identified the Museum as a key cultural resource in Huron County. Both plans highlight the importance of fostering partnerships and collaborations within the sector in order to strengthen heritage and culture initiatives in Huron County. This session will discuss the Huron County Museum's efforts to develop partnerships and collaborations with a broad range of community groups. We'll talk about lessons learned and challenges faced as we have undergone the transformative process of becoming a responsive community resource. What have been the outcomes and what happens next?


Session Slides: 

Download the Presentation Slides [ PDF ]

Presenter Biographies:

 Meighan Wark Director  (Huron County Museum and Historic Gaol)

Meighan Wark (BA, MLIS) is Director of Cultural Services and County Librarian at the County of Huron. Her current PhD studies focus on rural social capital and cultural development. Since taking over the role of Director in 2011, Meighan has overseen the development of new Strategic Plans for the Huron County Museum, Gaol and Library as well as the County of Huron's Municipal Cultural Plan.  All emphasize the importance of community engagement in the development and implementation of cultural programming.


Rick Sickinger Cultural Development Officer (County of Huron)

Rick took on the role of Cultural Development Officer for the County of Huron in 2011. As part of that position he has overseen a countywide Cultural Mapping project (2011/12) and the development of a new Municipal Cultural Plan (2013/14). Prior to joining the County he worked in theatre, visual arts and concert production. Rick currently sits on the Board of Directors for Huron Arts & Heritage Network and Blyth Arts and Cultural Initiative 14/19 Inc.   


Claire Carter Business Development Manager (Huron County Museum and Historic Gaol)

Claire Carter is the Business Development Manager at the Huron County Museum.  Her role includes partnership development, social media management and outreach.  Claire has a BA in Communications Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Public Relations.


Jenna Leifso Archivist  (Huron County Museum and Historic Gaol)


Jenna Leifso is currently the Archivist at the Huron County Museum and Historic Goal.  She has an Honours BA in History and Bioarchaeological Anthropology and a History MA from the University of Western Ontario. Jenna received her Certificate in Museum Studies in 2014.   She has previously worked at the Owen Sound Marine and Rail Museum, Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre, and Stratford Festival Archives. Jenna was part of the team that developed the Henderson Digitization Project: WWII Air Training Sites in Huron County.  


Will Kernohan Assistant Curator (Huron County Museum and Historic Gaol)

Will Kernohan has been working in museums for over 12 years, as an Interpreter at The Waterloo Regional Children’s Museum, Education Coordinator at the Joseph Schneider Haus, Education and Public Programs Manager at The Stratford Perth Museum and most recently as Acting Assistant Curator at The Huron County Museum and Historic Gaol. An avid love of education, social history and participatory programing experiences has led him to share his passions with the public and he hopes to continue to work in education and public programing.