Announcing the Paul O. Robertson Memorial Bursary

nov 09, 2022
November 9, 2022
Paul O. Robertson Memorial Bursary
Ontario Museum Association
The Ontario Museum Association is proud to recognize a significant legacy with the announcement of the Paul O. Robertson Memorial Bursary. The bursary will be awarded to one or more OMA Conference delegates who identify as members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and as emerging museum professionals, in order to support their attendance and participation in the Ontario Museum Association's annual conference. 
The bursary serves to create more opportunities for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community by supporting OMA members and 2SLGBTQIA+ emerging museum professionals in advancing their education and professional development. 

In collaboration with Edgar Tumak, Paul's husband, the bursary is named in honour of Paul in recognition of him being a proud openly gay man and a dedicated same sex husband and how this informed the significant contributions this made to the Ontario Museum Association, and to the Ontario museum community as a whole during his term as the President of the OMA Council, along with his involvement in numerous other initiatives.
Paul made contributions to the Ontario museum community for more than 30 years, working in museums and heritage since the 80s at the Official Residences of the Nation al Capital Commission, the House of Commons, the Canadian Museum of History (Civilization), the Museum of Health Care at Kingston, and as Kingston's first City Curator, a post he held for more than a decade.
As an active member of the OMA, Paul served the Ontario museum community on OMA Council and committees, including the Nominations Committee, Looking Ahead Task Force, Conference Committee, Modernizing Community Museum Funding Working Group , and in various Executive Positions including as OMA President from 2019 to 2021.
His professional contribution to our sector was substantial. Some of his earliest involvements with the OMA were May is Museum Month events in Eastern Ontario in the early 2000s, and he was an engaged representative for Museums at Queen's Park Days, OMA Conferences, and Study Tours. In 2010, he was elected to serve on the OMA s Nominations committee, eventually becoming an OMA Councillor in 2016 and Vice President in 2017. Paul welcomed the OMA to Kingston on several occasions, including as
Conference Chair in 2017. His leadership and forward thinking supported the OMA s Looking Ahead Task Force, which helped our sector define its vision in Ontario's Museums 2025. He led by example, building a culture of respect and inclusion and taking an active role in supporting emerging professionals, including through Conference Connections mentorship and the Inclusive Museum Leadership Symposium. He encouraged others to participate in OMA opportunities like Conference and the Diversity Census through making personal videos.
In recent years as OMA President, he took on a greater role in the OMA's advocacy, meeting with Ministers, governments, and funders to express the challenges and contributions of museums. He deftly and persistently represented the sector, including on the Modernizing Community Museum Funding Working Group of OMA Council, and on an advisory for the future of the R. Tait MacKenzie Memorial Museum in Almonte. His advocacy work continued up to a deposition to the Town of Gananoque in April of 2022. During the pandemic, Paul continued to lead, offering words of encouragement to the OMA and to Ontario's museums and meeting with then Minister Lisa MacLeod at two OMA online conferences.
Whether he was chairing and facilitating gatherings, meeting with elected officials, Ministers and key stakeholders, presenting at various museum events, or offering good advice, Paul always brought a sense of good humour and cheer along with his knowledge and wide-ranging expertise. We remember his steadfastness, encouragement, and warm demeanour. He was a passionate advocate, tireless leader, and a true friend. It was an honour to work alongside him, and we miss him dearly.

The OMA hopes that this Paul O. Robertson Memorial bursary will serve as an ongoing reminder of the contributions he made to the museum community, and that it will continue Paul’s work of building connections and championing inclusion.

We look forward to sharing more about the bursary and application dates in 2023.
Ontario Museum Association Paul O. Robertson Memorial Bursary
To honour Paul’s legacy, donations to the Ontario Museum Association Paul O. Robertson Memorial Bursary can be made through the OMA’s CanadaHelps page, available here:
Donate here through CanadaHelps.
We thank everyone for their contributions to the Ontario museum community and support of the Ontario Museum Association.
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