Paradigm Shifts: The challenge of Negotiating Governance

Friday, November 8 - 10:45 am to 12:00 pm


Virginia Eichhorn, Director & Chief Curator, Tom Thomson Art Gallery & Owen Sound Museums; Catherine Richards, Manager Curator, Aurora Historical Society/ Hillary House National Historic Site; John Summers, General Manager, Canadian Canoe Museum

Download the Virginia Eichhorn presentation [ PDF 1.2mb ]
Download the Catherine Richards presentation  [ PDF 300kb ]
Download the John Summers Presentation [ PDF 7mb ]

 Catherine Richards
Catherine Richards


Session Description

Get an insider’s perspective of the circumstances, decision process, and community response to the closure of the Marine & Rail Museum, and the partnership between the Billy Bishop Museum and Tom Thomson Art Gallery in Owen Sound. Hear from colleagues at the Aurora Historical Society/Hillary House NHS and the Canadian Canoe Museum about their experience addressing challenges and negotiating governance, leading to success.

In April of 2012, the Tom Thomson Art Gallery took over the management of the Owen Sound Museums.  As the Director, I was charged with looking at new models of operations, sustainability and governance, and make recommendations in regards to the future of the Museums.  The recommendations made include the closure of the Marine & Rail Museum and a partnership between the Tom Thomson Art Gallery and Billy Bishop Museum.  It is a new model which sees the Museum and Gallery working together closely, maintaining the legacy of the history of the marine and rail and developing a new partnership model. This has been met with enthusiasm but also controversy.  It's a significant test case for other communities who may be struggling with the same issues.


Presenter Biographies


Director & Chief Curator, Tom Thomson Art Gallery & Owen Sound Museums
Virginia Eichhorn has worked in the visual arts field for over twenty-five years and is the Director & Chief Curator of the Tom Thomson Art Gallery, Billy Bishop and Owen Sound Marine and Rail museums. A member of the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective, the International Association of Art Museum Curators, the Canadian Art Museum Directors’ Organization and the Association of Art Museum Curators and Vice President of the Ontario Association of Art Galleries, in 2009 she won the Ontario Crafts Council Award for Curatorial Excellence.



Virginia Eichhorn


Manager/ Curator, Aurora Historical Society/ Hillary House National Historic Site
Catherine Richards is the Manager/ Curator for the Aurora Historical Society/ Hillary House National Historic Site. She holds a Certificate in Museum Management and Curatorship and a Masters of Information in Archives Management/ Cultural Heritage. Catherine has gained her work experience through institutions such as the Ontario Museum Association, Canadian Broadcast Museum Foundation, and Textile Museum of Canada. In 2011, she was 1 of 19 Canadians selected to participate in the Getty Leadership Institute/ Alberta Museums Association’s inaugural Next Gen: Canada museum leadership training program. Catherine currently holds the position of Chair for the York Durham Association of Museum and Archives (YDAMA).

Catherine Richards


General Manager, Canadian Canoe Museum
Since graduating with a Master of Museum Studies degree from the University of Toronto, John has worked as a not-for-profit administrator, curator and educator in both the United States and Canada. He has particular interests in maritime heritage, museology, exhibit planning and design and the application of new technology to cultural heritage. He is also an instructor for the Fleming College Museum Management and Curatorship program, where he will be teaching a new course this fall entitled, "Technology Applications in Museums". He has been with the Canadian Canoe Museum as General Manager since 2008.

John Summers