Annual Conference 2021

OMACONF 2021 Reimagination reopening recovery
Screenshot of Zoom with Minister Lisa MacLeod on left and Paul Robertson on right.
Cathy Molloy on the left, Micah Parzen on the right. Screenshot of Zoom. Micah Parzen is speaking.
Screenshot of Zoom with Beth Hanna in top left, Scott Beck in top right, and Cheryl Blackman in bottom centre.



Land Acknowledgement: As an organization of provincial scope, the Ontario Museum Association recognizes that its members and community live and work on the lands and territories of Indigenous peoples. Toronto, where the OMA offices are located, is the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, Haudenosaunee and the Huron Wendat. This territory is part of the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Agreement, an agreement between the Anishinaabeg, Haudenosaunee and allied nations to peaceably share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. This territory is also covered by the Upper Canada Treaties.

As you participate, we invite you to reflect on the land that you are on, who the traditional keepers of the land are, what the treaty relationship is, or if it is unceded territory. We wish to express our gratitude for the resources we are using and pay respect to the rich and ongoing Indigenous history of what is now Ontario and Canada.

We encourage our members to listen to and amplify the voices of Indigenous peoples and communities. Resources and further information can be found on the OMA website under resources and tools for museum practice, HERE.

Statement of Valuing Diversity: The OMA is committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes participation from visible minority group members, women, Indigenous persons, persons with disabilities, members of sexual minority groups, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas.

OMA Conference 2021 Highlights

The OMA’s second virtual Annual Conference was a success, and we want to share some highlights from this gathering of the Ontario museum community!
We were pleased to welcome The Honourable Lisa McLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, who addressed OMA delegates and answered important questions about the future of Ontario's museums.

We also welcomed 228 museum professionals from 80+ different institutions on our virtual platform for a full day of reconnection and rejuvenation.
  • Among delegates, 72 participated for the first time, and we were happy to welcome back 57 conference regulars.
  • Colleagues in different stages of their career and in diverse roles gathered in the conference’s online venue, including 85 emerging museum professionals.
  • Ontario’s heritage organizations are diverse in scope and mission, and this year we welcomed delegates from municipal museums, community museums, historic sites, art galleries, provincial or national museums, and other institutions.  
  • A fully subsidized registration category was offered this year in recognition of the extraordinary circumstances facing the heritage sector this year. We are happy that 61 conference delegates chose this opportunity to attend. 
This conference was an opportunity for the Ontario museum community to come together and discuss their experiences over the last two years. Attendees of the Talking Change, Taking Charge "Déjà Brew - Connections, Conversations, and Coffee" session were asked to provide one word to describe their work over the last two years, producing this word cloud. 
Throughout the conference, delegates embraced the opportunity to reimagine their practices and the path to recovery. The program sessions were a reflection of the current state of the sector and its future, such as reopening amidst a pandemic, rethinking and reimagining core missions and values, and learning from the public and communities we serve. The “Talking Change, Taking Charge” discussions were similarly about reimagination and looking forward. They were an opportunity to brainstorm and converse about the possibilities that a renewed funding model would bring, how to support a diverse workforce, and the digitalization of museums.
  • Our program featured 7 conference sessions and 6 celebratory videos, including the Awards of Excellence.
  • The top rated session was the keynote with Micah Parzen: Museum of Us: Reimagining the Museum.
  • With 150 views, our most viewed video was the Awards of Excellence – Projects. 
Irene Pradyszczuk joined other in sharing a #mugshot to the activity stream, showing a groovy mug from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland. 
We have received overwhelmingly positive feedback and are grateful to all of our community members who have shared their experiences with us! About 90% of delegates expressed high levels of satisfaction with the virtual conference, and most would recommend the event to friends and colleagues. We are working towards making next year’s conference even better, so thank you for your feedback and suggestions. 
See you at the OMA Annual Conference in 2022!



The Ontario Museum Association's online Annual Conference 2021 and Annual General Meeting 2021 are supported by the Government of Ontario. 

The Logo of the Government of Ontario