Conference 2021 Program



Thursday November 25, 2021

*Program is subject to change

Click here for session descriptions!

9:00am - 9:45am
Welcome and Opening Remarks with Minister MacLeod
9:45am - 10:00am
Break | OMA Awards of Excellence - Projects
10:00am - 11:15am
(concurrent discussions)
10:00am - 11:15am
(concurrent discussions)
11:15am - 12:00pm
Lunch Break | OMA Awards of Excellence - Individuals
12:00pm - 1:00pm
1:00pm - 1:15pm
Break | OMA Awards of Excellence - Honourable Mentions
1:15pm - 2:00pm
2:00pm - 2:30pm
Break | Recognizing Our Esteemed Colleagues
2:30pm - 3:30pm
3:30pm - 3:45pm
Break | OMA Post-Secondary Awards
3:45pm - 5:00pm
(concurrent discussions)
3:45pm - 5:00pm
(concurrent discussions)
5:00pm - 5:10pm
Break | Certificate in Museum Studies Graduation 2021
5:10pm - 5:30pm
Closing Remarks


Session Descriptions 

*Sessions will be updated as more information is announced


Talking Change, Taking Charge:
Déjà Brew – Connections, Conversation, and Coffee

Presented by: Sean Campbell and Heather Montgomery

The OMA conference is a time and place to connect with friends and colleagues, but the pandemic has prevented many of us from connecting with one another in person for two years! In this session we hope to reunite and reconnect the museum sector in a more casual way and have those conversations over coffee or tea that we been missing. Join us in Déjà Brew – Connections, Conversation, and Coffee where we reminisce and reconnect.
Talking Change, Taking Charge:
Ontario Museum Operational Funding: Where are we going?

Presented by: Michael Rikley-Lancaster

The chronic underfunding of Ontario’s museum sector exacerbated the impact of pandemic closures for museums, particularly the limitations of provincial operating funding. After hearing from our sector, Ontario’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs recommended to “Bolster the Community Museum Operating Grant program” in 2020. Hear about the OMA’s ongoing advocacy and discuss recommendations for Budget 2022 and Ontario’s 2022 election for increased operating funding for more Ontario museums. Share how enhanced provincial funding would support your museum’s recovery!
Perspectives on Reopening, Recovery, and Reimagination

Presented by Cheryl Blackman, Scott Beck, Beth Hanna, and Umbereen Inayet

Moderated by Cheryl Blackman, join Scott Beck, the President and CEO of Destination Toronto, along with Beth Hanna, the CEO of Ontario Heritage Trust, and Umbereen Inayet, Programming Supervisor at City of Toronto, as they discuss how Ontario museums have been shaped and forever changed in an ongoing process of Reopening, Recovery, and Reimagination. 
Museum of Us: Reimagining the Museum 

Presented by Micah Parzen, and Cathy Molloy

This year we welcome keynote speaker Micah Parzen! As CEO of the Museum of Us, San Diego, formerly known as the San Diego Museum of Man, Micah Parzen shows us how a museum can reimagine its traditional identity and move towards inclusivity; towards a museum that is representative of all the communities it serves. From changing names to changing practices, Micah Parzen presents a story of reimagination.
Learning from the Public

Articulating the Value of Museums to our Communities

Presented by Jennifer Forsyth, Caroline Loewen, and Victoria Dickenson

Museums for Me was launched in 2020 by the consortium of provincial and territorial museums associations and the Canadian Museums Association led by the Alberta Museums Association (AMA). The first phase of the project was to listen to Canadians. Last year, our public engagement campaign asked Canadians from all regions and with diverse backgrounds and interests, what do museums mean to you? 

In this session, the AMA will share some of the initial findings of the research and engagement campaign. We will look at the public’s perception of the role, value, and future of museums, as well as explore how views on museums have changed over time. Finally, we will consider what this information might mean for museums and how we are working to help them better communicate their value to their community. 

Reimagine Our Museums

Presented by Sonja Macdonald, Paul Shaker, and Sonia Mrva

Hamilton’s Civic Museums are treasured public institutions. Residents are proud of their museums and recognize that they have great potential to reach larger audiences, to tell more diverse stories, and to be more connected to their surrounding communities. The Reimagine our Museums project was a multi-faceted public engagement campaign designed to learn more about residents’ current experiences with these important institutions, as well as thoughts and suggestions to improve them moving forward. Through the use of innovative engagement techniques, the project balanced the experiences of existing patrons with a broader diversity of residents not currently connected with the City’s museums. In this session, Civicplan and Project Manager Sonia Mvra will discuss the Reimagine Our Museums project, process and lessons learned.  
Talking Change, Taking Charge:
Museum of the Future: Digital Transformation

Presented by: Karen Sinotte

Pre-pandemic demand for museum online content had grown 40% over two years. With online content taking centre stage over the past 20 months, what can we learn from the challenges and successes of the Great Pivot? How can we build effective and strategic growth and implementation of digital tools in our museums? In this session, moderated by Professor Karen Sinotte of George Brown College (GBC), delegates will discuss and share their experiences from more than a year of pandemic-driven digital initiatives and their vision for digital transformation. GBC and the OMA have formed a partnership to identify enablers and barriers to digitalization in the Ontario museum sector, and this discussion will inform the development of the Ontario Museum Digitalization Index and future OMA programs. The projects are funded in part by a research grant by NSERC through the College and Community Social Innovation Fund.
Talking Change, Taking Charge:
Supporting a Diverse Workforce

Presented by: Angela Cassie, Michael Rikley-LancasterMadeline Smolarz, and Jingshu Helen Yao

Museums would be nothing without all their incredible volunteers and staff. But not all museum workers are the same. Each worker is an individual with their own unique perspectives and experiences. Conference attendees who join this session will meet and brainstorm with museum professionals at different stages in their careers. Join Angela Cassie, the Vice-President of Strategic Transformation and Inclusion at the National Gallery of Canada, the Group of Ontario Emerging Museum Professionals’ Madeline Smolarz, University of Toronto's Museum Professionals of Colour’s Jingshu Helen Yao, and a representative of the Ontario Museum Professionals mid-career group in exploring how museums can support and nurture a diverse workforce. This session will focus on museum workers as individuals navigating their museum careers and doing so in ways that are mindful of all the identities they bring to their work.