Bridges and the Next Generation of Museum Workers



Session Title:

Bridges and the Next Generation of Museum Workers



Shelley Crawford (Program Coordinator, Centennial College), Cathy Molloy (Director, Markham Museum), and Cheryl Blackman (Assistant Vice-President, Audience, Royal Ontario Museum)


Session Description:

Let’s examine how we foster or discourage the next generation of museum workers…what are the opportunities (bridges) we build for a mutually beneficial experiential learning situation and what barriers do we put up (intentionally and unintentionally) to restrict our staff and our organizations from fully participating in this process? During this session the following questions will be explored: What can we learn today that helps us manage the process of encouraging and supporting young cultural workers across our museums? Do we have an obligation to support interns, placement students, and co-op students? How much of a museum worker’s time should be spent in procuring, training, mentoring and supporting the next generation of cultural workers? What role is undertaken by the educational institution, and what responsibility falls upon the student to negotiate an ideal ‘placement’? How do cultural organizations respond to requests – from educators and from students? Is there a person in the museum that fields the inquiries? What information do you require to move forward with a request? Are there policies on the procurement of interns or students: the type of work they might undertake, access to information, the liability of the museum should there be an accident and the issue of compensation versus no payment at all?

Presenter Biographies:

Shelley Crawford Program Coordinator (Centennial College, The Story Centre)

Shelley Crawford Is the Program Coordinator of the new post graduate certificate program in Arts Management at Centennial College’s Story Centre in the School of Communications, Media and Design. Her teaching experience spans programs at the University of Toronto Scarborough, Confederation College/Lakehead University, Waterloo University and other colleges across Canada. She has taught and placed many hundreds of arts and cultural management students over three decades and has a firm grasp of the value of local, national and global networks.

Cathy Molloy Director (Markham Museum)

Cathy Molloy has been the Director of Markham Museum since August 2008. She began her work career as an accountant at the head office of Peoples Jewellers in Toronto. In 1992 she started her curatorial career, holding positions at Oshawa and then Markham, Ontario. Her first major museum management project was in Aurora, where Church Street School was saved and transformed into a Cultural Centre in 2008. Cathy returned to Markham Museum as Director later that same year. Together with staff, the Friends foundation, stakeholders and the community, Markham Museum has been transformed into a dynamic community resource.


Cheryl Blackman Assistant Vice-President, Audience (Royal Ontario Museum)

Cheryl is Assistant Vice-President, Audience at the ROM. She is responsible for the visitor
experience in the Museum. In addition to managing the front of house team, she also oversees audience research - understanding more about our visitors' interests in participating at the ROM. Cheryl combines this role with being liaison for the 1200 Volunteers at the ROM, and leading the ROM's Community Access Network, with its more than 40 partnerships with groups across the GTA.