Conference Speakers

Ontario Museum Association 2017 Conference, Kingston, Ontario


Session Speakers: Thursday, October 12, 2017




A Model of Collaboration: The Kingston Association of  Museums, Art Galleries and Historic Sites

Tabitha Renaud

  The Kingston Association of Museums, Art Galleries and Historic Sites (KAM) is an alliance of over 30 sites in the Kingston area that collaborates in a number of exciting ways to benefit its members and the wider community. Using KAM as a model, this presentation will outline how networks of museums can successfully work together towards mutually beneficial goals in a number of areas such as marketing, programming, community engagement, professional development, advocacy and special projects.  


Watch the full presentation HERE.

Read the full presentation HERE.


  Tabitha Renaud is a PhD candidate and Teaching Fellow at Queen’s University who served as President of the Kingston Association of Museums in 2014-5. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for several heritage groups in Kingston, Ontario including the Kingston Association of Museums, the Kingston Historical Society, Beyond Classrooms Kingston and the Kingston Regional Heritage Fair. Tabitha also serves on the steering committee that operates the Murney Tower Museum. She has worked at the Museum of Health Care, MacLachlan Woodworking Museum, the Delta Mill Museum and the archives for National Defense Canada. 



Building on Community Partnerships: Expanding the Horizons at Lang Pioneer Village Museum

Elizabeth King &

Laurie Siblock

 This session will focus on three areas in which Lang Pioneer Village Museum has been able to extend its programming and broaden its audience appeal through partnerships with the local community. The development of the Museum’s First Nations on-site encampment and interpretation, the restoration and development of its Jacquard loom exhibit and interpretive centre and the construction of a new, multi-purpose agricultural heritage building have all been achieved through the fostering of community partnerships.
Watch the full presentation HERE.
Read the full presentation HERE.
  Laurie Siblock is the Assistant Manager at Lang Pioneer Village Museum. Since 2006 her work in the Village has focused on creating a thriving living history museum through the development of a robust volunteer program and an exciting roster of special events. She believes the strength of the Village depends on the development of partnerships with local organizations, arts and crafts guilds and First Nation communities. She is the staff project lead on both the Aabnaabin Camp and Jacquard Loom special projects. Laurie has twice participated in a one-week reconciliation event (2014 & 2016) during which she lived with an Oji-Cree family in Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug for one week to learn about the pride the community holds for their lands and traditions, as well as the challenges they face.


In Our Own Words: Exploring Collaborations


  The project explored local history from the mid-19th century through to today captured in personal writings in traditional diaries and via social media platforms. Five diaries from the Province of Ontario and five more from our collection were brought together. Through genealogical research we were able to get in touch with the descendants of these early settlers and we also reached out to newer residents to share details about living in Markham today.

Janet Reid

  Janet Reid, Collections Coordinator, assumed responsibilty for the curatorial program at Markham Museum in 2009. She executed the transfer and consolidation of the Museum’s artifacts and archives to a centralized facility in 2011 and  initiated the museums’ online collections programs. Working collaboratively with the program staff she is currently working to bring the collections and exhibtion programs in line with the museum's new strategic direction. She collaborates with partners internaly and externally in the development of exhibitions. Janet has a Masters of Museum Studies from the University of Toronto and an undergraduate degree in science from the University of Ottawa. Prior to joining the Markham Museum, she was the Manager of Museum Services at the Textile Museum and worked as a consultant to the field for seven years. She is currently Secretary of the York Durham Association of Museums and Archives.

Lindsay Bontoft

  Lindsay Bontoft, Program Coordinator, assumed responsibilty for the Program Department at Markham Museum in February 2016 after working for the museum as the Exhibition Engagement and Communications Administrator for a year. She is responsible for developing the Museum’s programmed offerings including public programs, camps, birthday parties, and educational programs and supervises over 30 part time staff. In the creation of these programs, Lindsay develops and maintains partnerships with community organizations and internal departments within the City of Markham. Prior to joining the Markham Museum, she was the Program and Development Coordinator at the Museum of Inuit Art for three years and completed an internship with the University College London’s Museums working on their ‘Heritage in Hospitals’ Project. She has a Masters of Museum Studies from the University of Toronto and an undergraduate degree in history from York University.


Gamification: Bringing New Things to Old Places


  This session is intended to discuss the potential of gamification in historic sites and museums as a non-traditional and innovative use of museum and historic site space. Gamification offers a means of reinvigorating exhibits, revitalizing historic narratives, and drawing new demographics into historic programming. By discussing our experiences with historic gamification, we hope to share our techniques, research, and lessons.


Melissa Eapen

  Melissa Eapen is the Co-Founder and Director of Business Development of HIPSTORY and Improbable Escapes Inc. With her educational background in Psychology, Computer Science and Pre-service Firefighter Training & Education, she started her career in property management and then quickly followed her passion for gamification and teaching through play to be on the front line of escape rooms in historic sites and museums. She just finished expanding her puzzle rooms to a new space that is over 4 times the size of her first location. During the day you can find her working with local partners to write, and produce historical games and tours all over the city including Kingston City Hall, Fort Henry National Historic Site, St. Lawrence College, the Kingston Public Library, Bellevue House, Murney Tower National Historic Site and many others. 






Approaches to Measuring Social Cultural Impacts of  Museums


  This workshop will present approaches to developing consistent, compelling, evidencebased impact narratives to help museums and their stakeholders better understand the cultural and social benefits of their programs. We will draw on Nordicity’s work with clients in the culture sector, as well as prevailing methodologies to explore opportunities for capacity building at every stage of the impact measurement process, making sense of the results.


Read the full presentation HERE.


Negin Zebarjad

  Negin Zebarjad is a Manager at Nordicity's Toronto office. Negin has worked with clients in the culture sector and beyond, across Canada and in the UK, to develop and implement evaluation tools to build organizational capacity and inform decision-making. She is currently working with the Toronto Public Library to develop a suite of resources for libraries across the province to assess the outcomes of their technology services, and with the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown, PE, to measure the economic and social impacts of the Centre’s array of heritage, visual arts, performing arts, and educational programs. In previous engagements, she has worked with Arts Council England to evaluate the pilot roll-out of the Quality Metrics Programme, as well as with the Bata Shoe Museum to assess the economic, social, cultural, and educational impacts of its 20th Anniversary Year. Negin is on the Board of Directors of Mercer Union, A Centre for Contemporary Art, an artist-run centre in Toronto. She holds a B.A. (Honours) in Art History from Queen’s University, an M.A. in Art History from York University, and an M.B.A. from the Schulich School of Business.   


Engaging Youth Without a Hashtag

  Drawing on scholarship, case studies, and experience, this session will examine the current opportunities and challenges of attracting and engaging young audiences. The session will also provide some ideas and thoughts regarding potential audience development and programming opportunities for museums.


Watch the full presentation HERE.

Read the full presentation HERE.


Stephanie Sukhareva

  Stephanie Sukhareva is a second-year Master of Museum Studies graduate student of the University of Toronto. Stephanie is interested in community collaboration projects and has participated in exhibition and program development with a focus on public-sourced content through her involvement with Mackenzie House Historic Building. She believes firmly in the importance of knowledge-sharing and community building among emerging museum professionals, facilitating several EMP meetups in Toronto.

Jocelyn Kent

  Jocelyn Kent is a second-year Master of Museum Studies student from the University of Toronto. She has contributed to exhibition development and programming for museums and heritage organizations in Toronto and the Niagara region, including, most recently, at Fort York National Historic Site. She is also the Chair of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario’s NextGen group.


A Passport to History


  Last year, the Museums of Prince Edward County developed a passport program that was designed to encourage visitors to explore the County’s heritage as fully as possible. The focus of this presentation will be on the development of the passport, how it succeeded and what could be improved.


Watch the full presentation HERE.

Read the full presentation HERE.


Jessica Chase

  Jessica Chase is from Peterborough, Ontario, and is currently the Assistant Curator for the Museums of Prince Edward County. After graduating from Trent University, she began volunteering at the Canadian Canoe Museum, which inspired her to pursue a career in Culture and Heritage. Jessica was a member of the inaugural class of Centennial College's Culture and Heritage Site Management postgraduate program, and her internship through that program led to her first paid role in the sector working for the City of Toronto at Scarborough Museum. This was followed by a year as Curator of the newly formed Fergie Jenkins Museum in St. Catharines, and two years in London, England, working in Visitor Services for the Royal Collection Trust at Buckingham Palace. Jessica has been with the Museums of Prince Edward County since April of 2016.
Community and Self Representation

  The Story of M is an innovative multi-pronged resident driven storytelling tool for Culture and Heritage departments in the City of Mississauga. Modeled as a socially based art project for engagement in public space, the 3 year project is designed with the goal of city building, social connection and sharing to achieve the outcome of establishing core historical and modern thematics to drive arts & cultural direction for a meaningful and questioning perspective.


Watch the full presentation HERE.


Stuart Keeler

  Stuart Keeler is a cultural producer with broad international experience in curating, programming, writing about and commissioning contemporary artists, public art and socially based interventions in the public realm. Keeler’s research interests include contemporary art and its critical context in relation to communities; embodiment, diaspora issues and performativity, socially based art actions in gallery and urban space contexts as well as cultural and artistic forms of sculptural practices and thinking. Educated and trained to work in museums and galleries, Stuart is currently appointed as Chief Curator | Manager, Museums & Traditions – Arts & Culture, City of Mississauga. 



Hacking the Museum: Collections Data as Opportunity


  This presentation intends to introduce museum professionals to the concept of “hackathons” in the museum context. E. Canning will conceptually reposition the collection as data, and describe incentives for museum professionals to host hacks at their own institutions. I will cover examples of museums providing their own data sets for hacking opportunities, as well as the value in using your institution as a host location for larger cultural data hacks.


Watch the full presentation HERE.

Read the full presentation HERE.


Erin Canning

  Erin Canning is a Masters student at the University of Toronto, studying information systems and collections data management in cultural institutions. Her research interests focus on open and linked metadata, affective metadata in art museums, and museum collections as data.


Made “By Hand”: An Innovative Partnership of Art & Heritage

Kate Butler

  In 2015, the Haliburton Highlands Museum and the Rails End Gallery partnered with artist Elinor Whidden for a show over a year in the making. Entitled “By Hand”, it juxtaposed the labours of early Ontario settlers facing a hard scrabble existence on the edge of the Canadian Shield with our modern “throwaway” society focused on electronics and technology.


Watch the full presentation HERE.



  Kate Butler has been Director of the Haliburton Highlands Museum since February of 2013. Prior to that, she worked at a variety of cultural institutions in both Canada and Ireland. A folklorist by training, she has conducted research across Canada, Europe and the Caribbean, as well as teaching at both Memorial University of Newfoundland and Cape Breton University.



Pedal to the Medal: The Drive to Stay Open and Relevant


  Using the Canadian Transportation Museum & Heritage Village (CTMHV) as a case study, this session aims to explore various ways a small but dedicated group of individuals can make huge steps in transforming an institution. This session will look at the different and innovative ways the museum has used to rebrand and strengthen community support, develop new sponsorship campaigns and focus on becoming a hub for history for the region.


Read the full presentation HERE.


Megan Meloche

  Megan Meloche has an undergrad and masters in History from the University of Windsor and a certificate in Museum Management and Curatorship from Sir Sanford Fleming. She has been involved in museums for over 10 years and is currently a consultant in public history with not-for-profit museums and profit based companies. With the Canadian Transportation Museum & Heritage Village, Megan is working on ensuring the preservation of the museum and its collection, as well as grant writing and overall strategic management. Working alongside an enthusiastic staff, dedicated volunteers and community stakeholders, all are working to transform the museum and historic village into a dynamic community centre. In addition to this, Megan is working with the Rotary Club of Windsor (1918) to organize their archival collection and design an exhibition for their centennial in 2018, and she is an active volunteer member with the Essex Municipal Heritage Committee. 


Touchdown! Successful Partnership Between the Aurora Museum & Archives and the Aurora Sports Hall of Fame


  A successful partnership has developed between the Aurora Museum & Archives and the Aurora Sports Hall of Fame which has culminated in a vibrant and engaging space for celebrating the legacy of sport in Aurora. Both faced incredible spatial and accessibility restrictions, so this partnership has brought new museum quality exhibits a new space while maximizing the potential for both institutions to showcase local sport heritage.


Read the full presentation HERE.


Shawna White

  Shawna White has a 25+ year career in the museum and cultural sector. She is currently the Curator of the Aurora Museum & Archives, a newly created position that she has held since 2014. A graduate of the Museum Studies program at the University of Toronto, Shawna also holds a master's degree in Classical Archaeology from SUNY Albany. She has extensive experience in a variety of cultural enterprises including Cultural Asset Management Group, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and Sotheby's (Canada) Inc. Shawna loves exploring new partnerships that expand the museum's reach beyond its four walls to keep local history alive and relevant.

Nancy Black

  Nancy Black brings over 20 years of experience in the community as a coach, athlete, volunteer, founder and executive. She is the current Executive Director of the Aurora Sports Hall of Fame, and in that capacity is involved in the recruitment of volunteers, the day-to-day operations through the Hall’s business plan, the ongoing sustainability and the expansion of the Hall of Fame. Nancy founded the Aurora Master Ducks Swim Club, which became the 4th largest adult swim club in Canada. She also founded the Aurora chapter of Special Olympics Ontario, now serving over 100 individuals with an intellectual disability. 
Dead Men Do Tell Tales: Where Heritage and Theatre Meet

  In the summer of 2017, the Lake Scugog Historical Society (LSHS) partnered with Theatre 3x60 to take their already successful cemetery walking tours to a new level. They wanted to increase community engagement by creating theatrical vignettes to tell the stories of those buried in the historic Pine Grove Cemetery. This collaborative partnership between historical society and theatrical company brought together two exciting facets of the arts and culture of our local community.


Watch the full presentation HERE.

Read the full presentation HERE.


Dr. Amy Barron

  Dr. Amy Barron has worked in the museum field for twenty years specializing in museums’ roles in community engagement through education, public programs, and community partnerships. She has worked in both large and small museums, both private and publically funded, and as both staff and consultant.  Amy currently teaches Education and Interpretative Programming for Fleming College’s Museum Management and Curatorship post-graduate certificate program and the OMA’s Museums and the Community certificate course. She has also previously taught ancient history and archaeology at the University of Toronto (where she received her PhD) and the University of Guelph-Humber. She serves as the Community Programmer for the Scugog Shores Museums in Port Perry.

Carey Nicholson

  Carey Nicholson has been engaged in performing arts for over 40 years, starting with community theatre in St.Catharines, Ontario. She moved to Toronto to pursue professional dance studies at George Brown College and the School of the Toronto Dance Theatre, graduating from both professional programs and becoming a faculty member at STDT for 15 years. Her theatre training includes studies at the Stratford Festival, Tarragon Theatre, Toronto Playback Theatre and Theatre Ontario. She has been involved with community and professional theatre companies in Durham, York region and elsewhere as a board member, producer, director, choreographer, performer, set and costume designer. Carey has been recognized for her work in theatre with several awards, including a DATCA (Durham Art of Transition Creative Award) in 2014 for her contribution to theatre in Durham Region. She is now artistic director and co-founder of Theatre 3×60, an independent arts educator and a member of the Theatre Ontario Talent Bank as a theatre adjudicator.




First Peoples Inclusion in All Things Museum


  In September 2016, the City of Kingston initiated a 21-month project entitled Engage for Change: a Reconciliation Journey to support local youth, newcomers, seniors, business leaders and diverse community members with an opportunity to build their awareness and knowledge about First Peoples histories, stories and identities. The Engage for Change project is multi-faceted in its offering of a student curricular program, various public dance/ musical performance engagements, and a Talking Circle program that partners with 10 diverse community agencies.


Read the full presentation HERE.


Dr. Terri-Lynn Brennan

  With a foundation in government politics, and as a government certified archaeologist and classroom educator, Dr. Terri-Lynn Brennan has engaged in project management, cultural research and social analysis across the UK, Egypt and Nepal, as well as within the rural communities of the South Pacific, Eastern Europe and North America. Her extended experience engaging diverse global communities has inspired her personal journey as a non-status Mohawk woman to return to the region of her birth and now critically review and investigate the promotion and support of policy inclusion and program development of ancestral voices, traditions, teachings and knowledge across Kingston and the whole of Turtle Island.  Terri lives on Wolfe Island, in the 1000 Islands and shares her life journey with partner Mark and Portugeuse Water Dog, Higgs Boson.

Dr. Jennifer Campbell


  Dr. Jennifer Campbell holds her BA, MA, and PhD in Anthropological Archaeology with a focus on heritage at each level. She has worked in cultural heritage throughout her career and in a number of capacities; including work with community museums in Newfoundland, archaeological excavation in Ontario and northern Labrador, heritage assessment and development in Pakistan and India, and architectural documentation and analysis in up-state New York. Before joining the Cultural Services Department in Kingston Jennifer was an Assistant Professor at the State University of New York. She is the vice-president of the Canadian Archaeological Association, the Chair of their Heritage Policy and Legislation Committee, the Director of the Caravanserai Networks Project, and a research fellow at the University of Toronto and Trent University. Her work has always focused on the management of heritage resources and the use of new media to document and present heritage assets as well as to engage new patrons and to present tangible and intangible heritage to the public.

Hugh Ostrom

  Hugh Ostrom is graduate of Algonquin College in Ottawa and Trent University in Peterborough in architectural technology and history respectively. Joining Parks Canada in 2014 having previously worked in the private industry as a design consultant and project manager, he is now the Superintendent of National Historic Sites in the Georgian Bay and Ontario East region.  Hugh is the recipient of the Chief Scout's Award, 1993, and now working with Parks Canada's National Historic Sites give him the opportunity to combine his love of the outdoors with history. He makes his home in Kingston with his wife Natalie and their three children.

Back to top of page...


Session Speakers: Friday, October 13, 2017

Bring an Object, Share a Story, Make a Connection: Fostering Community Through Material Heritage

  This session will offer attendees the opportunity to take part in and reflect on a sample storytelling session based on the model developed by the SSHRC-funded Show, Tell, Bridge project. The model and discussion will focus on the use of object-centred storytelling groups to promote engagement with material heritage collections and build bridges among individuals to foster community.


Read the full presentations HERE.


Maeghan Jerry

  Maeghan Jerry is a research assistant on the Show, Tell, Bridge project and a graduate student in the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information, where she is currently completing her Master of Museum Studies and her Master of Information in Archives and Records Management.  
So Long and Thanks for All the Fish: Exploring Museum Futures

  This panel presents emerging research on diversifying museological practices. This session brings together these two disparate spheres in order to re-frame institutional practice and envisions ways to grow, change and renew preconceived notions. This panel investigates how aquarium and zoo practices can speak to the challenges of heritage sites in outer space and how the emerging need for protection of heritage objects in outer space can illuminate challenges faced by institutions on Earth. These case studies contribute to a larger conversation about the role of best practices and ethical decision making across institutions in an effort to bring different types of museums together to re - envision museological practice.


Watch the full presentation HERE.

Read the full presentation HERE.


Lindsay Marlies Small

  Lindsay Marlies Small is a PhD student at the University of Toronto. She has a masters degree in museum studies as well as science and technology studies. Her research interests include heritage management in outer space and the neoliberalization of the American space program. 

Mary Kate Whibbs

  Mary Kate Whibbs' experience includes 8 years in conservation education and research at Toronto Zoo. Her research explores practices of presenting and interpreting aquatic species in zoos and aquariums and the effects of these practices on public perception of aquatic life. 


OBJECTivity: An Unbiased Approach to Acquiring Artefacts


  Most museums share a common problem: how to manage the collection when objects are acquired without clearly defined criteria or plans. Decisions to acquire artefacts are often made based on unclear direction, personal preferences, community pressures and random opportunities. This problem can lead to incoherent collections that do little to support the museum’s mandate. Worse yet, the acquisitions may serve to undermine the value of the collection as a whole.


Read the full presentation HERE.


Darren Levstek

  Darren Levstek has worked in the museum industry for seventeen years, with an additional 16 years experience in the design, installation and production of exhibitions. His wide breadth of museum and municipal management experience provides a unique perspective on the care and management of the over 280,000 artefacts in the City of Ottawa’s care, and their integration into public spaces. In his current role as the Curator of Collections for the City of Ottawa, he is part of a team of professionals responsible for achieving the city’s heritage vision through museums. Part of that role includes developing guiding documents for the acquisition and management of the City of Ottawa Museums’ Collection.


Museums and Community Hubs: Partnerships in Cultural Innovation


  Our panel discussion will explain how museums can draw on the current trend towards creating Community Hubs as catalysts for innovative partnerships. We will examine the synergy created by social, entrepreneurial, and cultural organizations working together in hub spaces, and how museums can tap into that creative energy.


Watch the full presentation HERE.


Dr. Elka Weinstein

  Dr. Elka Weinstein is a Senior Programs Advisor for the Department of Canadian Heritage, responsible for grants in the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund Program.  Previously, she was the Museum and Heritage Programs Advisor for the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport (Ontario).  As a museum professional, her experience includes work as the Director/Curator of Campbell House Museum (where she established a small art gallery to exhibit works by local artists), and for several years at the George R. Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art as an educator. In 2004 she was the coordinator for Haley Sharpe Design at the Royal Ontario Museum. She is currently teaching at the University of Toronto and is also a frequent Guest Lecturer in the Master of Museum Studies Program (Master en Museos) at the University of Zaragoza, Spain.  She is a member of the programs committee for both the Fleming College Museum Management & Curatorship program, and the Algonquin College Applied Museum Studies Program.  Dr. Weinstein also volunteers as a member of the Board of the John B. Aird Gallery in Toronto, as a Director of ICOM Canada, and as a member of the Culinary Historians of Canada.  

John Summers

  Drawing on more than two decades of work at cultural institutions in Canada and the United States, John Summers brings a wide variety of skills and perspectives to curating collections and planning and designing museum exhibits. He is Manager of Heritage Services and Curator for the Regional Municipality of Halton, where he leads, develops, designs and fabricates exhibit projects. He has taught students about museology, material culture studies, museums and technology and exhibition planning and design for the Ontario Museum Association, the Fleming College Museum Management and Curatorship Program, the University of Victoria’s Cultural Resource Management Program and the University of Toronto’s iSchool, where he is a Sessional Lecturer in the Master of Museum Studies Program. He is currently working on a book for the American Association for State and Local History about exhibit planning and design for museums and historical organizations.

Carolyn Cross

  Carolyn Cross has worked at the Oakville Museum for over 18 years. In her current role, Curator of Collections, Carolyn is responsible for the research, design and installation of permanent, temporary and travelling museum exhibitions. She also manages the Outreach Exhibition Programme in the development, creation and delivery of off-site exhibitions and displays. Amoung Carolyn's other duties are: community outreach and community collaborations; organization of events, lectures and other community-based initiatives in conjunction with museum exhibitions; overseeing the care of the collection in terms of conservation and records management; and responsible for the exhibition, conservation and curatorial budgets.

Cathy Molloy

  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. 


Case Studies in Working Through Non-Traditional Exhibits


  This session is designed to explore the steps in developing exhibitions in and for nontraditional spaces including libraries, government buildings, malls and historical societies. We hope that this presentation will reveal the important role these projects have for building community partnerships and expanding the reach of museums beyond their own walls.


Read the full presentation HERE.


Meredith Leonard

  Meredith Leonard is currently the Education and Community Coordinator at Halton Heritage Services. She previously held positions at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology, Fort Erie Museum Services and St. Catharines Museum & Welland Canals Centre. Meredith holds an Hons. BA in History and Political Science from McMaster University,  a Master of Museum Studies degree from the University of Toronto and a Master of Science in Adolescence Education from D’Youville College in New York.  She is one of the founders of St. Catharines Museum’s award-winning pop-up museum series, aMUSE and was selected as a 2015 fellow in the Getty Leadership Institute’s NextGen Program at Claremont Graduate University.

Claire Bennett

  Claire Bennett works as the Assistant Curator/Collections Coordinator with Halton Heritage Services where she manages the Regional artifact and archival collections and develops exhibitions. Claire began her career working on archaeological sites throughout Southern Ontario before becoming interested in collections management and exhibition development. Prior to arriving at Heritage Services she held positions at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, the Markham Museum and the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Megan Wiles

  Megan Wiles works with Halton Heritage Services as the Curatorial and Public Programs Assistant where she assists in the development and delivery of educational programming, works with the Regional collection, and develops exhibitions. Megan has an Hons. BA in Near Middle Eastern Civilizations and graduated from her Master of Museum Studies degree at the University of Toronto in 2015. Throughout her graduate degree she worked with several cultural institutions, including the National Trust for Scotland and the Aga Khan Museum. Upon graduating, Megan started a contract position in April 2015 with Halton Heritage Services as a summer student and has worked as a full-time member of staff since 2016.




Hacking Immersive Digital Content for Museums


  In this workshop you will learn to use simple, relatively inexpensive tools to create interactive, immersive experiences that expand the reach of your museum far beyond its walls. Use 360 video to take visitors into spaces that the guided tour doesn’t usually go. Help people, who wouldn’t be able to visit you, explore your local landscapes and historic built environment. Even try your hand at 3D object creation for virtual reality and other applications. Be prepared to bring your smartphone and roll up your sleeves to produce engaging content in the workshop!


Read the full presentation HERE.


Julian Kingston

  Julian Kingston has had a long interest in leveraging digital interactive tools for learning and worked on using them in Museums since 1995. He oversaw the development of immersive learning experiences during his 10-year tenure as Head of Education and Programs at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto, including the ROM’s Digital Gallery which combined touch screen stations, 3D scanned objects and large multi-screen projections. As Program Manager, Arts, Media and Culture he directed the development of courses in transmedia, web development, game design and digital storytelling for Sheridan College.  Currently at the Oakville Museum, he is exploring as many ways as possible to tell Oakville's stories.


Indigenous Collections: Promising Practices & Next Steps


  The Ontario Museum Association (OMA), in partnership with the Woodland Cultural Centre, Deyohahá:ge: Indigenous Knowledge Centre at the Six Nations Polytechnic, and the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto, held the Indigenous Collections Symposium (ICS) on March 23 – 24, 2017. In light of the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), the theme was Promising Practices, Challenging Issues and Changing the System. This presentation will share stories regarding the care and interpretation of Indigenous collections, particularly those held in trust by non-Indigenous organizations, and present a Report on recommendations for next steps the OMA could take to build on the foundation laid by the Symposium and based on key themes emerging from participants’ feedback. A publication of the Symposium proceedings will also be presented to the public for the first time.


Watch the full presentation HERE.

Read the full presentation HERE.


Bep Schippers

Petal Furness

Dr. Cara Krmpotich

Jane Holland

  Bep Schippers is Professional Development Program Manager for the OMA. She began her career as a volunteer in the Education and Entomology departments at the Royal Ontario Museum in 1996; 20+ years later she continues to enthusiastically find new and nerdy ways to explore world cultures and natural history. She has served as Manager of Adult Programs and at the Royal Ontario Museum and Manager of Education and Community Outreach at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum (UBC). She has extensive experience in leading innovative gallery and program initiatives - both the Beaty and Schad Gallery of Biodiversity (ROM) opened to the public while under her purview. With a background in Anthropology, Education and Biodiversity Conservation, she has a passion for art intersecting science, a commitment to embracing diversity and creating inclusive spaces, as well as an unrelenting curiosity for how things work. Or don’t.



Art of Sustainable Energy


  In this presentation we will be talking about collaborations within the Woodstock Art Gallery (between education and curatorial) and with our community partner, Oxford County, both of which have allowed us to create innovative programming for our community. Attendees will learn about the steps that curators and educators can take to create exhibits that work for both school programs and the public. As well, we will share our experiences around working with external partners to develop meaningful and alternative programing.


Read the full presentation HERE.


Stephanie Porter

  Stephanie Porter’s artistic inclination began with her interest in the movement and rhythms of figure skating and gymnastics. Her commitment led her to becoming a Provincial and National Athletic Competitor in both of these sports. Stephanie then went on to obtain her Fine Arts Diploma from Fanshawe College and a BA in studio specialization from the University of Waterloo. Recently, Stephanie has completed the Ontario Museum Association’s Certificate in Museum Studies and the Business Communications Certificate program at the University of Waterloo. As an educator, Stephanie was a Gallery Assistant/Educator at the Clay and Glass Gallery in Waterloo, and a Contract Art Instructor for Fanshawe College and the Woodstock Art Gallery. She has also completed many private and commercial art designs and commissions, and worked with photorealist Cesar Santander on a public mural project. Stephanie has been the Head of Education at the WAG for the last thirteen years, and continues to bring art appreciation and enjoyment to all members of the Oxford County community. 

Roberta Grosland

  Roberta Grosland’s interest in art and art galleries started when her mother snuck her in to The Guggenheim Museum at age 4.  She went on to obtain a BA and a MA in Fine Art History from the University of Toronto. As a student she worked at the McMichael Canadian Collection, but after moving to Kitchener, Ontario her career path led her into the world of museums and living history. She worked at Doon Heritage Crossroads as a costumed historical interpreter and at Joseph Schneider Haus Museum in a variety of positions, including assistant curator. Since 2008, Roberta has worked at the Woodstock Art Gallery managing the Gallery’s permanent collection and curating permanent collection exhibitions.

Jay Heaman

  Jay Heaman has 28 years of experience working for the former municipally-owned utility Woodstock Hydro, where he served most recently as Manager of Operations. Notably, Jay led the development of a grid-connected ‘microgrid’ pilot project for the purpose of researching challenges and opportunities of integrating energy storage, smart meters, renewable energy, and electric vehicles. Recently transitioning to Oxford County, Jay leads the 100% Renewable Energy and Zero Waste programs. Working with industry and community partners, his primary focus is on developing and implementing critical action plans; pursuing research, development and economic opportunities in renewable energy and solid waste management; and advancing partnerships and policies that support Oxford’s vision of becoming a 100% renewable energy and zero waste community.




A Fresh Approach to Meeting Conservation Standards


  Museums assuming they cannot meet conservation standards because of resource constraints will find reason for hope in this workshop. Standards such as those used for Community Museum Operating Grants or Movable Cultural Property designation will be discussed in practical terms. We will explore common misunderstandings about environmental control, examine current options in monitoring equipment, look at simplifying emergency planning, reflect on the key role of inspections, and identify what makes a conservation policy useful.


Fiona Graham

  Fiona Graham is a professional conservator specializing in preventive conservation. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and a Masters degree in Art Conservation (Artifacts specialization) from Queen’s University and is accredited by both the Canadian Association of Professional Conservators and the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals. Fiona has worked at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of Nature, the Canadian Conservation Institute, the Centre de conservation du Québec, and Goldsmith Borgal & Company Architects. She was a Museum Advisor and Conservation Advisor with the Ontario Ministry of Culture, and a Collections Preservation Advisor with the Department of Canadian Heritage. She teaches preventive conservation in the Queen’s University Master of Art Conservation program and for Athabasca University’s Heritage Resources Management program. Fiona consults on museum and heritage conservation projects for clients including the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, the City of Gananoque, the Canadian Museum of History and the North Vancouver Museum, amongst others. 


An Update for Museums from the Ministry of Tourism Culture & Sport


As part of Ontario’s new Culture Strategy, the government is committed to improving the conservation of collections from archaeological sites in Ontario so that current and future generations can learn about and understand the past. However, museums often face special challenges regarding these types of collections. This presentation, given by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, will provide museum staff with information about:

  • Ontario’s new Culture Strategy
  • legislation in Ontario regarding archaeological collections
  • government efforts to work with museums to improve the conservation of archaeological collections  

It will also include a question period and brainstorming session, the results of which will help the government provide museums with better tools to manage these important collections.


Watch the full presentation HERE.

Read the full presentation HERE.


Meagan Brooks



Finding Relevance Through Branding & Community Engagement


  As Museum professionals we all want to find improved ways to connect with our audiences. For Craft Ontario, a significant way that they re-engaged was through a repositioning and rebranding of this cultural organization. E. Quin will speak to the research that guided the decision to rebrand, along with the stages and steps taken to realise the vision that transitioned the Ontario Crafts Council to Craft Ontario. • • • The Mississippi Valley Textile Museum prides itself in being able to engage with so many people within the community. One of the best ways the Museum has been able to engage with the community is identifying who has had direct contact with the Museum’s history as a textile mill: the mill workers. The Museum has identified and brought in as many of these individuals as possible, gathering their oral histories and making them lifetime members. Their involvement has rippled throughout the rest of the community, with friends and family members making their connections through the mill workers. Picking out a niche group that can benefit from the Museums space, while adding to its content, is viable and enjoyable way to create an interesting dynamic to the Museum and boost visitor numbers.


Read the full presentations HERE and HERE.


Emma Quin

  Emma Quinn has twenty-five years experience working with cultural, charitable not-for-profit organizations with responsibilities that have included strategic planning, membership programs, product and service deliverables, public and private sector fundraising, patron relations, communications and outreach, publishing, exhibition development, retail profitability and financial health. Working with a dynamic team of staff and volunteers she currently provides visionary leadership to the Textile Museum of Canada with a focus on achieving and advancing its strategic goals in alignment with both is mission and mandate. Emma holds numerous committee positions including - Board Member, WorkInCulture; Co-Chair, VDAC Program Advisory Committee for Fleming College’s Haliburton Campus; committee member of both Sheridan College Crafts & Design Program Advisory Committee and BAA Craft & Product Design Ad Hoc Program Advisory Committee, and a steering committee member for Artscape LaunchPad.

Michael Rikley-Lancaster

  Michael Rikley-Lancaster has been Executive Director/Curator of the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum since July 1, 2007. He studied Fine Arts at Fanshawe College in London Ontario, before receiving a diploma in Applied Museum Studies from Algonquin College in Ottawa. He was employed as Assistant Curator at the Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum, and then Program Coordinator for Young Canada Works in Heritage Organizations with the Canadian Museums Association. One of his most exciting projects at the museum has been the Millworkers’ Reunion. This began with oral histories by former millworkers – hearing the tales from the actual folks who were there makes the past come alive – and it led to a number of thrilling artifact donations to the museum.




Re-Think! A Workshop Exploring New Ways of Looking at Your Collections and Turning Them Into Exhibits


  The session will begin with the unveiling of ten artifacts typical of those that are found in community museum collections across Ontario. Participants will work together to identify the artifacts and get the basic facts straight. Participants will then be asked to move beyond the obvious (the identification of the artifacts) to a consideration of both “what” and “how” the artifacts mean. Participants will use the insights they have developed to draft a Big Idea for one or more exhibits incorporating some or all of the artifacts. They will also briefly consider the exhibit’s possible audience(s), means of expression, visitor experience and learning outcomes.


John Summers

  Drawing on more than two decades of work at cultural institutions in Canada and the United States, John Summers brings a wide variety of skills and perspectives to curating collections and planning and designing museum exhibits. He is Manager of Heritage Services and Curator for the Regional Municipality of Halton, where he leads, develops, designs and fabricates exhibit projects. He has taught students about museology, material culture studies, museums and technology and exhibition planning and design for the Ontario Museum Association, the Fleming College Museum Management and Curatorship Program, the University of Victoria’s Cultural Resource Management Program and the University of Toronto’s iSchool, where he is a Sessional Lecturer in the Master of Museum Studies Program. He is currently writing a book for the American Association for State and Local History about exhibit planning and design for museums and historical organizations.
Ontario Museums and Cultural Diplomacy

  Museums have developed into actors on the international stage in their own right, be it through exhibitions, loans, staff exchanges and training, research projects or even through outposts and franchises in parts of the world that are aggressively developing their cultural sectors. Harnessing this international moment has been a priority for many museums and for various reasons, and museums and other cultural institutions in Ontario have long been active in international work. This session will provide insights into some of the practices that are currently pursued by museums in Ontario.


Watch the full presentation HERE.


Dr. Sascha Priewe

  Dr. Sascha Priewe (PhD, University of Oxford) is the Managing Director - Culture Centres at the Royal Ontario Museum in the role of which he engages the ROM’s many audiences with the Museum’s art and culture collections and research. Prior to joining the ROM in 2015, he was the Curator of Chinese and Korean collections at the British Museum. He started his career in the German Foreign Office and was posted to the German Embassy in Beijing where he oversaw bilateral cultural, education and sports relations. Sascha holds a cross-appointment as an Associate Professor in the Department of Art at the University of Toronto, and is a member of the Public Diplomacy and the Economy of Culture research group at Queen’s University. 

Dr. Alexandra Suda

  Dr. Alexandra (Sasha) Suda (PhD, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University) joint the Art Gallery of Ontario in 2011 and holds the position of Curator, European Art and R. Fraser Elliott Chair, Print & Drawing Council. She is responsible for the Prints & Drawings Department, Thomson Collection and European Sculpture and Decorative Arts. Prior to joining the AGO Sasha served as Andrew Mellon Research Fellow in the Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her recent exhibition Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures, co-curated with colleagues at the Met Cloisters and the Rijksmuseum, where it will be on view in 2017, is the culmination of a multi-year research project between the three organizations.

Jutta Brendemühl

  Jutta Brendemühl is the Program Curator at the Goethe-Institut Toronto, the official German cultural centre, as well as a director and programmer of the European Union Film Festival Toronto. Over the past 20 years, Jutta has worked across Canada and with Bernardo Bertolucci, Wim Wenders, Robert Rauschenberg, Pina Bausch, and other luminaries. She holds a master’s degree in English Literature with minors in Contemporary History, Political Sciences and Communication Sciences and works with a focus on international exchange, cultural diplomacy and arts education. Her writing has appeared in POV, ScreenPrism, DIE ZEIT, German Film @ Canada et al., and she is a fellow of the 2016/17 Toronto Cultural Leaders Lab.

Laura McLeod

  Laura McLeod specializes in producing theatre, events and cultural festivals and has been working in Toronto and the United Kingdom for over twenty years. Her career has allowed her to work with artists from all disciplines: dance to magic, opera to emerging playwrights, musicians to performing artists. She has taught commercial theatre at a post-secondary level and enjoyed mentoring young theatre practitioners. In her role at Harbourfront Centre, Laura hopes to continue the practice of providing resources and space for meaningful cultural dialogues from a local, national and international perspective. Laura lives in Toronto with her husband and writer Mark Schatzker and their three children.


Beyond the Classroom Kingston: How Teachers Are Using Museums & Community Sites as a Catalyst for Inquiry-Based Learning


  How can museums engage children and encourage community building? In this session, you will hear how community sites are being used as a catalyst for inquiry-based learning. For the past three years, Beyond Classrooms Kingston has been moving teachers and their students into authentic settings, such as art galleries, museums, and municipal buildings, where they spend an entire week interacting directly and deeply with the site.


Read the full presentation HERE.


Karla Tynski

  Karla Tynski has a background in teaching K-8 students and is Coordinator with Beyond Classrooms Kingston. She has been working with teachers since 2016 to design meaningful weeklong experiences in Kingston’s community spaces. 


Handing Over Your Museum to a 13 Year Old


  This session will explore the idea of giving up control of the museum to youth in the community. It will look at the process used by Glanmore to facilitate the program, what worked, what didn’t work and how it could be improved for the next time. The presentation will include video clips highlighting the student’s work and their Takeover experience in their own words. Insight into how the program has impacted the youth, the museum and the community will be discussed.


Read the full presentation HERE.


Melissa Wakeling

  Melissa Wakeling has a B.A. in history and anthropology from Trent University and a Post-graduate certificate in Museum Management as a part of the very first class in the program from Fleming College.  She has more than 25 years of experience in the museum field, and has worked in a variety of capacities at several museums throughout Ontario.  Since 2000 Melissa has served as Education and Marketing Coordinator at Glanmore National Historic Site in Belleville, Ontario.  She taught the Education Programs Course, part of the OMA's Certificate in Museum Studies, from 2007-2016.

Danielle McMahon-Jones

  Danielle McMahon-Jones has an Honours B.A. in History with a major in English from Ottawa University.  She graduated from the Fleming College Museum Management program in 2015.  Since that time Danielle has served as Administrative and Collections Assistant at Glanmore National Historic Site, in Belleville, Ontario, a museum she first fell in love with when she first visited it in kindergarten. 

Dave Cox

  Dave Cox  graduated with a Certificate in Museum Management from Fleming College in 2004. With a background in interpretation and education he has 17 years of experience working in a variety of community museums.  Dave currently serves as Museum Technician at Glanmore National Historic Site in Belleville, Ontario. 




Fundraising: Whose Job is it Anyway?


  Ahh the dreaded F word. Fundraising. Does your board run for the hills when discussion turns to selling tickets for your next gala, or next fundraising event? Who really does own the responsibility to fundraise for your organization? In this interactive session, Jenny Mitchell, CFRE, a professional fundraiser will share her “fundraising is a team sport” approach that you can implement at any organization, no matter how big or how small. If you’re ready to take your fundraising to the next level, without burning out your staff and volunteers, this session is for you! Bring your real-life situations to the session so we can brainstorm together your best path forward for fundraising success.


Jenny Mitchell

  Jenny Mitchell, DMA, CFRE, helps not-for-profit leaders change the world…one mission at a time. Trained as a classical musician, Jenny Mitchell brings her creative approach to the world of not-for-profits. In fact, Jenny discovered her love of fundraising by raising money for new pianos for her Conservatory’s concert hall! Jenny’s patented Fundraising Mastermind model of training and coaching helps charities all across North America support their leadership staff to build and grow their culture of philanthropy.


Back to top of page...