2022: A Celebration of OMA's 50th Anniversary

  • OMA's 50th Anniversary of advancing a strong museum sector for Ontario
    A Celebration of OMA's 50th Anniversary
  • Highlights from meetings with government and elected officials
    Highlights from meetings with government and elected officials
  • Professional Development highlights
    Professional Development highlights

2022 is the Ontario Museum Association’s 50th Anniversary! We are celebrating 50 years of advancing a strong museum sector for Ontario with staff and volunteers from the province’s 700 museums, galleries, and heritage sites. To commemorate this occasion, we are hosting a year-long series of online activities, culminating at the OMA Annual Conference 2022 in Hamilton in November.


The Ontario Museum Association (OMA) was established in 1972 and has a mission to strengthen capacity among institutions and individuals to build a strong, collaborative and inclusive museum sector that is vital to community life and the well-being of Ontarians, especially as we reconnect and rebuild post-pandemic.


We welcome everyone to join the celebration of our 50th anniversary and to visit a museum near you!



Celebratory Video Messages

We want to hear from you! Share a congratulatory video message to mark this commemorative occasion.

  • Tell us about a fond memory you have of the OMA.
  • What is your future wish for the OMA?
  • Why are you proud to be an OMA member?

We plan to share these messages throughout our anniversary year across digital platforms and feature a video compilation at the OMA Annual Conference 2022.

Read more and submit your message HERE.


For the past 50 years, the OMA has advocated for the vital role of Ontario's museums to society, promoted emerging best practices through professional development, strengthened a collaborative network of Ontario museums, and fostered a culture of innovation and excellence. Its members have shaped and embraced the nature of museum work in service of their communities.

The OMA fulfills its mandate through our ongoing roles as an advocate, professional body, thought leader and convenor. Throughout our Anniversary year, we will feature highlights from past projects, initiatives and events.
As advocates, we provide leadership on key and developing areas of importance to museums. We work with all levels of government, funders, cultural leaders and the general public to strengthen awareness of shared values and support for museums. Initiatives like Ontario Museums at Queen’s Park create great opportunities for members to speak directly with provincial representatives on the valuable contributions of museums to communities as well as their needs and potential. Since 2000, May is Museum Month / Mai, Mois des Musées, celebrates museums across the province and their vital role in communities, while kicking-off the summer tourism season. The #mON400 Musées Ontario Museums initiative (2015-2016), offered the first ever virtual record of francophone heritage in celebration of 400 years of French presence in Ontario.

Over the last 50 years, the OMA has endeavored to strengthen relationships with governments and funders to influence policy that supports museums and results in increased funding. With regular data collection, the Association has been able to present analysis on the Ontario museum for sector improvement. For example, the Community Museums Operating Grant (CMOG) Snapshot publication resulted in doubling of the funding envelope to $5 million.

Additionally, during the pandemic, the OMA carried-out two COVID-19 Impact Surveys to collect up-to-date and sector-specific information on the impacts of COVID-19 on Ontario’s museums. From these surveys, the white paper, Exhibiting Resilience: Empowering Ontario’s community museums for strategic recovery, was published, serving to inform both provincial and federal governments' pandemic support programs, such as: the Ontario Trillium Foundation's Resilient Communities Fund, the $2 million Ontario Digital Capacity fund, and substantial federal government pandemic emergency and reopening funding programs.

The OMA will continue to work with Ontario's Regional Museum Networks (RMN) and the national, provincial and territorial museums associations (NPTMA) on a new National Museums Policy for Canada and the review and renewal of Ontario's museum funding model for all museums serving communities across the province.

Read more HERE.
Looking Back: Meetings with government and elected officials
Photos: (left to right) 1. Clark Bernat (former OMA President, Culture & Museums Manager at Niagara Falls Museums), Marie Lalonde (Executive Director at the OMA), Michael Coteau (Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, 2014-2016), and Yves Theoret (former OMA President, Deputy Director at Montreal Museum of Fine Arts), 2. Eleanor McMahon (Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, 2016-2018) with OMA Council, 3. Premier Kathleen Wynne and Michael Coteau at Franco-fête, Ontario 400th Celebrations Program 4. The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez (Minister of Canadian Heritage); Jennifer Forsyth (ED/CEO of the Alberta Museums Association), Marie Lalonde and Lynn Saffery (Vice-President or British Columbia Museums Association), 5. Jennifer K. French (MPP), Jill Andrew (MPP), Alexander Gates (former OMA Councillor), Marie Lalonde, and Andrea Horwath (MPP), 6. Cathy Molloy (OMA President), Marie Lalonde, Michael Tibollo (Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, 2018-2019), Petal Furness (former OMA President) and Alexander Gates, 7. Michael Chan (Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, 2010-2014), Marie Lalonde, and Yves Theoret.
Professional Body
The OMA is a provider of professional development programs that foster continued professionalization of the field. A core component of the OMA’s professional development program is the Certificate in Museum Studies (CMS) - the only museum studies training program in Ontario offered on a part-time basis for museum workers. Launched in 1982 as the Certificate in Basic Museum Studies, the program has more than 400 successful graduates. Additionally, the program is linked to the Standards for Community Museums in Ontario and taught by Course Directors with robust academic backgrounds and extensive experience working in Ontario museums.

The CMS program is reviewed on an ongoing basis to ensure that the program is current, inclusive, comprehensive and accessible. The program will continue to bring together museum workers from across the province and foster collegial relationships and professional networks that endure beyond graduation.

For 50 years, the OMA has continued to recognize museum professionals and cultural leaders who have made outstanding contributions to the Ontario museum community. The Awards of Excellence showcase projects and individuals to encourage high standards of excellence and innovation in the field.

The OMA also advances and provides support for museums in the achievement of best practices, including Standards workshops, symposia on museum education and accessibility, Inclusive Museum Leadership Symposium (2018) and both on Indigenous Collections symposia (2017, 2021).

Special projects like the first edition of RE-ORG: Canada workshop (2014-2015) seek to develop the skills of our museum workforce and share new models of knowledge transfer.

Together with partners, the OMA presented a series of webinars in response to the challenges facing museums during the COVID-19 pandemic (2020-2021). Session topics included how to care for heritage collections, navigating federal support programs, approaches to online engagement and reopening planning.

Read more HERE.
Looking Back: Professional Development highlights
Photos: (Top row, left to right) 1. participants of the Care of Collections course (2013), 2. CMS graduates (2019), 3. participants of the CCI Exhibition Lighting workshop (2019); (bottom row, left to right) 4. CMS Education Programs participants (2016), 5. participants in the CMS Exhibit Planning & Design course (2013), 6. hybrid learning session of the Organization and Management of Museums course (2013), 7. Irene Karsten instructing CCI Emergency and Disaster Preparedness for Cultural Institutions workshop (2017).