Announcing OMA Awards of Excellence 2020

Oct 29, 2020
Ontario Museum Association Announces Awards of Excellence 2020 Recipients
On Thursday, October 29th, 2020, the Ontario Museum Association (OMA) presented the OMA Awards of Excellence 2020 at the OMA’s first virtual Conference. This year, the OMA will showcase the accomplishments of the Award Recipients in a social media campaign starting on October 30, 2020.

The OMA helps support Ontario’s museums to achieve their full potential in enriching people’s lives and helping build dynamic and engaged communities. The Awards of Excellence recognize institutions and individuals who are leading the way in making this vision a reality. 

“In this challenging year, we are pleased to share the inspiring work of individuals and institutions who have contributed to a vibrant museum sector while serving their local communities. The OMA Awards of Excellence are an opportunity to celebrate exemplary, innovative work by museums and museum professionals across Ontario, highlighting the positive impact that they can and do have in society.” 
– Marie G. Lalonde, Executive Director of the Ontario Museum Association

Read about all of the recipients HERE.
Distinguished Career Award of Excellence
OMA 2020 Distinguished Career Award of Excellence
Gayle McIntyre
Program Coordinator (retired), Fleming College Heritage Programs 

“It’s hard to put into words what Gayle has done for heritage in Canada… I personally can’t imagine a better mentor to what it means to be a Conservator. Her poise, professionalism, and passion for the work we do are all great examples of things I will continually work toward, and maybe never attain.”
– Owen Thompson, Preventative Conservation Officer at the Peterborough Museum & Archives 

Read more about Gayle HERE.
Watch Gayle's acceptance remarks HERE.
Promising Leadership Award of Excellence
OMA 2020 Promising Leadership Award of Excellence
Pailagi Jaimin Pandya
Museum Program Officer, Scarborough Museum, City of Toronto

“Pailagi [expands] the museum’s [reach] beyond its walls with a focus on accessibility and community engagement. Quality outreach takes someone who is outward thinking, energetic, and community minded. Pailagi is clearly dedicated to making positive change in the world.”
– Richard Schofield, Archivist at the Scarborough Historical Society

Read more about Pailagi HERE.
Watch Pailagi's acceptance remarks HERE.
Promising Leadership – Honourable Mention
OMA 2020 Promising Leadership Award of Excellence - Honourable Mention
Susan Jama
Assistant Curator & Program Coordinator, Toronto Ward Museum

“Susan is the hope for change that I have for this field. She has contributed innovative ways of working and thought leadership as a promising professional in the Ontario museum community. She has not only walked through the door of opportunity opened by women of colour before her … she is also helping others to walk through that door … – the mark of a great leader.”
 – Wendy Ng, Manager, School Programs Science Education at the Ontario Science Centre

Read more about Susan HERE.
Watch Susan's acceptance remarks HERE.
Volunteer Service Award of Excellence
OMA 2020 Volunteer Service Award of Excellence
Graeme Watson
Volunteer Director, Murney Tower Museum

“Graeme exemplified leadership and innovation in helping to revamp and update the Murney Tower Museum. Through countless volunteer hours, Graeme sought to place the museum on a new path… In my view, Graeme demonstrated the best of what one could expect from a volunteer leader and innovator, and his work is more than deserving of recognition.”
– Marcus R. Letourneau, Managing Principal and Senior Heritage Planner at Letourneau Heritage Consulting

Read more about Graeme HERE.
Watch Graeme's acceptance remarks HERE.
Volunteer Service – Honourable Mention
OMA 2020 Volunteer Service Award of Excellence – Honourable Mention
Alice Borrowman
Middleville and District Museum

“In the 1990’s, Alice took over the running of the museum [and] has tirelessly kept her father’s legacy alive… [She] inspired the whole village in volunteering or sponsoring the museum. The Middleville & District Museum would not be what it is today without the dedication of Alice Borrowman.” 
– Michael Rikley-Lancaster, Director & Curator at the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum

Read more about Alice HERE.
Watch Alice's acceptance remarks HERE.
Award of Excellence in Special Projects 
OMA 2020 Award of Excellence in Special Projects - WOW Distinction
Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung Historical Centre
Collections at Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung

“The reclaiming of the original collections room, ensuring the respectful storage, access and making space for sharing and learning can be seen as a metaphor for the reclamation of Indigenous history and culture. Placing local Anishinaabe beliefs, values, and the community needs as the foundation of the project is reflected throughout.”
– Tomasin Playford, Archaeologist at the Saskatchewan Archaeological Society

Read more about Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung Historical Centre HERE.
Watch their acceptance remarks HERE.
Special Projects – Honourable Mention
OMA 2020 Award of Excellence in Special Projects - Honourable Mention
Myseum of Toronto 
Wigwam Chi-Chemung

“Thank you for the opportunity to learn about land, language, and Indigenous resurgence on this Canada Day 2019. It has got me thinking about my obligations to future generations, and most of all – to listen.”  
– Anonymous Exhibition Attendee

Read more about Myseum HERE.
Watch their acceptance remarks HERE.
Award of Excellence in Exhibitions 
OMA 2020 Award of Excellence in Exhibitions
Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum & Community Centre
Archaeology Alive!: The Jean Baptiste Lainé Site in Whitchurch-Stouffville

“It is inspirational to see a small community museum so effectively expand its interpretation and contribute to a national initiative: Reconciliation.” 
– Dorie Billich, Former Curator at the Gibson House Museum

Read more about Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum & Community Centre HERE.
Watch their acceptance remarks HERE.
Exhibitions – Honourable Mention
OMA 2020 Award of Excellence in Exhibitions - Honourable Mention
Afterlife: A Seánce Experience

“As a historian whose research focuses on death, and having previously curated exhibitions with death as the main theme, I am always cautious that exhibits on this topic not be ‘gimmicky,’ while maintaining a suitable balance of macabre to attract interest… I believe that THEMUSEUM has achieved that unique balance”
– Lindsay Kernohan, Curator at Museum Strathroy-Caradoc

Read more about THEMUSEUM HERE.
Watch their acceptance remarks HERE.
Award of Excellence in Community Engagement 
OMA 2020 Award of Excellence in Community Engagement
Grey Roots Museum & Archives 
Facing the Flames: The History of Firefighting in Grey County

“It was and is a great display… I’ve seen it about five times now and it’s a great tribute to Grey County’s Firefighters. I get a lump in my throat and feel humbled when I sit and gaze at the display and what it represents to me and the great saves we made, but not without tragedy.”
– Phil Schwartz, Fire Chief at the Municipality of West Grey

Read more about Grey Roots Museum & Archives 
Watch their acceptance remarks HERE.
Community Engagement – Honourable Mention
OMA 2020 Award of Excellence in Community Engagement - Honourable Mention
Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre 
Riding the Rails

“The completed project is impressive for many reasons beyond the mastery shown in the technical elements, including [the fact] that the trains operate as they would have in the 1950s. BCM&CC has hosted many events, including railway-operating sessions where volunteers give instructions on picking up and dropping off railcars, just one example of how this project gives visitors a greater understanding of the importance of the Bruce County railways and how it is truly a community project.”
– Tom Hakala, Graphic Designer (retired) at Bluewater Modellers

Read more about Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre HERE.
Watch their acceptance remarks HERE.
Congratulations to the
OMA Awards of Excellence 2020 recipients!

Watch all of the acceptance remarks HERE.
Read more about all of the recipients HERE.
For any questions or comments, please contact Marie Lalonde, Executive Director, ( or by phone at: 416-348-8672 or toll free, 1 866 662 8672. 

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