Productive Failure in Museum Practice

Oct 06, 2022
Need to Know
Let's get together! 2022 is the Ontario Museum Association’s 50th Anniversary, and we are so thrilled to welcome members back to both an in-person and online conference this year! Discover the fascinating speakers, sessions and exhibitors:

Resiliency Learning and Productive Failure in Museum Practice

Speakers: Fiona Rawle, Professor, Dept. of Biology, University of Toronto Mississauga and Amy Barron, Program Coordinator, Fleming College

In a conversation moderated by Cara Krmpotich (Faculty of Information, UofT), Dr. Fiona Rawle and Dr. Amy Barron will apply research on Resiliency Learning and Productive Failure to our work in the museum field. Rawle will outline ways of understanding failure as a necessary and inherently useful tool for learning while Barron will speak to her relationship with failure, risk, and learning as an educator and museum professional.

Read more HERE.

Session Highlight: Monday November 7 In-person

AGH & the New Hamilton

Speakers: Dov Goldstein, Vice President, Lord Cultural Resources and Shelley Falconer, President and CEO, Art Gallery of Hamilton

As one of the oldest and largest art museums in Ontario with a permanent collection that is recognized as one of the finest in Canada, the Art Gallery of Hamilton is navigating its future in a shifting social and cultural urban landscape. AGH President & CEO Shelley Falconer in conversation with Lord Cultural Resources Vice President Dov Goldstein will discuss the City of Hamilton’s transformation and the future role the Gallery will play to be relevant, accessible, and sustainable within this new context.

Read more HERE.

Session Highlight: Monday November 21 Online

Building Purpose with the UN Sustainable Development Goals: the Global Network of Water Museums

Speakers: Dan Travers, Senior Exhibit Developer, Canadian Museum of Water, Eriberto Eulisse Director, Global Network of Water Museums, Gisela Herrerías Guerra, Educational Director, Alternatives and Processes for Social Participation, Ian Kerr-Wilson, Chair, Beach Canal Lighthouse Group, and Raúl Hernández Garciadiego, Director General, Alternatives and Processes for Social Participation

This session will examine sustainability as a concept to strengthen a museum and its relationship to place and community, using the Canadian Museum of Water and the UNESCO-sponsored Global Network of Water Museums as case studies.

Read more HERE.

State of Ontario’s nonprofit sector in 2022
Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN)


From May to June 2022, ONN conducted a sector-wide survey with l’Assemblée de la Francophonie de l’Ontario (l’AFO) to gather critical data on the state of Ontario’s nonprofits regarding their financial health, staffing and volunteers, and general operations. Nearly 1,500 nonprofits, charities, and grassroots groups across the province responded to the survey.

The data reveals much about nonprofits’ commitment to continue serving communities, while addressing fallout from the pandemic alongside unprecedented demand for services, and a domino effect of record-breaking inflation, deepening financial precarity, and a relentless HR and volunteer crisis. It’s clear that current solutions are not working and the sector’s health is worsening.

Read the Policy Report HERE.
Read the 2022 State of the Sector Survey – Technical Report (regional highlights) HERE.

2022 Canadian Nonprofit Sector Salary & Benefits Report - by Charity Village

This pandemic compensation study focuses exclusively on charities and nonprofits in Canada and collects compensation and profile data for six staff levels.

Join Charity Village on October 27 at 1pm for a free webinar to review the executive summary and provide tips and pointers on how to read the report and interpret the data. Register HERE.
At the OMA
OMA Online Annual General Meeting

The Ontario Museum Association will hold its 2022 Annual General Meeting virtually on Friday, October 28, 2022 at 10:00a.m. to 11:00a.m. 

Members can participate by registering HERE.
Please find the following AGM documents HERE:

  • AGM Agenda 
  • 2021 AGM Minutes
  • Audited Summary Financial Statements 2021-2022
  • Council Nominations Slate
  • Call for Members of the 2023 Nominations Committee
  • AGM Motion Form
  • AGM Proxy Form

Call for Members for the 2023 Nominations Committee
The OMA is calling for nominations for up to three individual OMA members in good standing who would be interested and willing to serve as members of the 2023 Nominations Committee to be elected by members at the AGM. Please fill out the Nominations form by October 14, 2022 and send it to

Contact Us
For questions or more information
By email at or
By phone at 416-348-8672 or toll-free in Ontario 1-866-662-8672
An Opportunity to Recognize our 
Esteemed Colleagues

Deadline for submissions: October 17, 2022

Is there someone at your organization who has retired (or will retire) between October 2021 and November 2022?

In 2019 the OMA started a tradition of recognizing our colleagues who have retired in the past year at the annual OMA Awards reception. This year we look forward to continuing the tradition in person in Hamilton!

Share the following information with us so that we can honour the contributions that these individuals have made to our dynamic sector.
  • Name
  • Organization
  • Title
  • Retirement date
  • Photo
  • How long they worked in museums and/or at the organization from which they retired
  • Some other interesting fact or anecdote about what they achieved in their career
Send submissions to
Watch the retiree videos from 2020 and 2021 HERE.

Notes: Submissions are welcome to recognize retirees in any role at an organization.
Retirees do not need to be present at the in-person event to be recognized.
New and Renewing OMA Members
Art Gallery of Sudbury
Art Museum at the University of Toronto
Clarington Museums and Archives
Ermatinger Clergue National Historic Site
Goulbourn Museum
Ingersoll Cheese and Agricultural Museum
Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre
Lake of the Woods Museum
Middleville and District Museum
MZTV Museum of Television
North Bay Museum
Ontario Provincial Police Museum
Ottawa Museum Network
Port Dover Harbour Museum
Spirit of Flight Aviation Museum
The County Museums (Prince Edward County)
Thunder Bay Museum
Sector News
Upcoming: GOEMP Blog Workshop
The Group of Ontario Emerging Museum Professionals (GOEMP)

Thursday October 13, 2022
7:00p.m. ET

The GOEMP is excited to present a blog writing information session for Emerging Museum Professionals (EMP). The GOEMP Blog has hosted EMP writers from across the province, tackling current museum issues, ideas, reviews, and musings. The session will cover:
  • How to publish your work with GOEMP
  • Tips and tricks for writing blog posts
  • Common writing obstacles and how to overcome them
  • How to workshop your ideas into great blog posts

Complete the online registration form to receive the meeting link HERE. 
Learn about the GOEMP Blog HERE.


Upcoming webinar: Re-Org at the
West Parry Sound District Museum

Kingston Association of Museums, Art Galleries & Historic Sites

Thursday, October 20, 2022
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET
This is a free event for all KAM and non-KAM Members

In 2015, the West Parry Sound District Museum was lucky enough to be chosen to take part in Re-Org Canada. Join Curator/Manager, Nadine Hammond, and Collections Supervisor, Amy Sultana, as they discuss what the project entailed, how they tore apart the collections storage, and some of the ventures that arose from the initiative including a Found in Collection project and an exhibition entitled “Look What We Found!”

Read more and register HERE.

Upcoming webinar:
A Prescription for Possibility - Introducing the Canadian Institute for Social Prescribing

The Canadian Institute for Social Prescribing (CISP)

On Zoom
Thursday October 6, 2022
12:00 p.m. ET
French interpretation will be provided

CISP is a new national hub – anchored by the Canadian Red Cross – that aims to advance social prescribing in Canada. Learn more about this new initiative, and hear how social prescribing can change lives and help struggling health systems.

Social prescribing is gaining recognition internationally as a structured approach to better connect clinical care (“prescribing”) with non-clinical supports in the community (“social”), with an emphasis on delivering care that is person-centered, providing people with the power to direct their own care in a supported pathway.

Read more and register HERE.

Colleague Updates
The OMA congratulates these members of our museum community on their recent awards, appointments and retirements, and we wish them all the best in their
future endeavours!
Cindy Colford
Halton Region Heritage Services

Heritage Services announces Cindy Colford as the new Supervisor of Heritage Services. Cindy has over 20 years of progressive experience in the arts, culture, heritage, and museum sector spanning conservation, collections management and museum education.

Read more HERE.

Rob Leverty
The Ontario Historical Society

Rob Leverty, Executive Director of the Ontario Historical Society, announced his departure from the Society. A transition period will begin over the coming weeks. "I am confident that this is indeed the right moment for the Society to move forward with new leadership, which is one of the reasons I feel so confident in my decision," said Leverty.

"Over the years, I enjoyed my working relationship with Rob on common issues for the benefit of our members. Through his participation in numerous OMA events, including meetings of PHOs, Ontario Museums at Queen's Park, and recent work for the The City of Greater Sudbury’s museums, Rob continually shared an appreciation of Ontario museums and heritage sites and believed in the importance of supporting museums professionals and volunteers." - Marie Lalonde, OMA Executive Director

Louise Dupuis
Nipigon Historical Museum

Ontario recognizes Louise Dupuis with the June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award for Voluntarism. As a volunteer project manger, Louise led the restoration of the Chalet Lodge on Lake Helen Reserve. Louise and three other volunteers also worked collectively to establish the Nipigon Historical Museum.

Read more HERE.
Jennifer Forsyth
Alberta Museums Association

Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee Medal recognizes the significant contributions of Albertan and Executive Director of the Alberta Museums Association, Jennifer Forsyth. Congratulations!

Read more HERE.
Angela Coleman
Conservation Ontario

Conservation Ontario’s Board of Directors announce the appointment of Angela Coleman as the new General Manager, effective September 19. Angela held the position as Chief Administrative Officer with South Nation Conservation Authority in Finch, ON.

“Angela brings enthusiasm, creativity, and a wide range of experience to the position of General Manager. She’s demonstrated effective and dynamic leadership skills in her previous position and we are confident that she will lead us towards a bright future,” said Alan Revill, Chair of Conservation Ontario’s Board of Directors.

Read more HERE.
In Memoriam
Wendy Connell
Ken Seiling Waterloo Region Museum

It is with sadness that we share that Wendy Connell passed away on August 28. Throughout her 30+ years in the museum sector, Wendy was a respected mentor to student employees and a beloved colleague to many others. Wendy held the role of Supervisor of Programs at Region of Waterloo. Upon retirement, she left behind a legacy of hands-on programming, water education and community leadership.

Read more HERE.
David Ross Harkness
Canadian Heritage

It is with sadness that we share that David Ross Harkness passed away on September 3. David completed his bachelor’s studies in Archaeology at the University of Toronto (UofT) during which he developed a deep passion for the history and prehistory of the Indigenous and Inuit people. After receiving a Master’s degree in Museum Science at UofT, David applied his knowledge at the Dominion Institute - documenting the stories of hundreds of WWI and II veterans.

He held a position at the Museum of History and later as Program Manager at Canadian Heritage.

Read the full Obituary HERE.
Mariette Carrier-Fraser
championne de la Francophonie ontarienne 

It is with sadness that we share that Mariette Carrier-Fraser, pioneer of French-language education in Ontario, passed away on September 15.

After 36 years in the Ontario education system, Mariette served as assistant deputy minister responsible for French-language education in Ontario. It was under her leadership that the 12 Franco-Ontarian school boards were created in 1998. In 2006, she became president of the Assemblée de la francophonie de l'Ontario (AFO). During her mandate, she notably worked with the health networks to ensure that services for Francophones were better provided.

Read more HERE.
Read the tribute from Fédération des retraités et des aînés francophones de l’Ontario HERE.
Gerry Boyce
Hastings County Historical Society

It is with sadness that we share that educator, historian and former Belleville City Councillor, Gerry Boyce, passed away on October 4. Gerry was a founding member of the Hastings County Historical Society, author of Belleville: A Popular History (2009), a secondary school educator for 32 years and served on Belleville council from 1991-1997.

"The Hastings County Historical Society is mourning the loss of its founder, guide and inspiration for sixty years in the passing of Gerry Boyce. Known affectionately as Mr. History, he served his community with boundless energy, great determination and a pure and simple love of this region." - Hastings County Historical Society

Read the more HERE.
OMA's 50th Anniversary
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.
We welcome everyone to join the celebration of our 50th anniversary
and to visit a museum near you!
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 advocateprofessional bodythought leader and convenor. Throughout our Anniversary year, we will feature highlights from past projects, initiatives and events.
Thought Leader
As thought leader, the OMA offers inspiring resources and services for the sector, resulting in museums that are recognized locally, nationally and internationally for their work. The OMA seeks to provide professional development, programs and resources that reflect and support best practices and address emerging areas of museum practice, including diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion, Indigenous museology, climate justice, and digital transformation.

To ensure Ontario’s museums are continuing to shape and embrace best practices and innovative models of excellence, the OMA has brought together scholars, practitioners, community representatives and museum professionals for conferences and symposia on various topics.

The Colloquium on Learning in Museums (1994, 1997, and 2012) provided participants the opportunity to learn and network with colleagues from across Canada as they shared their work in museum education — later integrating this topic in conference and learning events. In 2012, the Accessibility Symposium–presented in partnership with the the Royal Ontario Museum and the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario–allowed participants to engage with museum colleagues about best practices and innovative programming that meet accessibility standards.

In 2016, the Ontario Museum Association (OMA) and the Looking Ahead Task Force concluded sectoral consultation that led to Ontario’s Museums 2025: Strategic Vision & Action Plan. The publication seeks to reposition museums as powerhouse institutions within Ontario’s cultural sector – institutions that contribute to strong societies and economies based on four overarching goals: Vibrant & Vital Museums, Relevant & Meaningful Collections, Strong & Successful Sector, and Effective & Collaborative Workforce.

In 2018, the OMA launched the Inclusion 2025: A Practitioner's Guide to Inclusive Museums at the Inclusive Museum Leadership Symposium. Through a series of inspired talks, panel discussions and interactive design thinking exercises, the symposium addressed the need to create a diverse and inclusive culture at Ontario museums.

For the OMA Annual Conference 2019 in Brantford, the OMA invited then- ICOM vice-president, Alberto Garlandini, to speak to Ontario museums on the importance of a shared new museum definition and the international efforts to develop the process that considered the numerous impacts of this vital statement of purpose for the global museum community.

In 2017, upon recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and in anticipation of Canada’s Sesquicentennial, the OMA led a discussion about care and interpretation of Indigenous collections. The Indigenous Collections Symposium: Promising Practices, Challenging Issues and Changing the System –presented in partnership with Woodland Cultural Centre, and the Indigenous Knowledge Centre at the Six Nations Polytechnic– served to initiate an ongoing conversation in which the OMA, our members, and Indigenous communities continue to engage. In 2021, the OMA and members of the Indigenous Collections Working Group, presented the Indigenous Collections Symposium: Mashkawatgong-mamawewiziwin – strengthening our bonds, sharing our practices, which focused on putting ideas into practice.

In the critical time of the pandemic, the OMA launched numerous initiatives to support the digital transformation of Ontario museums. One of these is an ongoing collaboration with George Brown College involving faculty and students that will serve to embrace forward thinking and consider new approaches to help envision a museum of the future in a digital world. Other components of the research plan will benchmark how digitalized museums are now, track the impact of digital investment in the museums sector with an Ontario Museum Digitalization Index (OMDI) and test some digitalization toolkits. The research plan also includes getting a better understanding of the museum visitor and how digitalization affects engagements in different segments. All this information will be used to build the business case for increased investment in the museums sector in Ontario.

The OMA has formed a Museum Digital Advisory Committee engaged in these digital initiatives including, the Small Bytes: Supporting Digitization in Ontario’s Smaller and Rural Museums initiative - providing accessible, high-quality online training opportunities to build digital capacity and skills.
Looking back: Highlights from OMA Symposia
Photos (clockwise, left to right): 1. attendees at Festival du Loup, #mON400 Musées Ontario Museums (2015), 2-3. participants at the Inclusive Museum Leadership Symposium (2018), 4. Susan Jama at the Inclusive Museum Leadership Symposium (2018), 5. participants from Indigenous Collections Symposium: Promising Practices, Challenging Issues and Changing the System (2017), 6. Temma Pinkofsky, Craig Capacchione and Melissa Phillips, Inclusive Museum Leadership Symposium (2018), 7. Linda Grussani and Stephanie Pangowish, Indigenous Collections Symposium (2017)
Conference Connections Mentorship Program
Join us as a mentor or mentee on Monday November 7, 2022 at the OMA Annual Conference in Hamilton for your very own Conference Connection!

Conference Connections is a successful mentorship program co-coordinated by the Group of Ontario Emerging Museum Professionals Committee (GOEMP) and the Ontario Museum Association (OMA). It is designed to introduce Emerging Museum Professionals (EMPs) to more established museum professionals, facilitating professional networking and exchange.

Note: Mentors and mentees will be paired before Conference and can meet during the networking break (1:45 - 2:30pm).

Register as a Mentor or Mentee by October 10, 2022 HERE.

Post-Conference Study Tours

See you in Hamilton! We are thrilled to share the 2022 OMA Study Tours on Tuesday November 8, proceeding the Annual Conference. Explore the local area’s culture and heritage with two engaging tours: Dundas Museum and Archives and Hamilton Civic Museums.

The Dundas Experience
Dundas Museum and Archives (Dundas, ON)
9:30am - 5:00pm

It’s the Little Things: Small Steps Towards Continuous Improvement at the Hamilton Civic Museums
Hamilton, ON
9:30pm - 5:00pm

Learn about the itineraries and register HERE.
Study Tours will depart from the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel (116 King Street West, Hamilton, ON, L8P 4V3) and return to the same location. All transportation, admission to each site and lunch is included in the registration fee.

Learn about the Registration Terms, Conditions & Cancellation Policy HERE.

If you have any particular accessibility requirements, and did not note these on your registration form, please reach out to our Professional Development Assistant, Megan Brohm, at or the OMA office by phone at 416-348-8672 or 1-866-662-8672 by or before October 11, 2022. If you would like to be responded to by a particular method, such as email or telephone, please specify your preference.
We look forward to gathering with you at OMA Annual Conference!
  • Monday, November 7, 2022 In-person (Hamilton) – select sessions live-streamed
  • Tuesday, November 8, 2022 (Hamilton) Study Tours
  • Monday, November 21, 2022 Online – Full day of interactive online sessions
Register Today!
Book Your Accommodation for the In-person Conference HERE.
In case of unavailability on hotel rooms at the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel on November 7, a number of rooms have been set aside for OMA delegates at Staybridge Suites Hamilton - Downtown (5 minute walk from the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel). Book your accommodation HERE.

Learn about the Health & Wellbeing Policies and Practices HERE.
Learn about the Registration Terms, Conditions & Refund Policy HERE.

Contact Us:
Tel: 416-348-8672
Toll-free in Ontario: 1-866-662-8672
Partners & Exhibitors
*as of October 4
In the Media
National Day of Truth and Reconciliation - Media Coverage
'Sadness and hope': Indigenous leaders, academics speak on Sept. 30 as
commitments go unfulfilled - CTV News
Canadian Museums Association Urges Repatriation of Indigenous Objects - Hyperallergic
Woodland Cultural Centre's Indigenous language program fosters reconnection with culture, identity - CityNews (watch)
This Indigenous spirit garden goes beyond supporting families in need. It's also growing relationships (tobacco seeds gifted by the Ken Seiling Region of Waterloo Museum) - CBC News
National Residential School Crisis Line offers emotional support and crisis referral services for residential school Survivors and their families. Call the toll-free Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419. This service is available 24/7.

Telephone and chat-based support and crisis intervention is available to all Indigenous Peoples in Canada, through the Hope and Wellness Help Line. This service is available in English and French, and, upon request, in Cree, Ojibway, and Inuktitut. Call the toll-free Help Line at 1-855-242-3310 or connect online HERE.

Other Resources:
Elgin County Museum hosts exhibition Cipher/Decipher
Fugitive Slave Chapel nearly set to move to Fanshawe Pioneer Village
Lambton Heritage Museum holding animal-themed PA Day Event
Poignant story of 'orphans for profit' shared with Orillia Museum of Art and History
6-mural exhibit recasts Waterloo region history through Indigenous lens
County to purchase rare Tudhope-Everitt vehicle for Simcoe County Museum
Kent Monkman’s new exhibit reframes the role of museums, art and artifacts (audio)
New York display of Jurassic proportions stomps into Windsor's Chimczuk Museum
What's On
Museum Strathroy-Caradoc
50 Years and Counting
Shevchenko Museum
Exhibition of Art and Sculpture by Alexander Gutyrya
Hutchison House Museum
Autumn Afternoon Tea
Fieldcote Memorial Park & Museum
Annual Great Pumpkin Stroll
Contribute to Member News!
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  • We collect content from the Discover Ontario Museums website "What's On" section. OMA Members simply have to update their museum listing to be featured in ONmuseums.
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Support Ontario’s Museums: Donate Now!

As museums across Ontario face the challenges of reopening safely and renewing relationships with your communities, the OMA is here for you. Your support, participation, and membership make our work possible.

If you are already an OMA member, thank you! Please renew your membership when you receive an email reminder. If you are not yet a member, please consider an individual, institutional, or commercial membership for yourself, your colleagues, or your institution. You can find information about member categories and benefits on our website.

You can make a donation to the OMA on our website or through Canada Helps. Every contribution adds to the collective strength of our sector. Thank you for your support!

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For all questions or inquiries please contact the OMA: or call 416-348-8672 / 1-866-662-8672.
As an organization of provincial scope, the Ontario Museum Association recognizes that its members and community live and work on the lands and territories of Indigenous peoples. Toronto, where the OMA offices are located, is the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, Haudenosaunee and the Huron Wendat. We wish to express our gratitude for the resources we are using and pay respect to the rich and ongoing Indigenous history of what is now Ontario and Canada.
Our Mission
The Ontario Museum Association strengthens capacity among institutions and individuals active in Ontario’s museum sector, facilitates excellence and best practices, and improves the communication and collaboration of its membership. The Association advocates for the important role of Ontario’s museums to society, working with all stakeholders, related sectors and industries, and other professional organizations.
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