Monday, April 29, 2013

Celebrating Future Museum Professionals

On the evening of Thursday, April 25, I had the privilege of addressing the soon-to-be graduates of Algonquin College's Applied Museum Studies (AMS) program at a well-attended public event. The students talked about their experiences as interns at various museums across Canada as well as several international sites.

© CMA / AMC 2013
This three-year Ontario College Advanced Diploma program provides students with a background in museum work and the technical areas common to all museums including collections management, exhibit preparation, conservation, educational programming and museum management.

The AMS program — one of the most recognized of its kind in Canada — is currently celebrating its 40th anniversary. Congratulations to Algonquin College and all the graduates!   

The CMA is the proud employer of a number of the students who were introduced at the event. These young people represent the future of our profession–we will be in good hands. Bravo Algonquin!


John G. McAvity
Executive Director

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Special Exhibition on Parliament Hill | Exposition spéciale sur la colline du Parlement

On the evening of Tuesday, April 23, Audrey Vermette and I had the opportunity to go to the Prime Minister's office and Cabinet Rooms for the unveiling of a special exhibition of rare artifacts from the Franklin Expedition, organized by the Canadian Museum of Civilization. With several cabinet ministers and MPs also in attendance, Audrey and I had the opportunity to discuss key issues facing museums in Canada. 

© CMA / AMC 2013
Few people know that the Cabinet Rooms showcase a number of important Canadian works of art as well as artefacts, underlining to our federal representatives the importance of Canadian heritage and the role museums play in preserving it. Plans are underway to continue displaying collections on loan from museums. 

John G. McAvity
Executive Director

Pendant la soirée du mardi 23 avril, Audrey Vermette et moi sommes allés au Cabinet du Premier Ministre et aux salles de réunion du Cabinet pour l’inauguration d’une nouvelle exposition d’artefacts de l’expédition Franklin, présentée par le Musée canadien des civilisations. Tandis que plusieurs ministres et députés étaient aussi présents, nous avons eu l’occasion de discuter des principaux enjeux auxquels font face les musées au Canada.

Peu de gens savent que les salles de réunion du Cabinet servent de vitrine pour présenter plusieurs œuvres d’art et artefacts canadiens importants. Ceci souligne aux représentants fédéraux l’importance du patrimoine canadien et le rôle que jouent les musées pour le préserver. Il est prévu de continuer de présenter des collections prêtées par des musées.


John G. McAvity
Directeur général

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Heritage Never Gets Old

It’s a great time to get involved in the museum and heritage sector. In the next few years alone, Canadians will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation (2017), the 200th birthday of our first Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald (2015), and the centennial of the Great War (2014), in which Canadians played a major role in important battles such as Vimy Ridge.

In light of all these commemorations, the government is focusing on our history more than ever. In 2012, Prime Minister Stephen Harper declared Canadian heritage to be a top priority. Even in a time of economic uncertainty, Harper has promised that the heritage sector, a $46 billion dollar industry which provides over 630 000 jobs, will have steady funding for the next five years.

Museums have a valuable role in society. They tell the stories of people who can no longer tell their stories themselves. They promote cultural unity through understanding and appreciation. They act as teacher, storyteller, and facilitator of discussion all at the same time.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Budget Day, a day like no other!

Uncertainties, tweets, and a cold 

Federal Budget Day in Ottawa: this is the most revealing day following our yearlong push for museums. Throughout the year, we are meeting MPs, Senators, hosting our annual Hill Day (where you can participate), and appearing before Parliamentary Committees, but it all cumulates in the Budget speech.

I always attend the budget lockup and despite having a very bad cold, off I went along with our indomitable Audrey Vermette. This was her first time in the lock up. This is one of those events not to miss, rubbing shoulders with famous journalists, lobbyists, consultants, politicians, etc.

When we arrived, there was the usual tension in the air; will we be discovering bad news, or good news? We arrived with draft statements for both scenarios, which had to be rewritten after we poured over some 600 pages of documents. We had to ask skill-testing questions of federal officials who frequently are at evasion.

Our objective is to report to our members, within an hour of the budget speech. We also have to do this in both official languages which in itself is a major feat. Afterwards,  we send it out to members by email, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Back in the days when we had reporters devoted to our sector, I was in the unique position of being the only voice interviewed, which was a golden opportunity to get our message out. Today the media is only interested if there is a major story about cuts; good news is not news!

As soon as Mr. Flaherty started his budget speech at 4pm, we were back to the CMA office to finalize our communiqué so you would have the relevant news firsthand within the hour. The communiqué also goes to politicians. This year we quickly heard back from James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage, with congratulations on our accurate work. He even sent our message along on his own Twitter feed.

In actuality, it is his good work we must acknowledge as he once again has been the champion of our sector which survived the 2013-2014 budget intact. You can read our analysis of the federal budget, what is new and what news you need to know on our website at

Soon after, I went back to bed to nurse my cold!

John G. McAvity
Executive Director