Canadian Museums Association
The Canadian Museums Association is the national association for museums and related institutions. It was begun on 29 May 1947, when founding president H.O. McCurry, then director of the National Gallery of Canada, gathered together a small group of delegates from 13 Canadian museums at the Musée de la Province de Québec to discuss the establishment of an association of Canadian museums.
Geographical, financial and communication barriers provided challenges to the young volunteer-run organization but, through the work of a number of dedicated museum workers and the commitment of their institutions, the Canadian Museums Association has grown to become the national organization for the advancement of the Canadian museums community.
Members now include a large and diverse group of non-profit museums, art galleries, science centres, aquaria, archives, halls of fame, artist-run centres, zoos and historic sites and the people who work in them across Canada. All are dedicated to preserving and presenting Canada's cultural heritage.
Initially, one of the goals of the association was to improve the standards of Canadian museums by providing training to art gallery and museum workers, a role that remained important through the 1960s and 1970s until the establishment of provincial museums associations and regional training programs.
The Canadian Centennial celebrations, and the years leading up to 1967, were a key turning point in the CMA's history. In 1965 the first CMA office opened in Ottawa and paid staff assumed responsibility for many of the day-to-day tasks previously undertaken by volunteers. Suddenly there were hundreds of new museums and openings for museum workers across the country. The museum community grew rapidly in the late 1960s, continuing in the early 1970s with the introduction of the National Museums policy in 1972.
The Canadian Museums Association unites, represents and serves museums and its workers through professional development programs and conferences; participation in national research projects such as Canadians and their Pasts; promotion of Canadian museums at the international level; and many other programs and services.
CMA administers the Young Canada Works in Heritage Organization, a program that gives young Canadians an opportunity to gain hands on experience within the heritage, arts and cultural sectors. CMA also offers a number of bursaries (for students, young professionals and established professionals and their institutions) and each year presents awards to celebrate and encourage excellence within the museum sector.
In addition, CMA publishes a full-colour, bimonthly, bilingual magazine called Muse which features national and international news, book reviews, and articles relevant to the arts, culture and heritage sector. CMA uses innovative technologies to communicate with its members including its bilingual website.
There are now more than 2500 non-profit museums and related institutions in Canada, and each year more than 59 million visitors attend Canada's museums and a further 60 million visit the country's historic and natural parks. 60% of international tourists visit our museums when they come to Canada. Museums employ over 24 000 people, adding an estimated $17 billion annually to Canada's GDP. They engage 55 000 volunteers and are supported by 300 000 individuals.