Friday, 31 July 2015

AMA Conference 2015 Keynote Interview Part One: Sharon Heal, Director, Museums Association of the United Kingdom

This year's Alberta Museums Association Conference, Nurturing Organizational Resiliency, focusses on exploring the ways museums nurture organizational health and community engagement on their path towards resiliency.  As museums move towards a sustainable future, it is more important than ever to have a strong sense of social purpose, and utilize intelligent visioning and strategic foresight when engaging with communities.
Sharon Heal, Director of the Museums Association of the United Kingdom, will deliver the Friday AMA Conference 2015 Keynote Address, Leading Change: Why Museums Can't Live in the Past. Sharon’s presentation will explore the core purpose of museums as it relates to public need. How can museums broaden access to culture, and what impact can this have on both institutions and their communities?
In anticipation of her upcoming talk, Lucie Heins, Assistant Curator for Western Canadian History at the Royal Alberta Museum, met with Sharon to discuss her work with “Museums Change Lives”.
Lucie Heins: Sharon, your various roles prior to becoming the Director of the Museums Association (MA) of the United Kingdom were mostly program and audience-based. How has this assisted you in your directorship role? Can you tell us a bit about your journey to becoming the Director of the MA?  
Sharon Heal: My background is actually in journalism, in editing and writing. That’s where my training initially was and that’s where my career developed, but I also developed events and the conference at the Museums Association. For me, there is a lot of commonality and crossover in journalism and museums. Museums are all about people, about making connections between objects and stories. Journalism is about people because when you write and edit, you consider your audience. It’s about sharing ideas; it’s about sharing practice as a museums association. In the wider sense, in a campaigning role as an association, it’s about connecting people to museums and connecting politicians, stakeholders, and funders to those really pertinent stories of the impact that museums can have at an individual level.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Six Steps to Community Engagement

By Christine Moreland, Ontario Museum Association

The Ontario Museum Association has just released Engaging your Community: A Toolkit for Museums (EYC). This free toolkit outlines a six step process for museums to work with their communities to assess institutional relevance and create a plan to deepen the museum’s relationship with its community, in turn increasing the sustainability of the museum. The intended outcomes are to:

  • Provide your museum with a process to deepen your understanding of what community engagement means to you; 
  • Examine, evaluate, and articulate your current relationship with and role in your community; 
  • Explore how community engagement can be part of planning and delivery, at all levels and in all aspects of the museum.