Wednesday, 28 October 2020

AMA Celebrates Herman Yellow Old Woman, Recipient of the 2020 Lieutenant Governor's Award

Congratulations to Herman Yellow Old Woman, recipient of the 2020 Lieutenant Governor’s Award! This Award recognizes Herman’s instrumental role in championing the rights of Indigenous communities to represent themselves and to have a voice in creating and shaping museum spaces. 

Herman Yellow Old Woman is presented with the 2020 Lieutenant Governor's Award. 

In selecting Herman for this Award, the AMA Board of Directors recognizes his spirit of giving and important role in establishing best practices for the Alberta museum community. Herman’s achievements at a provincial, national, and international level have made an exceptional impact and contribution to Alberta’s museum community.

Among these achievements, Herman was a key member of the committee behind Glenbow’s Nitsitapiisinni Gallery, created to reflect the Blackfoot worldview. The Gallery has been internationally recognized as one of the first exhibits told from an Indigenous perspective and is the epitome of the reconciliation and healing museums are now striving for.

One of Herman’s most impactful contributions to the museum sector has been his fight for the repatriation of Chief Crowfoot’s regalia from The Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter, UK, an effort that began over a decade ago. Alongside his colleagues at Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park, Herman worked tirelessly to educate both the public and Exeter City Council about the importance of Blackfoot Cultural Patrimony, and encouraged them to see clothing not as objects or artifacts but as living beings – ancestors who, upon their return to their people, have the ability to help heal the harms done by the colonial legacy of museums. This year, the hard work paid off when Exeter agreed that Crowfoot should be returned to the Siksika Nation. Said Mr. Yellow Old Woman: “I feel like we're bringing his spirit home.”

Herman was instrumental in the development of the First Nations Sacred Ceremonial Objects Repatriation Act (FNSCORA), and the repatriation of over 260 sacred and ceremonial objects from Glenbow’s collections and many more from other museum collections. He has cared for museum collections worldwide by conducting ceremony, visiting and caring for sacred bundles and the ancestors residing in museums in Canada and internationally.

Herman has left an indelible mark on Alberta’s museum sector. His contributions are a gift to future generations, not only for the Blackfoot, but for museum professionals navigating the changing role of museums in society and the necessary work of reconciliation. 

Congratulations, Herman!

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

AMA Celebrates Lougheed House, Recipient of the 2020 Robert R. Janes Award


Congratulations to Lougheed House, the 2020 recipient of the Robert R. Janes Award for Social Responsibility! This Award recognizes Lougheed House’s commitment to creating exciting and unique visitor experiences that tell the lesser-known stories of Calgary and to integrating social responsibility into all aspects of its museum practice.

The team at Lougheed House has gone beyond the traditional historic house museum to embrace, challenge, and educate the communities around it and evolve alongside them. 

“At Lougheed House we believe that our story is best told together.”

Watch Lougheed House's acceptance video below: 

Through its many ongoing partnerships with Indigenous, racialized, queer, and feminist groups, Lougheed House is telling the lesser-known histories of the many and varied communities it serves. Its responsiveness to the feedback gathered from these diverse communities firmly positions it as a leader in the museum field. 

 Métis veteran Sergeant Major George Pambrun, Retired, at the raising of the Métis flag at the Lougheed House Garden Festival in July 2019.

Lougheed House created a Community Engagement Framework and a Re-Imagined Exhibition Development Plan that is embedded with community feedback. Standing out as a model for other institutions, this framework guides Lougheed House’s work with the community and enables it to transform its exhibit spaces to reflect the more diverse history of Calgary. 

Exhibits and events, such as Exploring Métis Identity: Past and Present and Roar: Exploring Queer History and Gender Identity, are shining examples of Lougheed House’s re-imagining and historic illumination.

Costumed attendees pose for the photo booth during Outliers: Queer History in Calgary in May 2019.

In focussing on the evolution of the House and telling these stories together, Lougheed House is building a thriving and sustainable organization that exemplifies the active role museums can take alongside their partners in shaping the narrative of a dynamic Alberta. 

Congratulations, Lougheed House!

Thursday, 15 October 2020

AMA Celebrates Recipients of the 2020 Leadership Awards

Leadership Award for Engagement

Harpreet Dhanjal

Congratulations to Harpreet Dhanjal, the recipient of the AMA’s 2020 Leadership Award for Engagement! This Award recognizes Harpreet's commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion in her role as Public Programmer at Calgary’s TELUS Spark. 

Harpreet is passionate about making the cultural sector more welcoming and inclusive. “It’s because I never saw myself here,” she says, “that community engagement and equity work is such an important part of my practice.” 

Watch Harpreet's acceptance video below: 

Never one to ignore or let slip an opportunity to advocate for those who are underrepresented, Harpreet is exceptional in her ability to engage diverse community members with culture. She carefully designs visitor experiences that are relevant, narrative driven, modern, and occasionally provocative, such as the Adults Only Night program titled He, Her, They, Everyone, and You (A.K.A. Beyond the Binary), a program that celebrated gender diversity while educating visitors on the intersection of sexuality, gender, identity, science, history, and art.

When developing programming, Harpreet involves experts who represent a range of identities and perspectives. Fearless in engaging new community partners, Harpreet has created programs that bring together research academics, drag performers, and rocket scientists. She has positioned TELUS Spark as a trusted ally and sought the expertise and collaboration of LGBTQ2S+ community partners. 

Passionate about making the cultural sector more welcoming and inclusive, Harpreet always prioritizes equity, diversity, and community engagement in her work. Harpreet crafts meaningful visitor experiences that provoke curiosity, reflection, discussion, and interaction, creating brave spaces for anyone and everyone to learn, play, and engage.  

A dedicated advocate and ally for underrepresented communities, and a champion for diversity and inclusion across the museum sector, Harpreet exemplifies the leading role museums have as agents of social responsibility. 

Congratulations, Harpreet!

Leadership Award for Education

TELUS World of Science - Edmonton

Congratulations to TELUS World of Science – Edmonton (TWOSE), the recipient of the AMA’s 2020 Leadership Award for Education! This Award recognizes TWOSE’s work in creating safe and supportive spaces for science learning for girls and women.

An all-female team worked across departments to tailor programming at TWOSE to individuals that identify as women in order to address gender gaps and improve accessibility in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) learning. The team set out to create a climate of support and change for women at all stages of their science careers.

Watch TELUS World of Science's acceptance video below:

The five distinct programs making up Women and Girls in STEM focus on addressing the issues that prevent women and girls from pursuing careers in science. Presenting material in an environment that is supportive of girls and women, the programs aim to increase confidence to pursue STEM careers, decrease gender stereotyping by providing a positive space for girls to interact with professional female role models in STEM fields, and improve positive peer influence by creating safe spaces to explore STEM topics and to learn new skills in the TELUS World of Science – Edmonton makerspace.

Designed to support girls aged ten to adults, the Women and Girls in STEM programs promote ongoing learning at critical ages where women and girls tend to lose interest in STEM. Not only do the programs provide an opportunity for girls to interact with like-minded peers, they also foster a support network of confident female STEM researchers.

These educational programs are engaging future and current female researchers’ hearts and minds in science. In empowering women and girls, TWOSE is a role model to their peers and colleagues of the importance of museums as agents of social change.

Congratulations, TELUS World of Science Edmonton!