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  • 2013 OMA Annual Conference Opening Reception - #GOEMP!Varley Art Gallery of Markham
  • Contemporary Art and The New Museum: Land|Slide as Case StudyJanine Marchessault - Opening Keynote
  • customer service
(r)evolution @
markham public libraryMoe Hosseini-Ara
  • 2013 OMA Awards of ExcellenceAwards Artwork by Charles Pachter
  • 2013 OMA Awards of Excellence ReceptionMarkham Museum
  • 2013 OMA Awards of Excellence PresentationMarkham Museum
  • Janet Carding, Director and CEO, ROMClosing Address
2013 OMA Annual Conference Opening Reception - #GOEMP!1 Contemporary Art and The New Museum: Land|Slide as Case Study2 customer service
(r)evolution @
markham public library3 2013 OMA Awards of Excellence4 2013 OMA Awards of Excellence Reception5 2013 OMA Awards of Excellence Presentation6 Janet Carding, Director and CEO, ROMPhoto Slider jQuery by WOWSlider.com v4.8



Conference in Numbers

350 Museum Professionals, Volunteers, Students and Stakeholders


68 Speakers and Presenters

37 Exhibitors at the Largest OMA Tradeshow to Date!


20 Conference Partners - Thank You! Merci !

Plenary Sessions


2013 OMA Annual Conference


Janine Marchessault, Canada Research Chair in Art, Digital Media and Globalization at York University, delivers the Opening Keynote address. Download the presentation.




Moe Hosseini-Ara, Acting Director of Culture, City of Markham, presents customer service (r)evolution @ markham public library. Download the presentation.


Ontario Museum Association


Ronald Holgerson, President & CEO, Ontario Marketing Partnership Corporation, presents Ontario Museums and Tourism. Download the presentation.




Janet Carding, Director and CEO, ROM, delivers the Conference Closing Address. Download the presentation.

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Forging Ahead: Ideas in Motion



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OMA Certificate in Museum Studies Graduation

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OMA Algonquin College Award

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OMA Awards of Excellence

2013 OMA Awards of Excellence

The OMA Awards of Excellence are designed to:

- Recognize outstanding contributions to the Ontario museum community, with emphasis on innovation;

- Advance the museum profession in Ontario;

- Encourage high standards of excellence in the museum field.

The OMA is pleased to share video highlights from the 2013 OMA Awards Reception that took place Thursday, November 7 at the Markham Museum.

Click HERE to watch the videos.

Charles Pachter

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Photo Albums


Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - Varley Art Gallery of Markham

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Thursday, November 7, 2013 - Markham Museum

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Navigating Governance Navigating Governance

+ Municipal Museums – How different are we?

Download the Tom Reitz presentation [ PDF 1.7mb ]
Download the Ian Kerr-Wilson presentation [ PDF 500kb ]
Download the Cathy Molloy presentation [ PDF 1.2mb ]


Ian Kerr-Wilson


Cathy Molloy


Tom Reitz

+ Paradigm Shifts: The challenge of Negotiating Governance

Presenters: Virginia Eichhorn, Director & Chief Curator, Tom Thomson Art Gallery & Owen Sound Museums; Catherine Richards, Manager Curator, Aurora Historical Society/ Hillary House National Historic Site; John Summers, General Manager, Canadian Canoe Museum

Download the Virginia Eichhorn presentation [ PDF 1.2mb ]
Download the Catherine Richards presentation [ PDF 300kb ]
Download the John Summers Presentation [ PDF 7mb ]

Catherine Richards

+ Trends in Leadership and Governance at the Municipal Level: Ottawa Heritage and Museum Scene after Five Years of the Museum Sustainability Plan

Presenters: Henriette Riegel, Executive Director, Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum; Laura Gibbs, Executive Director, Ottawa Museum Network; Janik Aubin-Robert, Curator, Muséoparc Vanier Museopark; Paulina Abarca-Cantin, Executive Director, Council of Heritage Organizations in Ottawa (CHOO-COPO); Isabelle Geoffrion, Manager, Watson’s Mill, Inc

Download the Trends in Leadership presentation [ PDF 4.4mb ]

From L to R: Isabelle Geoffrion, Janik Aubin-Robert, Laura Gibbs, Henriette Riegel, Paulina Abarca-Cantin

+ Vital Museums, Engaged Community: Role-modeling change through the Kingston Culture Plan

Presenters: Paul Robertson, City Curator, Cultural Services, City of Kingston; Ann Blake, Managing Director, Kingston Association of Museums, Art Galleries, and Historic Sites, Inc.; Dr. Terri-Lynn Brennan, Program Coordinator, Community Engagement & Education, Cultural Services, City of Kingston; Tom Riddols, Curator, MacLachlan Woodworking Museum

Download the Vital Museums, Engaged Community presentation [ PDF 26mb ]

From L to R: Anne Blake, Tom Riddols, Dr. Terri-Lynn Brennan


Paul Robertson

Leading Change Leading Change

+ Championing Collections Care: A unique experience at the Ontario Science Centre

Presenter: Cara van der Laan, Artifacts Coordinator, Ontario Science Centre

Download the Championing Collections Care presentation [ PDF 19mb ]

Cara van der Laan


+ Designing for Innovation

Presenters: Cheryl Blackman, Assistant Vice President, Audience, Royal Ontario Museum; Brock Hart, Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer and Lisa Grogan, Co-founder, Overlap

Cheryl Blackman and Lisa Grogan


Brock Hart


+ Integrating Archival Collections into your Museum's Exhibits and Programs with the Archives of Ontario and TIFF

Presenters: Samantha Cutrara, PhD, Senior Coordinator, Educational Programming and Exhibitions, Stewart Boden, Outreach Officer (Archives of Ontario), Sylvia Frank, Director of Film Reference Library, Melissa Neil, Registrar, Theresa Scandiffio, Senior Manager, Adult Learning (TIFF)

Download the Archives of Ontario presentation [ PDF 1.8mb ]
Download the TIFF presentation [ 1.1mb ]

+ Taking Charge of Culture and Taking Risks at Campbell House Museum

Presenters: Liz Driver, Director/Curator; Angela Wright, Historical Interpreter/Event Facilitator, Campbell House Museum; Alex Dault, Associate Artistic Director, Single Thread Theatre Company; Miles Collyer, visual artist, The Tin Type Studio

Download the Panel Introduction presentation [ PDF 8.5mb ]
Download the Campbell House Museum presentation [ PDF 2mb ]
Download the Single Thread Theatre Company presentation [ 400kb ]
Download the The Listening Party presentation [ PDF 1.3mb ]
Download the Tintype Studio presentation [ PDF 2.7mb ]


Forging Our Path Forging Our Path

+ Engaging volunteers, staff and visitors in programming: Developing a docent programme for a non-traditional museum setting

Presenters: Alexis Haradyn, Docent Programme Coordinator; Justin Ingraldi, Manager, Volunteer and Intern Resources; Docent Programme Volunteers, TIFF Bell Lighbox

Download the Engaging volunteers, staff and visitors in programming presentation [ PDF 1.5mb ]

Center: Alexis Haradyn and Justin Ingraldi

+ Forging a Collaborative Path for Superior Professional Development

Presenters: Lindsay MacDonald, Director of Programs, ArtsBuild Ontario; Susan Cohen, Program Director, WorkInCulture

Download the Forging a Collaborative Path presentation [ PDF 900kb ]

Susan Cohen

+ Innovative Fundraising: An Update

Download the John Dalrymple presentation [ PDF 5.6mb ]
Download the Reagan Zuzarte presentation [ PDF 25mb ]

John Dalrymple


Reagan Zuzarte

+ WOOT!! Connections and Reflections on the Canadian Museums Youth Diversity Project

Presenters: Moderator: Pailagi Pandya, Youth Lead/ Historical Interpreter, Scarborough Museum; Devon Muhic, Youth Resource Lead, Scarborough Museum; Katie Epp, Youth Mentorship Lead, Markham Museum; Lisa Terech, Co-ordinator of Youth Engagement and Programs, Oshawa Museum; Justine Maalouf, Youth Team Coordinator, McMichael Canadian Art Collection

Download the Katie Epp presentation [ PDF 3mb ]
Download the Justine Maalouf presentation [ PDF 2mb ]
Download the Devon Muhic presentation [ PDF 5.8mb ]
Download the Lisa Terech presentation [ PDF 3.5mb ]

Devon Muhic


+ Plenary Session: Google+ Hangouts on Air: Experiments with innovative real-time engagement

Presenter: Ryan Dodge, Social Media Coordinator (ROM)
Follow the OMA on Twitter @wrdodger

Download the Experiments with Google+ Hangouts On Air presentation[ PDF 1.6mb ]


+ Knowledge Sharing Roundtable: Digital Handout

At the 2013 OMA Annual Conference, Tech Talks brought together museum professional interested in technology for presentations and Knowledge Sharing Roundtables.

Compiled HERE by Ryan Dodge, Social Media Coordinator at the ROM, you will find a growing number of resources that span the roundtable topics: Social Media, Web, Future Planning, Mobile, Getting Started, Digital Preservation and In-gallery Experiences.

Knowledge Sharing Roundtables

+ Creating Interactive Experiences

Presenters: Dominique St. Pierre, President, Co-Founder and Yannick Gosselin, VP Interactive Technologies (SiMBioZ)
Ann Curley, Operations Manager/Curator and Mary Storey, Director, (Muskoka Boat and Heritage Centre)
Follow the OMA on Twitter @Simbioz_Media

Download the Creating Interactive Experiences presentation [ PDF 8mb ]

Creating Interactive Experiences
Yannick Gosselin

Creating Interactive Experiences
Mary Storey

+ Developing a Great Mobile Experience

Presenter: Chris McLaren, Founder and CEO (Tristan Interactive)
Follow the OMA on Twitter @TistanInteract

Download the Developing a Great Mobile Experience presentation [ PDF 600kb ]

Developing a Great Mobile Experience

+ Digital Preservation on a Shoestring: Affordable Solutions to Long-Term Preservation of Your Museum’s Content

Presenter: Ern Bieman, Heritage Information Analyst (CHIN)
Follow the OMA on Twitter @chin_rcip

Download the Digital Preservation on a Shoestring presentation [ PDF 1.4mb ]

Digital Preservation on a Shoestring Budget

+ How Digital Technologies can Reinvent the Museum: a model for integrating collections management with knowledge dissemination tools

Presenter: Daniel Rivet, Director of Production and Operations (Idéeclic)
Follow the OMA on Twitter @drivet_ideeclic

Download the How Digital Technologies can Reinvent the Museum presentation [ PDF 3mb ]

How Digital Technologies can Reinvent the Museum

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The Conference Story

Former Toronto Star reporter, writer John Goddard's review of OMA Conference 2013


By John Goddard

He ordered coffee and food at a Starbucks drive-through, then realized he had forgotten his wallet. When he got to the window, he apologized profusely.

“Sorry, guys, there’s nothing I can do,” Moe Hosseini-Ara, director of service excellence at the Markham Pubic Library, told the Starbucks employees. “I’ll have to cancel my order.”
            “No, no, wait,” came the reply, and a server handed him $12 worth of food and drink.
             “But I don’t have my wallet,” Hosseini-Ara repeated.
            “That’s okay,” said the server. “We just want you to have an awesome afternoon.”
            Gasps of surprise rippled through the room as Hosseini-Ara told the story to a packed plenary session at the 2013 Ontario Museum Association conference in Markham.


Later, he said, he found that the Starbucks training manual specifically instructs servers to give away food that is cancelled. If it is going into the garbage anyway, the company reasons, why not use it to create goodwill?  

“I’ve recounted this experience millions of times and I’m willing to bet that Starbucks does not have an epidemic of people pretending they don’t have their wallet,” Hosseini-Ara said. “The small minority might do it, but let’s not create rules around the small minority.”

            The tale constituted one of the most memorable segments of the three-day event. There were others.
Royal Ontario Museum director Janet Carding dryly spoke of the challenges of “snippetization,” or how our society increasingly views the world in a series of snippets. Contemporary art impresario Janine Marchessault told of her daring collaboration with the Markham Museum on a show that included a rape scene. Campbell House director Liz Driver detailed the transformation of a historic-house museum into a centre for theatre, photography, sculpture, painting and music.

            At the conference, OMA Special Projects Manager Pierre Bois asked if I might write up my experience as a delegate. I was an ex-Toronto Star reporter just finished a book about ten Toronto heritage museums. I was not a typical delegate, but liked the idea of writing up a few highlights, even if — because of concurrent sessions — I saw less than half the program.

Moe Hosseini-Ara’s Customer-Service Revolution
            The Starbucks anecdote came partway into a talk about customer service at Markham’s seven library branches. The inference was that museum employees might also want to think about service levels at their facilities.
“We started to look at everything from the customer’s point of view,” Hosseini-Ara said. Entrances, parking lots, washrooms, telephone service, signage — every point of contact between the library and the library user came under review, as did established ways of doing things.

            Instead of tweeking policies and procedures, managers and employees found themselves embarking on a two-year process of what they came to call a “customer-service revolution” and “all-encompassing massive change.”
In the past, a librarian needed a masters degree and library experience to get hired in Markham, Hosseini-Ara said. A masters degree is still required. Recently, however, one successful job candidate had no library experience but had been a Starbucks manager.

Janet Carding’s List of Trends
            Snippetization: With people checking smartphones 40 times a day, writing dispatches of 140 characters or less, and keeping blog entries to a single paragraph, museums must learn to deal with audiences that see the world in a series of snippets, the ROM director said.

            Festivalization: Everything is becoming a special occasion. “People understand that they should join in because it’s just going to be here for perhaps a few days or a few weeks,” she said.

            Personalization: People have access to an infinite amount of information. They are looking to personalize it. The buzz term is “curate,” Carding said. People are looking to “curate” their own journey or experience. For a museum, she said, “it is important to understand that our audience is not one-size-fits-all, but comes in many shapes and sizes.”

            Beta-ization: Now everything is prototype, unfinished, released raw so that an audience can join in and make it better. Museums have always strived to create something perfect and timeless, to work for many, many months before finally releasing a work to the public. “I think that that is something that we should no longer aspire to,” Carding said. “And I think that if we get it right, collaborative, dynamic works-in-progress can be just as good and actually in many cases can be better.”

            On March 19, 2014, the ROM turns 100. The museum plans a yearlong celebration, Carding said, “and there are going to be snippets aplenty.”

Ronald Holgerson’s Free-Publicity Tips
            “Did you know that you can upload information about your museum for free on our website www.ontariotravel.net?” asked Ronald Holgerson, president and CEO of the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation. “And if you did know that, how recently did you update your information?”
Tourism Ontario no longer publishes its seasonal travel magazine in hard copy, he said. People looking up travel information for Ontario either go to a digital copy, or to www.ontariotravel.net for information. A museum can post a link on the website to send people to its own site.
            Tip No. 2: Place your brochure at one or more of the eleven Ontario Travel Information Centres, most located near the Canada-U.S. border.

Janine Marchessault’s Land/Slide at Markham Museum
            The York University media studies professor traced her career as an organizer of experimental public art, culminating in the fall of 2013 with Land/Slide: Possible Futures, a three-week takeover by 30 artists of Markham Museum’s heritage village.
“When I contacted Cathy [Molloy] to propose this kind of crazy site-specific exhibition about the future that would engage with the past, I was sort of lying a bit,” Marchessault told the conference. “I said the artists will not necessarily go into the houses, they will not disturb very much.” She recalled Molloy and curator Janet Reid replying: “We know who you are, we know what you do, and we like it.”

            “That was just pure luck,” Marchessault said, “to actually encounter somebody who is willing to take the risk and allow artists to come into the museum and transform it.”

Cathy Molloy’s Willingness to Take a Chance
            Since taking over as director of Markham Museum and Historic Village five years ago, Molloy has dropped “historic village” from the name and focused on pursuing Markham’s multicultural mandate. “We are now interpreting the history of the whole community by examining our shared technologies… things like pottery, textiles, metal working, printing — common to every culture across the world.”

            Marchessault’s pitch fit right in, Molloy said. She detailed the legal and bureaucratic work involved to make such a project a reality. “I kept telling people, ‘These artists are going to do a project that’s different from anything that has ever been done, and engage as many people as possible,’” she recalled.

            To the conference, she expressed one reservation: the installation in a log cabin of “Always Popular, Never Cool,” described by artists Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby as “a full-scale diorama about coercive sex and so called ‘slut-shaming.’”

            The Globe and Mail reviewer ignored the work altogether. The Toronto Star reviewer called it “a disembodied diatribe” and “a disturbing treatment.” Molloy, with apparent relief, said it drew no complaints from visitors.

Liz Driver’s Transformation of Campbell House
            The house was built in 1822 for William Campbell, who became Chief Justice of Upper Canada and presided over the colony’s first free-speech trial. When Liz Driver took over as director/curator five years ago, she set about transforming the place from a historic-house museum to a centre for freedom of many forms of artistic expression, at Queen St. W. and University Ave. in downtown Toronto.

             “Taking Charge of Culture by Taking Risks,” Driver called her session. Visual artist Miles Collyer of the Tin Type Studio, talked of his experience exhibiting and taking tintype photographs at Campbell House. Alex Dault, associate artistic director of Single Thread Theatre Company, told of his adventures in writing and staging plays in the historic building. Campbell House staff event facilitator Angela Wright spoke of using the upstairs assembly hall to run her first season of folk music concerts, “The Listening Party.”

            “The museum, instead of being static, is now constantly evolving through an engagement with Toronto’s cultural communities,” Driver said.

Her words sounded much like Molloy’s and Carding’s, and seemed to sum up one of the conference’s major themes. Audiences are changing. Take a chance and change with them.

John Goddard’s book Inside the Museums: Toronto’s Historic Sites and their Most Prized Objects is to be published by Dundurn Press on June 7, 2014.


Moe Hosseini-Ara

Janet Carding

Ronald Holgerson

Janine Marchessault

Cathy Molloy

Liz Driver

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Visit http://storify.com/museumsontario/2013-oma-annual-conference if the slideshow does not show up in your browser
(Storify only supports the latest versions of certain browsers).

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Thank You! Merci !


  • Petal Furness, Conference Co-Chair, Heritage Interpretation Supervisor, Grey Roots Museum & Archives
  • Cathy Molloy, Conference Co-Chair, Director, Markham Museum
  • David Carey, Director, Government & Foundation Relations, TIFF,
  • Linda Irwin, Chief Museum Administrator, Museums and Heritage Services, Cultural Services, City of Toronto
  • Francine Perinet, Director/Manager, Varley Art Gallery of Markham
  • Catherine Richards, Manager/Curator, Aurora Historical Society/Hillary House NHS


  • Catherine Richards, Local Arrangements Committee Chair, Manager/Curator, Aurora Historical Society/Hillary House NHS
  • Christina Blake, Education Programmer, Heritage Schoolhouse Museum and Archives
  • Melissa Cole, Curator, Oshawa Community Museum
  • Janet Emonson, Curator, Heritage Schoolhouse Museum and Archives
  • Melissa D. Matt, Cultural Services Representative, Georgina Pioneer Village & Archives
  • Katrina Pyke, Coordinator, Museum Operations, Pickering Museum Village
  • Alexandra Riccio, Community Development Assistant, Aurora Historical Society/Hillary House NHS

  • York-Durham Association of Museums & Archives (YDAMA):
  • Elman W. Campbell Museum
  • Georgina Pioneer Village & Archives
  • Heritage Schoolhouse Museum and Archives
  • Aurora Historical Society/Hillary House NHS
  • King Township Museum
  • Markham Museum
  • Oshawa Community Museum & Archives
  • Pickering Museum Village
  • Scugog Shores Museums: Village, Heritage Centre & Archives
  • Sharon Temple National Historic Site & Museum
  • The Richmond Hill Heritage Centre
  • Uxbridge Historical Centre (Museum & Archives)
  • Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum

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Thank you to the following 2013 Conference partners for their support of Ontario's museum community:

Markham Museum Markham
Zone Display Cases


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Canada Science and Technology Museum




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Ontario Museum Association
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Phone: 416-348-8672
Toll-free in ON: 1-866-OMA-8672
Fax: 416-348-0438

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