The BC Museums Association Mentorship Program pairs Emerging Museum Professionals (EMPs – in the first 10 years of their career) with experienced museum professionals in mid- or senior-career positions for an eight-month mentorship.  Each mentorship pair will follow a set of suggested guidelines and structures, though pairs are welcome to create timelines, frameworks and projects at their own discretion.

The BCMA Mentorship Program’s goal is to connect EMPs with experienced leaders in the BC museum sector to further occupation-specific professional development, and to strengthen the museum sector by creating a tradition of cross-career knowledge transfer.

The program’s first intake took place from October 2018 to May 2018. We plan to open up a new intake of the program in the near future – stay tuned for details! If you are an emerging professional or an experienced professional who would like to learn more or participate, please contact us and we will ensure you are the first to know about the next opportunity to participate in the program.

Click the topics below to expand more information about this program:

What is a mentorship program?

Mentoring is most often defined as a professional relationship in which an experienced person (the mentor) assists another (the mentoree) in developing specific skills and knowledge that will enhance the less-experienced person’s professional and personal growth.  As Nathan Magnassun puts it, “Mentors help us go further faster.

For the BCMA, mentorship is an opportunity for emerging professionals to gain valuable knowledge and insight from experienced professionals in their field.  In doing so, the BC museum sector is strengthened through a continuation of knowledge and the opportunity to share skills and resources – by both participants in the mentorship pair.  Mentorship is a two-sided process, and this program is aimed to provide benefit to both the mentee and the mentor.

Mentorship pairs will meet regularly over the eight-month program to have conversations, discuss specific topics, work on projects, review decisions, and much more.

Who is this program for?

The BCMA Mentorship Program is a member-benefit professional development opportunity for emerging museum professionals (EMPs) to gain knowledge from and connect professional with experienced professionals in their field.

EMPs: Are you passionate about museum work?  Are you interested in driving your career to the “next level”?  Are you curious about your field and what it takes to make be a success?  Are you willing to learn and get constructive feedback through open and honest communication with someone who was once in your shoes?  If you answered yes to these questions, you would be suitable for a mentorship with the BCMA.  EMPs must be Individual Members in good standing to participate in this program.

Mentors: Are you an experienced museum professional active in the BC museum field?  Are you a good communicator/leader who is passionate about your field or work?  Do you want to see your sector grow as the next wave of professionals settle into their careers?  Are you up for a challenge?  If you answered yes to these questions, you’ll make a great mentor!

EMP and Mentor Eligibility

Mentorship takes many forms and can For the purposes of this program, mentors and mentees (the EMPs) are considered two distinct groups based on expertise, knowledge, professional experience, and career position. The two groups are not defined by age or professional experience in another sector.

EMPs: Current Individual Members self-identifying as within the first 10 years of their career in the museum field.  EMPs must be currently employed at (or volunteer regularly with the desire for employment) a BC museum, gallery, or related heritage organization (the organization does not need to be a BCMA member).  EMPs should be able to demonstrate a commitment to and desire for continued professional development.

Please note: this program is designed for museum professionals/volunteers already in their careers and not for pre-career students.  The BCMA recognizes that many students work or volunteer in museums and many professionals are actively seeking further education, but requires applicants to demonstrate current employment or long-term volunteering for the purposes of career advancement.  If you are currently a Student Member in good standing and are not returning to full time studies, you are eligible for this program.

Mentors: Mid- or senior-career professionals with a suggested 10 years experience in the museum field.  Mentors should have strong communications and interpersonal skills, and should be able to provide guidance or advice on at least one aspect of museum work or area-specific career development.  Mentors may be contractors, consultants or other private-sector employees if experienced working with museums or experts in a subject area relevant to professionals in the museum sector.  A Mentor should be an Individual Member in good standing or work for an Institutional Member organization in good standing.

Pairing Process

A small selection group made up of our staff and volunteers will make the pairing selections based on work experience, career goals, and other information gathered through the application process, including:

  • availability of suitable mentors
  • EMP/Mentor eligibility
  • commitment to program schedule

The selection group will do its best to make the best pairings possible, given applicant numbers and areas of expertise. The BCMA will not discriminate against applicants for any reason.  Preference may be given to EMPs from small museums or rural areas.

Program Structure

The BCMA Mentorship Program is structured the following way:

  1. BCMA recruits mentors from the BC museum community
  2. EMPs submit applications
  3. Matching of mentors and EMPs based on compatibilities and eligibility
  4. Separate orientation sessions conducted for mentors and EMPs (mid-September)
  5. Upon successful completion of the orientation, mentors and EMPs are paired and provided with first-meeting resources and the mentorship contract (to be completed in October)
  6. Mentorship pairs work together for a minimum of eight one-hour meetings over the eight month program period.  BCMA provides ongoing support and resources throughout the mentorship program, as well as additional help as required.  BCMA also contacts the pairs periodically for progress updates and to monitor the mentorship relationship
  7. An end-of-term exit survey is completed by both mentor and EMP after the final meeting

Time Commitment

Mentorship pairs will meet (in person or via phone/Skype) for at least one hour at least once a month, though we strongly encourage pairs to be in regular communication between meetings (by email, phone, etc.).  The program is designed to be flexible and pairs are welcome to set their own schedules or arrangements so long as they meet the minimum of one meeting per month.

The BCMA will provide each pair with a set of suggested meeting guidelines and approach frameworks to help foster discussion and create successful outcomes.  Pairs are, however, welcome to pursue their own interests/goals, timelines, and processes during the mentorship.

The BCMA will also provide pairs with occasional optional resources about mentorship and general museum topics.

Each pair will be required to:

  • attend an overview video meeting outlining the mentorship term ahead (September)
  • complete a mentorship contract and review mentorship guidelines (to be completed during the first meeting)
  • complete an end-of-term exit survey

Mentors should be prepared to spend 2-4 hours per month on the program (one meeting plus any preparation time).  EMPs should be prepared for 3-10 hours per month on the program (1 meeting plus any preparation or project time).


Applicants to the program are expected:

  • commit to the full term of the program
  • have read the content of this webpage and to be familiar with the purposes, structure, and intent of the BCMA Mentorship Program
  • complete and abide by the mentorship contract
  • to keep in touch regularly with their mentor or EMP partner (minimum of one meeting per month as well as additional contact as required)
  • commit to a professional relationship grounded in respect and mutual benefit
  • complete the exit survey

The Mentorship Program is facilitated and supported by BC Museums Association. We provide mentorship pairs with the basic guidelines and structure, as well as with resources throughout the program, and will periodically check in with each pair for progress updates.  Each pair will have the flexibility to create their own process, schedules, or projects.

Commitment to Respect

The BCMA is committed to building respectful relationships between the BCMA and its members, and between mentors and EMPs.  Both mentors and EMPs will be required to complete a mentorship contract agreeing to mutual respect and confidentiality during the mentorship program.  The BCMA Mentorship Program is meant to provide an avenue for professional growth.  The BCMA reserves the right to remove participants at any point during the program.

Mentorship is also meant to be a two-sided relationship.  The BCMA hopes that mentors will also benefit from pairing with an EMP in their field, whether by gaining new skills or knowledge themselves, increasing networking circles, or having support in relevant projects.  Neither mentor nor EMP should take advantage of the program or their partner for personal or institutional gain or for unreasonable advancement.

Thank you for your interest in the BCMA Mentorship Program!

Follow along or share your mentorship experiences with #BCMAmentors