See what happened at Conference 2015! We heard from an array of diverse, professional and experienced speakers as they discussed Ebb & Flow: Navigating societal trends and expectations.

Monday, October 26

Opening Keynote 9:30 am – 10:30 am

Anvil Centre Theatre, 3rd Floor, Anvil Centre


Kathleen-04Kathleen Bartels, Director, Vancouver Art Gallery

The Transformation of the Vancouver Art Gallery: Building a Hub of Creativity + Lifelong Learning






Morning Plenaries 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Studios, 4th floor, Anvil Centre

Opportunities and Guiding Principles for Working with First Nations Communities


First Peoples Cultural Council will provide an overview of their mandate to assist 203 First Nations, Aboriginal arts and culture organizations, and individual artists in B.C. with their work to continually vitalize their languages, arts and cultures. Through an interactive workshop participants will then work together to uncover their own experiences working with First Nations. Based on these real experiences and other possibilities that emerge, the group will identify some practical guiding principles for working with First Nations in a meaningful way.

Cathi Charles Wherry, Arts Programs Manager, First Peoples’ Cultural Council
Tracey Herbert, Executive Director, First Peoples’ Cultural Council

Creating Meaningful Partnerships: Museums, Students and Heritage Fairs Program

Education is central to the role of museums. Many museums offer unique, relevant and engaging programs and learning resources, yet teachers do not always take advantage of them or integrate them into their teaching curriculum. Recent changes to the provincial curriculum and its focus on historical inquiry and critical thinking across disciplines may change all this. This session will illustrate how local museums can benefit from these changes through participating in the Heritage Fairs program.

Emily Ooi, Educational Programs Coordinator, Richmond Museum & Heritage Services
Carol Ballard, Education Programmer, North Vancouver Museum & Archives
Lesley Moore, General Manager, North Pacific Cannery National Historic Site

Embracing Controversy: Red Lights and Roulette at the Nanaimo Museum

Controversial exhibits can be intimidating for small museums. Addressing concerns from the Board of Directors, funders, community members and even local politicians are part of the process. The Nanaimo Museum’s recent Red Lights & Roulette exhibit will be used as a case study to demonstrate positive and negative impacts of a controversial exhibit. Aimee Greenaway will share tips on fielding complaints and her list of “what not to do next time.” In this case, the benefits outweighed the headaches so you may leave inspired to undertake that controversial exhibit you have been thinking about.

Aimee Greenaway, Interpretation Coordinator, Nanaimo Museum


Ask the Expert 1:00 – 2:00 pm

3rd and 4th floors, Anvil Centre

Beyond the Norm–Building Breakthrough Marketing- roundtable

Marketing communications, corporate communications, promotion, sponsorship, new media and customer research.

Erika Stenson, Head of Marketing and Development, Royal BC Museum

Making a Museum: Being ED at Britannia Mine- presentation

Operating a museum through growth; project management; balancing imperatives (tourst attraction, museum, cultural heritage). How to manage operational considerations including visitors and expectations of both staff and board.

Kirstin Clausen, Executive Director, Britannia Mine Museum

Ask the Expert: Strategic Planning- roundtable

I have developed and facilitated many strategic planning processes for museums and non-profit organizations in Canada and the US. My processes are customized to each client’s needs and resources and have ranged from two days and a full year. My strategic planning approach is rooted in proven best practices, supplemented by new concepts in this continually evolving field.

Jim Cullen, Principal, W. Jim Cullen Consulting Services
Install It, Ship It, Store It – A How-to/DIY Session on Installing, Packing, Crating and Storage- roundtable

Join my table at Ask the Expert and I’ll answer your questions about the practical side of gallery and museums installation including packing, crating and shipping strategies to protect your art while it is in transit; affordable materials and techniques available to anyone; A/V equipment and techniques; lighting (inc. LED); storage; furniture; and building custom hardware, to name a few topics. Having faced challenging installs of a contemporary and traditional nature within and outside an art gallery environment every few weeks or so for the last decade I can offer you good advice and help you problem-solve!

Corey Bryson, Chief Preparator at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Insurance Matters- roundtable
Insurance Matters – Join the conversation with Tom Swan, licensed insurance broker with Marsh Canada Limited. No sales here, just solid, free advice on insurance issues relevant to museums and galleries. Bring your questions on insurance and risk! This table generously sponsored by:







Afternoon Plenaries 2:15 – 3:15 pm

Studios, 4th floor, Anvil Centre

c̓əsnaʔəm: City Before the City

One topic, one community, two museums, three different exhibits all opening at the same time in January of 2015. c̓əsnaʔəm, the city before the city is a series of stand-alone, yet inter-related exhibits created through a unique collaboration between the Musqueam First Nation, Museum of Vancouver and the Museum of Anthropology. We invite you to join the exhibit team for a conversation about this project. Who was involved? What was the planning process? How were relationships developed and sustained? What were some of the difficulties and successes? What are some of the outcomes?

Susan Rowley, Curator/Associate Professor, UBC Museum of Anthropology
Leona Sparrow, Director, Musqueam, Treaty, Lands and Resources
Susan Roy, Professor, University of Waterloo
Viviane Gosselin, Curator, Museum of Vancouver
Larissa Grant, Researcher, Musqueam, Treaty, Lands and Resources
Jordan Wilson, Curator, UBC Museum of Anthropology
Jason Woolman, Senior Archivist, Musqueam, Treaty, Lands and Resources

Museums as Alternate Methods of Learning: A Case Study of the Sikh Heritage Museum

This session will explore the development of the Sikh Heritage Museum in the National Historic Site, Gur Sikh Temple. We will address specifically a research study that we have conducted to assess the touring experience of high school students and the knowledge they gained through the affective touring experience. Can the museum serve as an alternate form of educating that offers more benefits versus the standard text-book and classroom style?

Sharanjit K Sandhra, Coordinator and PhD Student, University of the Fraser Valley and University of British Columbia
Satwinder K Bains, Director, University of the Fraser Valley, Centre for Indo Canadian Studies

Update on the Canadian Heritage Information Network, and the Nomenclature Project 4.0

This session will provide you with an update on CHIN’s emerging priorities for the coming years, and bring you news on the most recent projects and resources that CHIN is developing for Canadian museums. One of CHIN’s projects is an update of the Nomenclature 4.0 classification standard for museum cataloguing – come and find out about this new standard which will be published in the summer of 2015!

Heather J Dunn, Heritage Information Analyst – Standards, Canadian Heritage Information Network


Afternoon Plenaries 2:15 – 4:15 pm

Anvil Centre Theatre, 3rd Floor, Anvil Centre

Design Jam: Design Thinking Basics

Engaging staff, audiences, and community in and through design processes is a  growing aspect of contemporary curatorial practice. Moreover, authentically engaging stakeholders requires us to rethink methods. Participatory Design and  Human Centred Design Thinking methods provide valuable ways of including these stakeholders and are a way to make engagement processes that are interactive, productive and fun. This conference session will be an interactive workshop based on the Vancouver Design Nerds Society’s format of creative collaboration: The Design Nerd Jam.

David Alexander, Royal BC Museum, BCMA Innovation Committee Co-Chair
Hanna Cho, Museum of Vancouver, BCMA Innovation Committee Co-Chair
Mitra Mansour-Tehrani, Community Engagement Director and Facilitator, Vancouver Design Nerds Society
Jared Korb, Communications & Design Facilitation, Vancouver Design Nerds Society

This session is generously sponsored by:

NGX logo



Afternoon Plenaries  3:30 – 4:30 pm

Studios, 4th floor, Anvil Centre

Chinese Canadian Artifact Project

Join members of Chinese Canadian Artifact pilot project and hear how they are working collaboratively, sharing expertise, and mobilizing resources to bring this provincially funded project to its successful completion with an online digital archive. This project provides a case study of how museums, academic institutions, and funding agencies can come together to engage with diverse communities.

Tusa Shea, Program Coordinator, Cultural Resource Management Programs, UVic
Dr, Zhongping Chen, Professor and Author
Anna Rambow, Executive Director, Cumberland Museum and Archives
Aimee Greenaway, Interpretation Curator, Nanaimo Museum

New Business Model for Heritage Organizations

As traditional funding sources shrink or disappear, there is continually increasing pressure on the heritage sector to find new ways of generating its own revenue, but many of those ways seem, at best, like distractions from our mandates or, at worst, at odds with our core values. The Grist Mill and Gardens Provincial Historic Site is pioneering a unique new business model called a Community Contribution Corporation that may allow it to generate self-supporting revenue while also staying true to the site’s significant heritage values as well as the community’s needs.

Chris Mathieson, Grist Mill and Gardens Historic Site

Claiming Space: Changing Strategies for Engaging Youth at MOA

This presentation will offer three perspectives that trace the changing strategies of engaging Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth in the Museum. It will focus on how the changes to the Native Youth Program at MOA contributed to a deeper and more creative engagement with Aboriginal youth and how the strategies employed in that context changed overall approaches to engaging youth in general in the Museum.

Jill R Baird, Curator of Education and Public Programs, UBC Museum of Anthropology
Pam Brown, Curator Pacific Northwest, UBC Museum of Anthropology
Francine Cunningham, Independent Artist, Writer


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Breakfast session 7:00 am – 8:45 am

Theatre, 3rd floor, Anvil Centre

Royal BC Museum Travelling Exhibitions Breakfast

Have breakfast with your colleagues, learn about upcoming travelling exhibitions that may be of interest to you and then join in as we help shape the latest travelling exhibition from the Royal BC Museum. This breakfast is generously sponsored by:

RBCM logo




Morning Plenaries 9:00 am – 10:30 am

3rd and 4th floors, Anvil Centre

At Water’s Edge: Intensive Community Collaboration through Exhibition, Public Programming and Archival Contributions

This is presentation that highlights the successes and challenges of a recently completed 4-year, multi-stakeholder project, housed at the New Westminster Museum. The (Re)Claiming the New Westminster Waterfront Project partners provide their reflections on how the project began, the steps taken to bring it to fruition, and the valuable learning experiences along the way. The project completed nearly 100 oral histories, used to curate the Our Working Waterfront, 1945-2015 exhibition, and added to the archive. The project also generated school and public programs to enhance the exhibition.

Kate Petrusa, Intern, Simon Fraser University/White Rock Museum & Archives
Rob McCullough, Manager, New Westminster Museum, Cultural Services
Oana Capota, Curator, New Westminster Museum
Pamela Stern, Simon Fraser University

The Collaborative Process: Reaching out Across Departments, Collections and Communities

How do we achieve a true collaborative process and how do we measure its success? Developing a strategy that effectively integrates diverse groups is a complex task, and the management of communities and their contributions can throw up unique challenges. Examine some of these challenges and explore the value a wide-reaching collaborative project can bring. Using their upcoming 100 Years, 100 Treasures project, members of the Beaty Biodiversity’s Museum’s Exhibits, Education, Marketing, and Curatorial teams take you through their process – outlining both creative and practical considerations.

Yukiko Stranger-Galey, Exhibits Manager, Beaty Biodiversity Museum
Jacqueline Chambers, Education & Outreach Manager, Beaty Biodiversity Museum
Linda Jennings, Assistant Curator, Herbarium, Beaty Biodiversity Museum
Mairin Kerr, Marketing, Communications & Events Coordinator, Beaty Biodiversity Museum

Crowd Sourcing History: A Case study from the Royal BC Museum

Cultural institutions across the globe use crowdsourcing to efficiently enlist the help of digital volunteers to help build and enrich their collections. In April 2015, the Royal BC Museum launched its own crowdsourcing project, Transcribe, to help digitize their World War I archival collection of letters and diaries. This presentation will explore the various challenges surrounding the development of a crowdsourcing project.

Meagan Sugrue, Web & E-Commerce Specialist, Royal BC Museum
Ember Lundgren, Preservation Manager, Royal BC Museum, New Archives and Digital Preservation

Controversy, Sponsorship & Partnership: From Pipelines to Coal Barges

During this session, Board and Staff at the Fraser River Discovery Centre will share how they are navigating the dangerous waters of controversy to build a fact-based educational exhibit and education program about economic activity on the Fraser River. They will share their experience working with high profile and sometimes controversial corporate partners to develop an engaging, meaningful exhibit, supported by relevant educational strategies to provide a clear and broad understanding of the economic, environmental and socio-cultural importance of the Fraser River to everyone’s lives.

Panelists will share the strategies utilised to protect and ensure FRDC’s credibility and secure broad project support internally from Staff and volunteers as well as externally, from community members, funders, government and environmental groups. Hear about the potential pit falls and roadblocks in working with controversial sponsors and what to do to circumvent them.

Catherine Ouellet-Martin, Executive Director, Fraser River Discovery Centre.
Stephen Bruyneel, Chair, Fraser River Discovery Centre
Shannon King, Director of Education, Fraser River Discovery Centre


Morning Plenaries 11:00 am – 12:20 pm

Studios, 4th floor, Anvil Centre

Heritage Tourism Alliance: Review and Recommendations

This session will present options for proposed changes to the Heritage Tourism Alliance (HTA) and offer institutions a chance to provide input on the HTA’s future. The workshop will include a presentation on the past context of the HTA and an overview of potential changes to the project during its ongoing review. Feedback collected at this workshop and at the 2015 Heritage BC conference will influence the final review of the HTA and recommendations for future operations and activities, including scope, structure and sustainable funding possibilities, with the goal of supporting heritage tourism in the province of BC.

Ben Fast, Contractor, BCMA, Heritage BC, Royal Roads University

Roll on Columbia : Fifty Years of Controversy Revisited

Roll On Columbia is exhibition project developed to provide critical information and context to the kick-off of the renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty. Canada and the US have ten years (2014-2024) to notify and develop a new transboundary Columbia River Treaty(CRT) before the current treaty expires in 2024. The history of the CRT and its legacy is not well understoo in Canada or the US. Roll On Columbia tackles the historical treaty details (and their current impacts) and inspires action through a visual arts display by seven American and BC artists. First exhibited in Spokane, WA.

Leah Best, Executive Director, Touchstones Nelson: Museum of Art & History

Taking Good Care: Curating Culturally Sensitive Collections

In 2012 faculty and students at the University of Victoria formed RIDSAR (Residential and Indian Day School Art Research), a research and curatorial collective. Funded by SSHRC we research the status of children’s material culture, created in residential schools, in Canadian institutions. We have worked with Survivors on an ongoing exhibition project of their childhood paintings that were repatriated to them. This presentation discusses kinds of knowledge created from this collaboration with communities directly affected by the IRS legacy in curating sensitive collections from this era.

Andrea N Walsh, Associate Professor, University of Victoria
Jamie Morton, Director, Alberni Valley Museum
Deborah Cook
Jennifer Robinson, PhD Candidate, University of Victoria
Bradley A Clements, Undergraduate Student, University of Victoria



Closing Keynote and Lunch 12:30 – 1:50 pm

Anvil Centre Theatre, 3rd Floor, Anvil Centre

John Nightingale_6 06

Dr. John Nightingale, President & CEO, Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre


The Vancouver Aquarium is a 59 year old, non-profit, cultural institution located in Vancouver’s Stanley Park.  It has a rich history starting with the four, clear founding mandates of education, original scientific research, its role in “making Vancouver more attractive”, and operating in a financially self-sufficient manner – independent of government. In the 1970’s, conservation was added as a fifth mandate.  The Aquarium has always been a leader with a number of “firsts” to its credit including being the first aquarium to use human interpreters, to display killer whales, the first aquarium to pledge not to catch whales and dolphins from the wild, and the new Coastal Ocean Research Institute.  With an annual visitorship of over 1 million, and with over 24,000 member households (over 75,000 individuals) along with a robust volunteer program with over 1,300 volunteers, the Aquarium interacts with over a million individual people each year.  The Aquarium has an expanding marine science program, educational programs reaching over 80,000 students a year, and is a leader in sustainability operating under ISO 14001 certification.

Described in this way, the Aquarium sounds like a leading public institution with a rich history which is fully integrated into various parts of the community.  And it is. However, in today’s world of social media and the internet, a small group of people nearly hijacked the Aquarium’s reputation and stature.  Because the Aquarium displays whales and dolphins as a key part of expanding public engagement and awareness, it became the target of animal rights activists who nearly took control of the Aquarium’s future.  The story surrounding how an institution can be “blindsided” by special interest groups in today’s world of changed media reporting, Twitter, Facebook and other social media channels, and the ability of anyone to say anything – true or not – without accountability is interesting in its own right.  How the institution responded to retain control of its own future directions and current operations serves as a reminder that our world is changing.  The crisis forced upon the Aquarium has taught it lessons applicable to many organizations and businesses today.


Afternoon Plenaries 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Studios, 4th floor, Anvil Centre

Chinese Historical Wrong Outreach Kit

The new resource for Chinese Historical Wrongs will be examined in detail, including a discussion of the development process. The curriculum is for grade 5 and grade 10 students. A limited number of kits will be available at the session for interested museums to sign out and take back to their facilities.

Kim Gough, Adult Learning Developer, Royal BC Museum

Trading Routes Exhibition: Heritage Museum and Artists/Researcher Collaborations Addressing Controversial Themes

This study describes the collaboration between the Gulf of Georgia Cannery Museum National Historic Site and the artists and researchers working on Trading Routes: Grease Trails Oil Pipelines (2013-2018), a project supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. It involves the planning and production of the exhibition Trading Routes: Water Fish and Oil (April 2015/16) at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery Museum National Historic Site. The collaboration provides the framework for the exhibit and outreach opportunities for engaging visitors and local communities.

Ruth S Beer, Professor and Assistant Dean of Research, Faculty of Visual Art, Emily Carr University of Art and Design
Kit Grauer, Professor Emerita, University of British Columbia
Rebecca Clarke, Executive Director, Gulf of Georgia Museum National Historic Site
Karen Lee, Public Programs Manager, Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society

Admission Fees and Community Engagement: Issues and Opportunities

Kate will present her recent research about the impact of admission fees on a museum’s connection with its commmunity in a world-wide context and lead a discussion about options for museums of BC to customize their admission practice to become more effective members of their communities.

Kate Kerr, Royal BC Museum



Evening Workshops

Join us on Tuesday evening from 4:30 to 8:30 for for hands-on, how-to workshops presented on a variety of topics of interest to the museums, gallery, archive, heritage and library communities. These workshops are open to delegates and non-delegates alike! For more information please visit our Evening Workshop page.