Strategic Plan

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Introductory letter

Our vision and mission

Goal one: Bring people and organizations together in support of the field and society at-large

Goal two: Effectively support and further broaden the CMA’s membership

Goal three: Revitalize and strengthen the CMA’s internal capacity

Our values


July 2020

Dear museum colleagues,

We are pleased to share with you a new strategic plan that while guide the efforts of the Canadian Museums Association (CMA) over the next few years.

This plan is the result of significant research and consultations over the past several months, expertly spearheaded by the Arts Consulting Group. We are grateful to have heard from such a wide range of stakeholders during the process, including members and non-members, and professionals from beyond the museum field. We received helpful and insightful input from colleagues across the country, CMA Fellows, the CMA Reconciliation Council, young museum professionals, national museum directors and many smaller community museums across the country.

We want to thank you for your contributions to this effort, particularly during such a challenging time for the sector; and most of this work was done during and through the unique lens of the pandemic.

This strategic plan strikes the right balance for the CMA by being both ambitious, but also realistic considering our size and budget. While the plan will help shape and inspire our efforts, it is also achievable and at a broad enough level that it can remain evergreen and flexible, as now more than ever we must remain able to adapt to new and evolving circumstances.

The CMA is proud and privileged to represent you. We look forward to working with you on advancing these important goals for the benefit of the museum sector, the profession and Canadian society at-large.

With kind regards,

Vanda Vitali, Ph.D., Executive Director and CEO of the CMA

Jack Lohman, CBE, President of the CMA’s Board of Directors


Our vision

Stronger museums. Engaged citizens. A better Canada.


Our mission

We champion, support, connect and elevate the museum sector.


Goal one: Bring people and organizations together in support of the field and society at-large

Now, more than ever, museums play a crucial role in society. They have the capacity to unite us and defend our common good as they make significant contributions to our economy and societal well-being. Museums in Canada seek the ability to connect, listen to one another, collaborate and communicate. The CMA serves as a strong voice and as a key node in a network of organizations to advance issues of common concern and national importance, such as a national museum policy, Reconciliation and the climate emergency.


1.1 Objective: Reinforce advocacy efforts and the impacts of museums

Strategic approach:

  • Advocate for increased funding that results in more sustainable support for museums.
  • Put forward a national museum policy framework that reflects all Canada’s museums.
  • Promote the breadth, depth, societal and economic role of museums.


1.2 Objective: Collaborate and partner with a more expansive network of interconnected organizations

Strategic approach:

  • Undertake joint efforts with culture and heritage-focused organizations to deepen and communicate the impacts of the museum field.
  • In collaboration with the CMA’s Reconciliation Council and other stakeholders across the country, deliver the CMA’s Reconciliation Program and further disseminate results and best practices.
  • Work with the federal government and partners on museum-related climate change efforts and encourage climate change action through various communications channels.
  • Explore opportunities with other organizations, for example via research, to advance cross-sector partnerships, to ensure diverse perspectives are heard and incorporated and to reach mutually beneficial outcomes.


1.3 Objective: Strengthen the museum workforce today and for the future

Strategic approach:

  • Deliver the Young Canada Works program in support of Canada’s museums and the country’s emerging museum professionals.
  • Maximize delivery of the CMA bursary programs.
  • Celebrate professional contributions to the field through awards.
  • Provide workforce development programs and learning opportunities for museum professionals at all stages.


Goal two: Effectively support and further broaden the CMA’s membership

Our members are at the heart of the CMA and the vibrancy of the museum community in Canada. Whether small or large, rural or urban, individual or institutional, the CMA is committed to understanding and focusing on the needs of members. Upholding the highest professional standards and ethics, it connects and engages members with pressing issues and a common purpose. We are a community of problem solvers.


2.1 Objective: Enhance the value of CMA membership

Strategic approach:

  • Update the CMA’s professional development offerings. to ensure they are relevant and modernized.
  • Explore the development of an accreditation program, including the establishment of national standards, in collaboration with the provincial and territorial museums associations (PTMAs).
  • Optimize member tools and services, particularly for small museums.


2.2 Objective: Increase the CMA’s membership size and scope

Strategic approach:

  • Ensure equitable and affordable access to CMA membership, programs and services.
  • Undertake a strategy to broaden and increase CMA membership.


Goal three: Revitalize and strengthen the CMA’s internal capacity

In order to deliver on an increasingly important mandate, the CMA must create further resiliency within its infrastructure. By bolstering its human resources, and investing in technology, the CMA will ensure that it can best meet the needs and expectations of museums and museum professionals.


3.1 Objective: Strengthen the CMA’s human resources, invest in technological tools, and streamline work processes.

Strategic approach:

  • Identify and secure additional revenue from various sources.
  • Attract, mentor and retain staff in an effort to enhance diversity, ensure alignment with CMA plans and plan for succession.
  • Modernize the CMA’s technological tools, including its member database.
  • Enhance the CMA’s research capacity, for example via surveys.


3.2 Objective: Create a more inclusive, representative and effective governance model.

Strategic approach:

  • Review the CMA’s bylaws.
  • Reinvigorate the governance model of the Board of Directors, including its sub-committees.


Our values

Collaboration & community

Boldness & courage

Accountability & professionalism

Diversity, inclusiveness & social responsibility

Excellence & creativity