Program — April 2018

CMA 2018 National Conference Logo  


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Program Dates

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► CMA EXPO 2018 prospectus

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Tuesday 10


8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.



10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Alliance of Natural History Museums of Canada Meeting

By invitation only!



This year's workshops are all about giving you the tools you need to help you find solutions to issues you currently face. We've programmed four full-day workshops and five half-day workshops. Workshop facilitators are recognized experts in their field and have stellar reputations as workshop leaders. Please select the workshop that best meets your needs. Priority will be given to individuals who register for the full conference. A higher fee will be charged for individuals only attending workshops. As space is limited, we would encourage you to register as soon as possible.

All events will be held at the Sheraton Wall Centre Hotel unless otherwise noted.


9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Full-Day Workshops

  Financial fitness  

Full Financial Fitness — From Revenue to Campaigns

Facilitators: Kathleen Brown, Lord Cultural Resources and Elisabeth B. Galley, Arts Consulting Group Canada

This full-day interactive informative workshop presented in collaboration by Lord Cultural resources and Arts Consulting Group invites participants to take a holistic look at the financial fitness of their Museum. The workshop will begin with a focus on how museums can identify the right revenue balance for their needs looking at how earned revenue, contributed revenue, government contributions and endowment proceeds can affect and contribute to one another. Participants will be asked to identify where they are now, and consider what balance they should strive for in the future to accomplish their goals. Next, the workshop will focus on practical strategies for increasing revenue, looking particularly at contributed and resources to build fundraising capacity and identify innovative monetization methods that do not compromise the missions of Museums. Lord Cultural Resources and Arts Consulting Group will share success stories from past clients in the cultural sector to inspire and challenge attendees. Finally, the workshop will conclude with a focus on capacity building for major campaigns. Regardless of institution size and financial status, successfully sourcing “major Gifts” is key to a successful campaign. Whether the campaign is capital, annual or endowment – advanced planning, wealth screening and leadership play important roles in reaching your goals. Participants will work to identify what “major gifts” mean to them, and learn how to develop customized cultivation plans for targeted prospects.

About your facilitators: Kathleen Brown, COO of Lord Cultural Resources, provides 30-plus years of experience as a respected consultant with proven management skills. Her workshops are interactive, informative, and leave clients and other participants inspired and informed for their organizations’ future. Elisabeth Galley , Senior VP and head of Arts Consulting Group's Revenue Enhancement practice, brings more than 33 years of practical experience as a fundraising professional and consultant in the arts and culture field. Her work includes successful campaigns ranging from $1M to over $300M, as well as assisting organizations of all budget sizes reach their fundraising goals.

Fee: $150. Includes two networking breaks, lunch and printed material. Please bring a copy of your most recent annual report or financial statement. Limited to 40 participants.


Live! Put Yourself on the Path to Successful Special Events

ROM Golf tournament

ROM Ball


Facilitator: Constance MacDonald, The Royal Ontario Museum

Are you considering offering special events at your institution? Do you struggle with planning the perfect special event for your museum? Do you need help developing appropriate and profitable events? Do you have the capabilities to determine if you should be offering special events? If you said yes to any of the above, then this is the Workshop for you. This practical workshop has been developed to assist individuals who plan and direct special events at your institution.

Special events are a mainstay of every museum. You want your special event to stand out in peoples’ memory! Whether to raise money, raise awareness, recruit volunteers, or offer a program to visitors, staff and volunteers spend considerable time and money organizing and implementing events. In this way, special events are a critical business. Museum staff must fully understand the purpose of their events, know intended outcomes, expenses of materials and talent, and how the museum is portrayed to the public. This interactive session will provide tips to gain maximum return on dollars, raise awareness and to increase participation. We’ll discuss:

  • Getting your event off the ground 
  • Identifying your spaces and their potential 
  • Repositioning your event 
  • Fundraising for your special event 
  • Marketing and promotion
  • Event logistics 
  • Risk management 
  • Financial management

In the afternoon, Connie will be assisted by Brian McAlonie from Thinking Outside the Square. You’ll have the chance to create and present your own special event.

This workshop will be of interest to attendees from both small and large museums.

Fee: $195. Includes two health breaks and lunch. Limited to 30 participants.

About your Facilitator: Constance MacDonald is no stranger to the importance of hosting successful special events. Connie is the Vice President for Programs, Events and Special Services at the Royal Ontario Museum. With 20+ years’ experience at the ROM, she is the creative genius behind many of the ROM’s innovative events – from Friday Night Live to the ROM New Year's Eve Bash to special openings, Connie has the formula to ensure the success of each special event!


Creating and Effectively Managing a Dynamic Five-Star Board

Facilitator: Bruce D. Thibodeau, Arts Consulting Group Canada

How do you build capacity for your board and at the same time effectively manage them? Museums of all types and sizes face many issues when it comes to mobilizing the resources of your board, as well as building their capacity to be effective ambassadors of the institutions they represent. This full-day workshop will outline a nine-step board-building process, including but not limited to the three distinct areas within the cycle:

  1. Identification, cultivation and recruitment of new board members
  2. Orientation, education and engagement of current board members with an emphasis on leadership succession
  3. Evaluation, celebration and rotation of existing board members

Discussion during the workshop will centre on best practices in the overall board building cycle. Participants will also have ample opportunity to share their success stories and challenges during this interactive workshop. This workshop will be of value to museum directors, board members, and external affairs professionals, highlighting the critical interface between internal capacity building and external community engagement.

About your facilitator: Dr. Bruce D. Thibodeau President of Arts Consulting Group, has over 30 years of experience in guiding leadership transitions, enhancing contributed and earned revenues, and building organizational sustainability through robust strategic planning, community engagement, and facilities and program planning processes. He has facilitated numerous interactive workshops throughout the arts and culture sector focused on strengthening the board’s capacity to play an active role in governance. Dr. Thibodeau has also conducted extensive research on how stakeholders influence, and are influenced by, the activities and practices of non-profit arts and culture organizations. A regular guest speaker at various national and international arts, culture, and academic conferences, Dr. Thibodeau’s recent conference papers and presentations include the Academy of Management; Social Theory, Politics, and the Arts; and The Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society.

Fee: $150. Includes two networking breaks, lunch and printed material. Limited to 20 participants.


Half-Day Workshops


9:00 – Noon

Branding the Museum Visitor Experience

Facilitator: Brian McAlonie, Thinking Outside the Square

What does branding have to do with museums and why should they even care? This half-day workshop will focus on taking cultural institutions and heritage organizations beyond the traditional approach of branding products and services (exhibits, programs, special events, etc.) by introducing the concept of branding museum visitor experiences. The first part will be conducted as a presentation/discussion while the second part will give participants a chance to put the concepts and ideas discussed into practice. Participants will return to their institutions with a set of concrete ideas and concepts they can implement immediately.

The workshop will provide:

  • A short historical perspective of branding - key in understanding the concept of branding and where it originated.
  • Branding: why should museums care?
  • Contemporary branding concepts, approaches, and practices.
  • Brand strategy and positioning.
  • Branding the museum visitor experience.
  • Best practices.
  • Placing concepts into practice.
About your facilitator:  For almost 25 years, Brian McAlonie has utilized his broad range of expertise in the communications, design and museum fields to assist clients with creating engaging and pro table visitor service experiences. Combining an M.A. in museum studies from the University of Leicester, England and his vast professional experience, Brian assists cultural institutions and heritage organizations with creating and implementing master visitor experience plans, museum exhibitions, interpretive plans and museum stores to build sustainable audiences and revenues. Specifically, Brian is responsible for board and staff visioning facilitation, strategic planning, creative strategy development, interpretive planning, brainstorming and client communications. Brian speaks regularly to various national and international museum professionals and was also an adjunct professor in the museum studies M.A. program at SUNY Buffalo State.

Fee: $75. Includes networking break and printed material. Limited to 30 participants.

9:00 – Noon

Website Redesign Mistakes: How to Create a Visitor-Centred Museum Website

Facilitators: Rob Maguire, Emily Carr University of Art + Design; Todd Sieling and Tylor Sherman, Denim & Steel Interactive

Is a new and improved website in your institution's future? Common website design mistakes can easily be avoided with the right approach to research and planning. This workshop will explore some of the lessons learned during the development of the Museum of Anthropology's new website (, examining best practices that will be sure to save you time, money and much grief. You'll learn how to avoid some common website redesign mistakes while creating a visitor-centred website for your museum or gallery. Your assumptions on what constitutes an ideal museum website will be challenged. A variety of concerns related to the design process, including visitor research, stakeholder engagement and inclusive design will be discussed. This workshop will be of value to museum professionals working at all types and sizes of institutions and requires little to no technical knowledge.

Attendees who wish to have their website critiqued during the workshop are encouraged to submit a link to no later than March 23, 2018.

Fee: $75. Includes networking break and printed material. Limited to 30 participants.


1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Museum Storage Reorganization: Lessons Learned from RE-ORG: Canada

Facilitator: Simon Lambert, Canadian Conservation Institute

Dealing with storage is an important challenge for most museums. When storage is disorganized, collections are no longer accessible, their long-term preservation is compromised and their potential benefit to the public is limited. The RE-ORG Method for reorganizing storage in small museums is a step-by-step resource used in the Canadian Conservation Institute’s (CCI) “RE-ORG Canada” program (2014-). So far, 14 successful RE-ORG projects have been implemented in Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Quebec (and 77 worldwide, and counting!). In 2017-18, the program is now in the Western region (British Columbia, Alberta and the Yukon). This workshop, intended for museums who are contemplating a reorganization project to regain control of their collections in storage (i.e. improving existing storage rather than planning a new space), will cover the fundamentals of the RE-ORG Method, drawing upon the collected experiences and lessons learned by museums who have already gone through the process. Topics covered include: space efficiency, equipment and material selection, creative and inexpensive solutions, project planning and funding.

Fee: $75. Includes health break. Limited to 25 participants.


1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Writing Press Releases That Work

Facilitator: Andrea-Jo Wilson, Art Gallery of Ontario

Creating informative and nuanced messages for broad audiences is the ongoing challenge of museum communicators. What are institutions doing to ensure that these messages are being heard? In a fractured media landscape, who should we be targeting? Join Andrea-Jo Wilson, senior communications officer at the Art Gallery of Ontario for a hands-on workshop that will deconstruct the contemporary museum press release, paying attention to form, function and audience. By comparing examples from various institutions, this session will explore the roles that language choice, structure, tone and emphasis play in determining what messages get heard and by whom. This workshop will be of value to museum communication and marketing specialists, building on the conference theme of building bridges, by shining the spotlight on the important role of external messaging.

Fee: FREE! Includes health break. Limited to 20 participants.


Optional Evening Events

Tickets are required to access all evening Events. Please note that pre-registration is required for all. Tickets will not be sold onsite.


4:00 – 7:00 p.m.

CMA EXPO Opening Reception

The opening reception of CMA EXPO officially marks the launch of the exhibit hall. Come and enjoy complimentary food and a glass of wine as you discover the latest products and services that will help you work more efficiently and effectively!

Fee: $40. This fee is included in the Full and Premium registration. Additional tickets may be purchased for guests.


7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

An Ocean Wise Adventure — Vancouver Aquarium

Steller's Bay

Visit Canada’s largest Aquarium and connect with the more than 50,000 amazing aquatic animals and their compelling conservation stories. With food and drink in hand, embark on a journey through our galleries and around the world, exploring the exotic Amazon to the enthralling Arctic. The Aquarium’s newest exhibit — Steller’s Bay — will transport you to a west coast fishing village where you can watch the majestic and graceful Steller sea lions while you learn about these ‘research assistants’ and how they are helping their counterparts in the wild. Throughout the evening, enjoy a selection of canapés crafted by acclaimed Ocean Wise Executive Chef Ned Bell and paired with a selection of local beer and wine.

Fee: $75. This fee is included in the Premium registration. Includes transportation, tours of the galleries, Reception, one drink ticket followed by a cash bar. Open to CMA delegates and guests.