Friday, 24 February 2017

Feb 27 Meeting Cancelled

Hi everyone!

Just wanted to let you know we've cancelled the Feb 27 meeting due to low RSVP.

There's some fun news and events happening in the coming months - watch your email for announcements soon!
Make sure you're on the mailing list here.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

CAGE Conference 2017 Invitation

Hi HME members! Ever consider attending a Canadian Art Gallery Educators conference? This year's is now open for registration! 

Dear Colleagues & Friends,

I am delighted to share with you news about the next Canadian Art Gallery Educators Conference. For April 20-23, 2017, we are headed to historic Halifax, hosted by the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, to explore the themes of accessibility and advocacy in the context of art gallery and museum education.

Highlights of the conference include: A kick-off and a special keynote presentation by Amanda Cachia, an independent curator & critic specializing in bridging the arenas of contemporary art practice, politics and disability studies; a panel discussion moderated by Visual Artist & Disability Art Professional Elizabeth Sweeney, and hands-on art-making at artist studio & community hub Wonderneath. All this and more alongside stimulating conversations, AGNS programming and networking opportunities!

Do you have a recent program or project that relates to our topic? We would love to hear all about it! Please consider presenting a case study during the conference. All accepted case study participants will receive a discount on registration and the gratification of sharing your unique program with colleagues from across the country!

Full Conference Details:

Dara Armsden

Senior Chair, CAGE
Head of Education & Learning, Art Gallery of Alberta

Travel Grant Opportunities:

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Letter from a New Member

Hi everyone! A new HME member, Amy Hetherington, has a message for us all. Please read below!

Dear Hamilton Museum Educator Group Members,

A few months ago you had an evening session all about social media.
Unfortunately, this was about two days after I joined the group and I
already had plans for the night and was unable to attend! However, it
left me thinking and certainly encouraged me to come out to an evening
gathering in November. It was wonderful to meet the people who were able
to attend.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Dr Amy Hetherington and I’m a
Burlington-based freelance heritage consultant. I’ve recently moved back
to Canada from the UK and have decided to continue my freelancing over
here, and naturally that means I’d like to network with more museum
people, especially in Ontario.

My speciality is in audience research and visitor studies, aspects of
museum work that often fall by the wayside during projects or programs
and that most museums never quite get around to (the same thing happens
in Europe). However, as an extension of this, I have also become heavily
involved in social media over the years (going on 7 years now that I
have been doing social media assistance and marketing for non-profits
and for conference/event organisers). I know many of you are probably
struggling with one or both of these issues in your organisation
(museum, gallery, cultural centre, arts organisation, etc.).

Getting in touch with a consultant can seem daunting, and many people
have the assumption that we’re very expensive! We’re really not,
especially those of us who work in the cultural sector. And we are
generally happy to talk with you upfront, for free, to see how we could
help. I certainly am.

If anyone would like to get in touch to talk about social media issues
in your organisation, or you are wondering about doing visitor research
or want to revisit your audience (or the audience you aren’t getting!)
then please feel free to drop me a line.

My email is and my website is You can see all my services listed, projects
I’ve completed, and testimonials from previous clients. Don’t hesitate
to get in touch, even if you aren’t sure what you’re asking for!

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Meeting Cancellation Procedure: Inclement Weather

Copyright @ St Jacques Photography | All rights reserved
It's that time of year, folks!

Here's what happens if there's inclement weather on the day of an HME meeting:

  • we'll try to make the decision as early as possible that day
  • we'll post here on the blog that the meeting's been cancelled
  • we'll send out an email to the mailing list, so you'll get the notification right in your inbox1

Thanks everyone, and hope to see you at the next meeting!


1Want to join the mailing list? Just click here.

Cafe Night: November 2016

We met at Williams in Burilngton by Silvercity on Nov 28, 2016, to hear a great presentation from Lambton Heritage Museum's Luke Stempien about that museum's recent RE:ORG project and discuss education/handling collections.
Thanks for sharing, Luke!


  • Started through ICOM and UNESCO
  • around since 2006, came to Canada in 2014/15
  • First piloted in Ontario 
  • Step-by-step tool kit for reorganizing space, easily scalable
  • There should be a space for everything (including educational materials and collections)
  • 2011 ICOM surveyed museums, 1/3 lack regular storage cleaning schedule
  • Have storage space staff person to oversee
  • Safe space for storage
  • Collection space/ operational/education/curatorial
  • Took a whole year to do the reorg
  • Project team; all full time and part time staff, regular meetings, (core team of 3 people, bigger team of 6)
  • Can help show where collection strengths and weaknesses are
  • Myths: you don't need to have a full collections inventory to start the process, you might have more space than you think
  • How long to find something in storage?: should take 3 mins
  • Started out taking about 20 mins to find something

How to get started?
Click this PDF link for RE:ORG's Self Evaulation Tool

  • Get senior management involved; RE:ORG is good because it gives numbers that can be used across a number of museums and internationally
  • Get in touch with other museums and galleries
  • Collecting moratorium?
  • Changes to method of collecting? / Have to tackle policy documents?
  • Volunteer collections committee (buffer between staff and public)?
  • Make sure there's enough staff (right ratio between collections and education)

Suggestions for moving forward with RE:ORG

  • Look at policy documents, tie collecting into interpretation
  • Offsite storage for non-essential things
  • Interpretive costumes: could go on compression storage
  • Education materials storage: a particular place for things like Tool kit bookings and a system to keep track of all items (Separate systems?)
  • Deasscensioning: can go to committee

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Cafe Night: September 2016

SOCIAL MEDIA was the topic. Here's some notes from our discussion that evening.

interesting: Western University has "digital humanities"
Humber Collage; has a continuing education certificate in Social Media

Podcasts are a pretty accessible, wide-open area for social media sharing.


  • what CAN we accomplish at our institutions without compromising quality?
  • Capacity is important
  • Is this a team effort, or down to one staff member?
  • what happens when a social media staff member leaves?

Great example of museum social media use: Lakeshore Grounds

  • Old psychiatric hospital; has small exhibit space
  • Online presence to expand space because space is so small
  • Did IG takeover
  • Speaking consistently; unanimous voice
  • started with immediate physical neighbours, seeing what hashtags they use

Another great example of museums using social media: Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology

  • MakerFair steam museum: twitter was great for that
  • Good to know your target audience and where they are
  • How do you find that out??: have to know people/plug into their social media of choice and see how they use it

Things to think about with your institution and social media:

  • do you need to use it at all? Is it where your audience is?
  • WHICH platform to use? 
  • Have a plan for cohesive voice; should speak with  your audience in the tone that's apporpriate to both your institution as well as the platform (some more relaxed than others)
  • If you use multi platforms, sometimes work can be cut down and one post will go out to all your platforms by using in-between apps (like IFTTT)
  • Facebook is still the most popular, demographic skewing older
  • Boosting your post on Facebook does indeed make a difference
  • Project specific may make it easier to do; specific event/audience
  • Teachers are super interested in tagging back, students less interested
  • social media will at least demonstrated a heart beat for your museum
  • it's really important to have your hours listed, and make sure any maps connected with your institution are correct

Thinking about Snapchat? Here's an interesting webinar on it.
Museum Nerd on Twitter: huge following, very popular.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Mini Conference CALL for PRESENTATIONS

Image result for canada 150

We're currently working on our Mini Conference for October 24; the topic is

"Canada 150: Addressing the Diversity of Canadian Identities."

You're invited to submit a presentation proposal on this topic. Please feel free to share this call for proposals with anyone you think would be interested.
We're looking for enthusiasm and an interested in sharing:
  • presentations anywhere from 5 - 30 minutes
  • focus on how you/your museum is preparing for Canada 150
  • how you/your museum is addressing diversity in your collection/communities
  • how you/your museum is engaging with your communities
  • and also hearing from voices who may be outside of the professional museum community

Got ideas? Got referrals? Send them to:
gregort @

Submissions close on October 6

Mini Conference will be hosted at the Royal Botanical Gardens.

Further info:

We're a group of Hamilton + area museum educators who meet about once a month, and hold a "mini conference" twice a year. We're dedicated to sharing knowledge to best serve our communities.
Some recent topics we've addressed at mini conferences include: diversity, privilege and the role of museums, and accessibility.

Mini Conferences
These are truly "mini": we cap attendance at about 25 so that discussion and interaction can be encouraged between all participants. We usually have about 3 or 4 presentations, each about 20 - 30 minutes long (though we are flexible!)
Our next Mini Conference is Monday October 24 at the Royal Botanical Gardens from 10 - 3. Topic:
Canada 150: Addressing the diversity of Canadian Identities
Unfortunately we can't offer any payment to presenters because we're entirely volunteer-run and don't collect dues from members.

Take this as an opportunity to tell a room full of local museum educators whatever you think they should hear and learn about!

If this mini conference won't work for you, perhaps you know of someone who would be interested in presenting; please connect them with HME!