Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Fall 2019 Mini Conference: Museums and Climate Change

Image result for royal botanical gardens logo

Join us for the fall 2019 HME Mini Conference "Museums and Climate Change"

Date: Monday October 7, 10 - 3
Location: Royal Botanical Gardens, Room 3/ 4
HME events are FREE


registration open until October 1, 2019

HME Mini Conferences allow you to connect with museum, gallery, historic home, and parks colleagues from across the area, learn from guest speakers, and get access to local cultural institutions for a one-day FREE professional development experience
While many of our attendees are in education, we welcome folks from all specialties to our Mini Conferences and meetings.


Chris McAnally, EPt.

Environmental Sustainability Coordinator
Royal Botanical Gardens
Facebook: @RoyalBotanicalGardens
Twitter: @RBGCanada
Instagram: rbgcanada

Environmental Sustainability at RBG – Progress made and lessons learned coordinating sustainability at a museum
RBG’s Environmental Sustainability Coordinator, Chris McAnally, will discuss what projects and initiatives RBG has been up to related to sustainability and climate change planning, sharing insight on the challenges, successes, and future goals.

Chris McAnally received his B.A. in Geography and Environmental Studies at McMaster University in 2015. In 2016 he received a graduate certificate in Environmental Management and Assessment from Niagara College. While at Niagara College, Chris worked at the City of St. Catharines and played a key role in the development of their community scale greenhouse gas inventory. In December 2016 he was hired on as RBG’s environmental sustainability intern at and has since moved into the role of “Environmental Sustainability Coordinator”. In this role Chris is responsible for working across departments to identify opportunities to reduce RBG’s operational environmental impact as well as to aid with the development and implementation of sustainability and climate focused policy.

More from Chris McAnally and the RBG...

Briana Palmer

Associate Professor, School of the Arts, McMaster University
SOTA website

Social Impact of the Printing Press

Briana Palmer lives in Hamilton Ontario, and teaches in the studio arts program at McMaster University.  Originally from the west coast Briana received her BFA at the Alberta Collage of Art and Design and her MFA from the University of Alberta. Her primary practice is in printmaking, sculpture and installation; creating works that reflect an intersection between, perception, experience, and social ideologies taken from her own cultural practices, up bringing and daily experiences.

Her works have been exhibited in Canada, U.S and Europe. Her prints are in the collections of the Alberta Foundations of the Arts, Southern Graphics Print Council, and University of Alberta.

More from Briana Palmer...

Sapphire Singh

Engager, educator and farmer at McQuesten Urban Farm

Getting your hands dirty: Planting seeds & taking action
The McQuesten Urban Farm is a community lead urban agriculture project that began nearly ten years ago. The people living in the McQuesten neighbourhood envisioned long-term solutions to the food insecurity challenges they faced, and brought people and partners together to make their dreams a reality. The three-acre farm is the first of its kind in Hamilton and uniquely positioned to offer community job creation, hands-on workshops, talks, tours, drop-in activities and curriculum linked education programs. The project is rooted in sustainable design and practices which include an outdoor classroom, native plant & pollinator gardens, greenhouses constructed from retrofit shipping containers, organic farming techniques including bio-available soil amendments, stewardship of the land, and collective agency over the access to and distribution of local whole food within the McQuesten neighbourhood.

Sapphire Singh has an Honors BA in Art History from McMaster University.  She has worked and volunteered in the non-profit environmental sector for over 20 years exploring and developing opportunities for skills sharing and interactive learning. Singh has worked as the Green Garden & Volunteer Coordinator at Green Venture, and Presentation Coordinator at the Hamilton Farmers’ Market. Today she divides her time between two unique and dynamic workplaces as an Engagement Coordinator at the McQuesten Urban Farm and Historical Garden Demonstrator and Interpreter at Dundurn National Historic Site. Inspired by DIY and craftivist culture, Singh seeks out creative opportunities for cross sector collaboration and programming connected to sustainable urban agriculture.

McQuesten Urban Farm

More from Sapphire Singh...

More about the McQuesten Urban Farm...

Douglas Worts and Ashley Watson

Engaging with Climate Change: How to connect with people and create impacts 

Climate change is a massive, complex issue that is both shaping and threatening society. Frighteningly, it is the cultures of humanity that are driving the climate crisis. For museums that aim to do something meaningful and impactful about climate change, the challenge is both compelling and daunting.

This participatory workshop and discussion will help museum practitioners deepen their understanding of the causes and impacts of climate change. Participants will also develop effective ways to address the climate crisis by leveraging the strengths and opportunities available to museums, as well as through building vital relationships with the public that they serve. The workshop will introduce tools that will help you design and plan public programs that will connect with people and have cultural impacts on the climate crisis.

Douglas Worts is a culture & sustainability specialist, in Toronto. Approaching culture broadly, as ‘how we live our lives’, Douglas sees museums as potential facilitators in forging an emerging ‘culture of sustainability’. Earning a MMSt degree in 1982, his next 25 years involved developing experimental exhibits and using integrated audience research at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Through the past two decades, Douglas has focused on how culture shapes and directs the prospects for global human sustainability/unsustainability. He has published and spoken widely on topics from visitor-based creativity, experimental exhibits, technology, learning, new museological models and more.  In recent years, the field of ‘systems-thinking’ has become fundamental – locating the forces and factors that create our living culture, which is demonstrably unsustainable. Largely retired, Douglas remains active in the Coalition of Museums for Climate Justice, serves on several committees and task forces related to culture and sustainability, as well as publishing and speaking on a range of museological topics.

Ashley Watson is an arts administrator and arts educator with a proven commitment to improving the availability of the arts to diverse audiences. Ashley is a graduate of University of Toronto’s Arts Management BA program and has a MFA from the University of Leicester in Art Museum and Gallery Studies. Her academic knowledge is supported by over eight years of professional experience working in the arts and cultural sector most recently as the Curator at Humber Galleries and as a sessional faculty in the Arts Management program at the University of Toronto. She also relishes her time spent in the garden, riding horses and rock picking.

Thinking in systems: A good introduce to systems thinking as a primer for the workshop

More about the Mini Conference:
  • RBG has parking and is connected to public transit. See "Getting There" details.
  • Lunch is currently "bring your own". RBG strives to be recycle-friendly and low waste.
  • The RBG's rejuvenated Rose Garden recently won a Sustainability Initiative Award from Sustainable Hamilton Burlington
  • RBG accessibility information
  • Questions? Please email one of HME's coordinators.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Drinkin' About Museums Sept 24: Unusual Suspects: Art’s Expanded Relevance with Danica Evering

Join us for the FIRST EVER HME Drinkin' About Museums evening!

Location: Merit Brewing, 107 James Street North, Hamilton
Time: 6:30-8:30
Topic and Speaker: Unusual Suspects: Art’s Expanded Relevance, Danica Evering

Unusual Suspects: Art’s Expanded Relevance
Using her work as the Education Officer at Humber Galleries as a starting point, Danica will talk through some of her engagement strategies to build learning relationships with unusual suspects. Reaching out beyond the art programs at the college, the art community, and the “general public,” the education program brought in recent immigrant students, outdoor elementary school groups, new teachers, after-school programs and more. The gallery developed responsive programming for students from community and justice services; fashion; journalism; the Black Academic Success and Engagement; hospitality, recreation, and tourism; the Aboriginal Resource Centre, international public relations, and more. Danica will discuss experimenting with language, intentional outreach, finding connections in exhibitions, advance conversations with professors, and relationship-building with campus resource centres in order to build this outreach and education program, as well as the reciprocal connections it supported.


Danica Evering was born in Cobourg and lives in Hamilton. Through writing, organizing, and sound composition, she reaches out intentionally, negotiates power structures, and suggests possibilities. Danica's experience with responsive education and experimental projects fosters unexpected connections between people and ideas. Her SSHRC-supported MA in Media Studies from Concordia questions power dynamics and insider/outsider relationships in social practice through interviews with artists and creative analysis of her own field work. 

Danica's knowledge of education and community-building comes from her work as the Program Coordinator at Musagetes (a socially engaged arts organization); as a founding member of the editorial collective of Publication Studio Guelph (a sibling studio of an international publishing network that attends to the social lives of books); her participation in the creation and development of the Benčić Youth Council (a radical arts education program for youth in Rijeka); and as the Education Officer and Acting Curator at the former Humber Galleries. 

Friday, 12 July 2019

New things for 2019-2020

The 2019-2020 HME year will see a few new additions!

2019-2020 Mini Conferences
We’ll be bringing you the same excellence in Mini Conferences in October 2019 (Museums and Climate Change, details below) and May, and to complement these larger events we’ll be hosting smaller “Drinkin’ About Museums” nights ). 

Once a month we’ll go to a different local microbrewery and feature a guest speaker who will give a short, informal presentation. The rest of the evening will be devoted to relaxed discussion, the ability to engage the speaker on their chosen topic, and the chance to sample some local “liquid” arts!  
These evenings will be the last Tuesday of the month. Check the current HME schedule for dates and locations!

Want to suggest a topic or location? Contact one of the coordinators!

As always, HME will strive to keep their events free. There will be a “tip jar” available at each event for a pay what you can, if you can, thank you for the speakers.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Museums and the Web: First Timer Tips

This past week a few of my colleagues from the McMaster Museum of Art and I attended the 2019 Museums and the Web conference in beautiful Boston, Massachusetts. It was my first time, and I thought it might be useful to put together a few first-timer tips based on my experience. 

1. Pace yourself 

It’s a big and fantastic conference! The actual conference-proper was Thursday-Saturday, but Wednesday had workshops and Tuesday a wonderful field trip to the museums at Harvard. This is a lot! It can easily be overwhelming, so check out point #2 below.

2. Go with a plan 

Antiquities at the Harvard Semitic Museum
There are lectures, papers presented, workshops, lightning talks, exhibitions, demonstrations…. So much to do and see! Checking out the schedule ahead of time (posted on the Museums and the Web website) will really help you decide what your ultimate goals are. Many papers presented were from folks in the middle of the pilot projects at their intuition. Some were from MA and PhD students, presenting their theses. Others were very step-by-step practical guides, and some were very frank with challenges, failures, successes, and tips.

3. See the sights 

Museums and the Web moves around to a different location each year; 2018 was Vancouver, 2017 was Cleveland, and this year was Boston. The city has so many cultural institutions to visit, not all of which are included in your conference schedule, but which may offer very valuable learning opportunities. Hot tip: really make sure you read through all the perks included in your registration. Too late I found out that the Isabella Stewart Gardner admission was included with my conference badge (though I ultimately don’t mind giving them my admission fee. It’s an amazing place!)

4. Do the tour

As this was my first Museums and the Web I’m not sure if they have a field trip every year, but if they do, I’d say consider going! There was a cap of 30 people for the trip, so make sure you sign up early if you’re interested. This year we visited several museums at Harvard, each of which offered incredible demonstrations of educational approaches and programming that they’re doing.

5. Divide and conquer 

There is nearly endless sessions to attend; in many instances there are several happening at once, so you need to make a choice. If you can swing it, go with a colleague (or make friends with someone and share notes!) That was you can “attend” multiple sessions, all without the help of Hermione’s time-turner.

Botticelli exhibit at the Isabella Stewart Gardner

 6. Stay on top of Museum and the Web’s twitter feed while you’re there

 Helpful details are shared; you might even catch a glimpse of yourself on the feed! Because there’s so much happening this is an option to keep you dialed in.

7. Consider sessions that aren’t directly related to your area 

It’s awfully hard to choose what sessions to attend; sometimes they sound incredibly connected to what you do, and others sound like they’re not! But this is a suggestion to go to those left-field-sounding sessions. Frankly, sessions that are directly related to what you do might just duplicate info you already know, whereas you may get some incredible gems in the most unexpected places.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

HME Meeting tonight RESCHEDULED

HME Meeting tonight RESCHEDULED due to inclement weather
From Tues Feb 12 to Tues Feb 19

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Exhibit Text Workshop from Halton Heritage Services

The next Haldimand Norfolk Cultural Association meeting is an Exhibit Text Workshop from Halton Heritage Services

REGISTER by end of day WED NOV 21!
contact Natalie at education@ruthvenpark.ca, 905-772-0560
When: Tuesday Nov. 27, 2018   9am – 4pm
Where: Ruthven Park National Historic Site, 243 Haldimand Hwy 54, Cayuga ON N0A1E0
Participants in this workshop will explore what makes good exhibit text and how to produce it. Working with Heritage Services staff, you will:
·         Discuss types of public-facing museum text, the types of museums in which they are found and how text is used in different kinds of museums;
·         Work through examples of museum text, evaluating strengths and weaknesses;
·         Review guidelines and principles for museum text, including word count, sentence and paragraph length, grammar, vocabulary and readability; and
·         both individually and in groups, practice writing and critiquing exhibit text.
There will be a cap on the number who can attend. The only charge is a $10 membership fee for non-members.
Contact Natalie at: education@ruthvenpark.ca, 905-772-0560

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Recap: HME Behind-the-Scenes at Museums of Mississauga

Yesterday HME visited the Museums of Mississauga's Benares Historic Home for an awesome Behind-the-Scenes tour lead by HME member Lindsay Doren. Thank you so much to Lindsay, Merri, and all the folks at Museums of Mississauga for hosting us!

Stay tuned in the coming days for details on our planning session for 2018-2019!