Hamilton museum project earns prestigious award for community engagement


Published December 6, 2021 at 2:16 pm

The Ontario Museum Association (OMA) has recognized a unique initiative by the City of Hamilton that has helped to ensure the future of museums in the city for years to come.

The Reimagine Our Museums program, developed by Hamilton Civic Museums and consulting firm Civicplan, was launched in 2019 and was a city-wide engagement project that elicited insight from thousands of residents about Hamilton’s museums and their place in the community.

Recently the OMA announced that the project has earned its distinguished Award of Excellence in Community engagement for its role in helping to steer the city’s museum into a sustainable future.

The project engaged more than 200 groups, among which included Indigenous groups, educational institutions, LGBTQ+ organizations, conservation and environmental organizations, youth and senior groups.

The engagement project included workshops, visitor and non-visitor surveys, exit interviews, community events, and focus groups and gave residents the opportunity to participate online.

“Reimagine Our Museums strengthened the City of Hamilton by creating a holistic and honest dialogue about the role of civic museums in the community,” said Donna Reid of the Hamilton Store in an OMA press release.

“This included everything from issues of representation in the exhibits to museum-specific operational issues that needed to be improved. The result is increased trust between the City and community as well as a stronger understanding of the community’s attitude, interest and support of the civic museums.”

The runner up in the Community Engagement category was the Niagara Falls History Museum which earned an honourable mention for The Poppy Project.

Hamilton Civic Museum’s ‘Reimagine’ campaign even earned the OMA’s WOW Distinction for being truly exceptional as it provided a “profound and impactful template for future strategic planning projects” for museums across the province.

The OMA Awards of Excellence are handed out annually to celebrate outstanding contributions and innovation in the Ontario museum community.

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