Ontario Museum Association

Ontario Museum Association

May 01, 2009 16:05 ET

Ontario Museum Association's 10th Annual "May Is Museum Month" Event Celebrates the Museums' Role in Building Vibrant Communities; Launch May 5th at Queen's Park

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 1, 2009) - This year, the ONTARIO MUSEUM ASSOCIATION (OMA)'s 10th May is Museum Month campaign celebrates the role of museums in creating and sustaining vibrant communities all across Ontario. Beginning with a Museums' Day launch at Queen's Park on May 5th, the annual awareness campaign will continue throughout the month with special exhibits and events at museums in every corner of the province.

"Ontario museums are at the heart of our communities," comments Marie Lalonde, Executive Director of the Ontario Museum Association, the advocacy voice for over 650 Ontario community museums. "We attract tourists, we educate, we improve quality of life - and we contribute considerably to the economic health of the province.

"There is also a desire for cultural enrichment in our modern communities," Lalonde continues, "and museums and galleries are uniquely positioned to provide it." She cites the tremendous success of the recently introduced SunLife Museums + Arts Pass program in Toronto, in which a museum pass may be borrowed at all 99 Toronto Public libraries. "People line up every Monday morning for a chance to borrow the museum passes!" she reports. A similar museum pass program has been an overwhelming success in Ottawa for several years. Another successful initiative offers new Canadians a Cultural Access Pass as soon as they become citizens. The pass gives them free access to museums of all types, to help them connect to, and learn about Canadian culture.

In fact, the modern community museum does more than offer culture - it reaches out to groups in the community and helps give them a cultural voice. For example, Scarborough Museum offers mentoring programs in art and drama to youth at risk, and then hires these same young people for summer work. A new program piloted in Waterloo uses the artefacts and photographs in local museums to help create "memory connections" for those with dementia or Alzheimer's. MuseoParc Vanier brings on volunteers with special needs and helps builds their confidence to enter the work-place; and involved a local First Nations group in creating a documentary about a Metis woman's experiences, which will be shown at Expo2010 in Shanghai.

The Markham Museum partners with cultural groups to develop permanent exhibits of the many "settlers" who moved to Markham over the years - Italian, Slovak, Southeast Asian and Chinese. By framing their experience as settlers in a new environment, the museum hopes to develop a deeper level of understanding amongst the groups. The museum is even working on building a community garden which will be co-managed by dozens of cultural groups. "The response has been overwhelming," says Cathy Molloy, Curator of the Markham Museum. "Everyone wants to be a part of this."

May is Museum Month continues throughout May all around the province with special events and exhibits open to the public.

Building on International Museum Day which is celebrated globally on Monday, May 18th, 2009, May is Museum Month celebrates and brings awareness to the 650-plus museums, historic sites and art galleries all across Ontario. These sites are a rich educational resource for a fascinating range of subjects, including agriculture, medicine, broadcasting, mining, sports, science - even cheese & shoes. Each site also tells the stories of the people who built and are building this province - heroes, inventors, First Nations leaders. They also celebrate and preserve our diverse cultural heritage, and help foster mutual understanding, cooperation and peace amongst the peoples of this province.

For ongoing updates about May is Museum Month activities and discounts, visit the website at http://www.museumsontario.com/mmweb/ or call 1-800-ONTARIO.

The ONTARIO MUSEUM ASSOCIATION is a non-profit association of Ontario museums, historic sites and art galleries and their employees and volunteers, as well as companies and individuals serving the heritage industry. For over 35 years, the Association has promoted museums and advanced the standards of professionalism for museum workers throughout Ontario.



MAY IS MUSEUM MONTH 2009 IS PRESENTED WITH THE HELP
OF THE FOLLOWING PARTNERS:

National Gallery of Canada
Canadian War Museum
Canadian Museum of Civilization
Virtual Museum of Canada (VMC)
Royal Ontario Museum
Ontario Heritage Trust
Canadian Museum of Nature
The Bata Shoe Museum
Art Gallery of Ontario
Tourism Hamilton
Region of Waterloo Museums
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
Textile Museum of Canada
Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA)
London Regional Children's Museum
Museums of Niagara Association (MONA)
Waterloo-Wellington Museums and Art Galleries
Black Creek Pioneer Village
Ontario Ministry of Culture
The Globe and Mail


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