Ontario Museum Association

Ontario Museum Association

March 16, 2015 13:00 ET

Uniting to Safeguard Ontario's Cultural Property

BRANTFORD, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - March 16, 2015) - Six museums from across Ontario were selected by the Ontario Museum Association (OMA) and the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) to be part of a network of museums who, over one year, will work collaboratively to improve their collection storage areas: Timmins Museum: NEC in Timmins, The Museum on Tower Hill in Parry Sound, Norfolk Arts Centre in Simcoe, Clarington Museums in Bowmanville, Lambton Heritage Museum in Grand Bend, and The Collingwood Museum in Collingwood.

Next week, from 24-26 March, these museums will join forces to reorganize a storage area at the Brant Museum & Archives in Brantford, Ontario. This hands-on experience will then be applied in their own institutions over the next 6 months. Following the workshop, a sold-out conference entitled "RE-ORG Ontario: Adventures in Storage Reorganization" is being held at the Market Square Mall in Brantford on March 27th, where delegates from around Canada and abroad will exchange best practice in this area.

The workshop and conference in Brantford is part of a wider CCI program entitled "RE-ORG Canada", which aims to build professional and institutional capacity in storage reorganization by encouraging the creation of RE-ORG networks across Canada. Having gone through the process first-hand, museums in these regional networks will be able to advise other museums on how to improve their own storage conditions.

When storage is disorganized, museum collections are at higher risk of damage and loss, and it is all the more challenging to make them accessible to the public. Typically, about 95% of museum objects are housed in storage, so this is a significant problem for many Ontario museums.

"It is no secret that most museums struggle with providing adequate storage conditions - not only in Canada but all over the world… as much as two thirds of museums according to recent international surveys," says Simon Lambert, Preservation Development Advisor for CCI and coordinator of the event, "…and it is a significant problem because most museums are small- to medium-sized organizations with limited resources; it's the more crucial to provide tools that are adapted for their specific reality by maximizing existing space, equipment and human resources."

"The OMA is happy to be a partner in this initiative that provides practical solutions for Ontario museums while also contributing to the knowledge and best practice of the international museum community," says Marie Lalonde, Executive Director of the OMA.

The six selected Ontario museums will be using a new method called "RE-ORG," which was designed by ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property) and UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) as a step-by-step tool to help smaller museums tackle the reorganization of museum storage areas for better access, visibility and space efficiency. The method also ensures that adequate equipment and storage furniture is available, that the space is functional, and that all the necessary procedures are in place (available free online: http://www.re-org.info).

The Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) is a Special Operating Agency within the Department of Canadian Heritage, founded in 1972. Through its expertise in conservation science, treatment and preventive conservation, CCI's mission is to support heritage institutions and professionals in preserving Canada's heritage collections so they can be accessed by current and future generations. CCI's primary clients include approximately 2,000 heritage institutions in Canada such as museums, archives, libraries, and historic sites, as well as Canadian government departments and agencies with heritage collections.

The Ontario Museum Association (OMA) is a not-for-profit organization with more than 1,000 members with a mission to build capacity among individuals and institutions active in Ontario's museum sector. The OMA builds the capacity of the museum sector by enhancing sector position through community education and stakeholder relations, enabling organizational capacity-building, encouraging career and professional development, promoting membership networking and communications opportunities, and providing information and resources to the museum community. The OMA speaks for more than 700 Ontario museums, galleries, and historic sites, 10,000 professionals, and 16,000 volunteers who hold the collections of the province in trust for the people of Ontario.

ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property) is an intergovernmental organisation created by UNESCO in 1956 and established in Rome, Italy, in 1959. It is concerned with the conservation of both movable and immovable heritage all around the world. As of today ICCROM has 132 Member States. ICCROM aims at improving the quality of conservation as well as raising awareness about the importance of preserving cultural heritage. ICCROM contributes to preserving cultural heritage in the world today and for the future through five main areas of activity: training, information, research, co-operation and advocacy.

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN). Its purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through education, science, and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter. It is the heir of the League of Nations' International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation. UNESCO has 195 member states and nine associate members. Most of its field offices are "cluster" offices covering three or more countries; there are also national and regional offices.

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