16:00 — 17:30
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Over the last year the Canmore Museum has engaged in many conversations about what its role is and should be in the community. Join us as we examine the role museums should play in speaking about and acting on issues that affect the communities they serve, framed around the book Museum Activism.


Only a decade ago, the notion that museums, galleries and heritage organisations might engage in activist practice, with explicit intent to act upon inequalities, injustices and environmental crises, was met with scepticism and often derision. Seeking to purposefully bring about social change was viewed by many within and beyond the museum community as inappropriately political and antithetical to fundamental professional values. Today, although the idea remains controversial, the way we think about the roles and responsibilities of museums as knowledge based, social institutions is changing. Museum Activism examines the increasing significance of this activist trend in thinking and practice.

At this crucial time in the evolution of museum thinking and practice, this ground-breaking volume brings together more than fifty contributors working across six continents to explore, analyse and critically reflect upon the museum’s relationship to activism. Including contributions from practitioners, artists, activists and researchers, this wide-ranging examination of new and divergent expressions of the inherent power of museums as forces for good, and as activists in civil society, aims to encourage further experimentation and enrich the debate in this nascent and uncertain field of museum practice.

Museum Activism elucidates the largely untapped potential for museums as key intellectual and civic resources to address inequalities, injustice and environmental challenges. This makes the book essential reading for scholars and students of museum and heritage studies, gallery studies, arts and heritage management, and politics. It will be a source of inspiration to museum practitioners and museum leaders around the globe.


Robert R. Janes is the Editor-in-Chief of Museum Management and Curatorship, a Visiting Research Fellow at the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester (UK), an Adjunct Professor of Archaeology at the University of Calgary, Canada, and the former President and CEO of the Glenbow Museum (1989–2000). His museum books include Museums and the Paradox of Change (1995; 1997), Looking Reality in the Eye: Museums and Social Responsibility (with Gerald T. Conaty – 2005), Museum Management and Marketing (with Richard Sandell – 2007), and Museums in a Troubled World (2009). Janes has worked in and around museums for 36 years as a director, consultant, author, editor, archaeologist, board member, teacher and volunteer. He continues to champion museums as important social institutions – capable of making a difference in the lives of individuals and their global communities.


January 13
16:00 - 17:30
Event Category:
Canmore Museum
(403) 678-2462
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