A great museum builds community. It creates shared experiences and preserves collective memory. It invites us to explore our sense of place and identity. It invites people to participate, create, and discover new things and make unexpected connections. Join us as the Canmore Museum embarks on the journey of becoming the museum of the future … today.

A Fresh Approach

We know that the more an organization is representative OF its community, the more people feel seen and heard. The more programming is created BY the community, the more people feel ownership. The more programming is FOR the community, the more everyone wants to participate.

A Museum That Connects With Our Community More Authentically, More Effectively.

In re-imagining how to connect with our local community more authentically and more effectively, we quickly realized we needed to adopt new ways of engaging with our members, our community and our visitors. We have adopted a relatively new and innovative approach called the Social Museum, creating a museum where our community and visitors can come to create, share and connect in ways that are:

  • Representative OF our community.
  • Co-created BY our community.
  • Welcoming FOR ALL of our community.

The Canmore Museum Board and staff are deeply committed to the work of community building through culture and museums, and to bridging diverse communities together to strengthen our larger community, with a focus on equity, diversity and inclusion.  This includes a commitment to working towards Truth and Reconciliation with neighbouring Treaty 7 Indigenous communities.

This is a journey, one that needs to taken thoughtfully and that engages the many diverse communities which make up Canmore.

We ask that you hold us accountable as we take this journey.  We have recently joined the OF/BY/FOR ALL Change Network to provide our Board and staff with the tools to be effective in working with diverse communities.  Read our From The Raven’s Nest blog for regular updates.

The Canmore Museum team has long been fans of Nina Simone’s approach to community and museums. We got acquainted her approach to making museums more relevant to their communities through her Community Museum 2.0 blog and devoured her books, The Participatory Museum and The Art of Relevance. To help coach museums and other cultural organizations in becoming more locally inclusive, participatory, and relevant, Nina started the OF/BY/FOR ALL Change Network, which the Canmore Museum joined in April 2021. Watch the video above to better understand the approach the Canmore Museum will be taking in connecting more authentically with our local community.

NINA SIMON has been described as a “museum visionary” by Smithsonian Magazine for her community-centered approach to design. She is the Spacemaker and CEO of OF/BY/FOR ALL, a movement to build more inclusive community organizations. From 2011-2019, she was the Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, leading a dramatic institutional turnaround. She has consulted with hundreds of international museums, libraries, parks, historic sites, art and cultural centers on issues of relevance, community engagement, and participatory design. Nina is the best-selling author of The Participatory Museum and the popular Museum 2.0 blog. Her work has been shared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, NPR, and TEDx.

Focusing Our Work In Four Areas

Re-imagining how to connect more authentically with our community has resulted in numerous community-driven changes which now focus our work on bringing people together around local art, culture, heritage and places to build a stronger, more connected community. The Canmore Museum now engages our community in four areas.


The Canmore Museum will help build a stronger and more connected community by bringing together people from all walks of life around local art, culture, heritage and places in unexpected ways which foster dialogue and deepen social connections.


Place is everywhere. In large and small ways, it is significant in how we make meaning of the world and within our lives. Place is where we come from, where we feel alive, where we connect with others and where we feel we belong. Connections to Canmore and the Bow Valley are personal, anywhere and every day. The Canmore Museum will build deeper connections with local places and the stories they hold.


The Canmore Museum will deepen connections to the inter-connected web of over 10,000 years of human history told through multiple perspectives. These stories are shared verbally, in writing, through art, through documents and records, through objects, through places and through digital storytelling and future innovation that allows individuals to find their connections to Canmore and the Bow Valley.


Canmore places high value on its sense of community, strong community identity, and on environmental sustainability. In partnering with other community organizations and local government to help foster community and environmental sustainability, the Canmore Museum will strengthen its own organizational vitality, identity and sustainability.

Taking The Journey … Together

As a community cultural and social agency seeking to address community needs and issues, the Canmore Museum is adopting the following principles as it works to build a stronger, more connected community through arts, culture, heritage and place. We are accountable to you – our community – to act in the following manner as we become the re-imagined Canmore Museum.


The Canmore Museum acknowledges that our role as a community centre includes a social contract with, and responsibility to, the people of our region. We wholeheartedly embrace the importance of our roles in the artis, culture, heritage and general society with a focus on helping build a stronger, more connected community.


The Canmore Museum embraces a participatory approach to community engagement by offering every visitor and member of the community a legitimate way to contribute to the institution. We want everyone to be able to share things of interest, connect with other people and feel like an engaged and respected participant as they do so.


The Canmore Museum embraces organizational change and is actively pursuing the transformation into a learning institution. Each of us individually and as an organization commit to growing in our understanding of community and how to be more equitable, support greater diversity, and be more inclusive in how we engage with our community and our visitors.


The Canmore Museum desires to establish long-term relationships and respectful and equitable partnerships with other community groups seeking to strategically build community and address community issues and needs.


As an organization, we will act in a manner that addresses and enhances the sustainability of our community and our natural, built and cultural landscapes. We pledge to raise public awareness and support research and knowledge creation to contribute to the well-being of the planet and societies for future generations.


The Canmore Museum embraces a “beyond the four walls” and the “community as museum” approach. Our museum building will become a community hub and a site for the museum’s indoor activities, but we will also engage with our audiences elsewhere in the region as need and opportunity arises.


In adopting a “community as museum” or an open or living museum approach, the Canmore Museum takes on a responsibility for the community’s heritage in a far more wholistic sense by:

  • Extending our duty of care beyond Canmore’s tangible and intangible heritage to include Canmore’s natural, cultural and built landscapes and heritage by promoting an integrated approach to the protection and valorization of heritage in situ.
  • Our work in heritage is intrinsically tied to Canmore’s broader cultural and economic development strategies where the work of placemaking plays a vital role in developing and promoting Canmore as a quality place to live, work and recreate.

An Invitation to Participate

With the Canmore Museum Re-Imagined Strategy, we are re-building the museum from the inside out. We are inviting our community to join us as active participants in this journey – this is your community museum. There are four ways you can get involved …


Become part of a community that ignites new experiences and unexpected opportunities to connect around local art, history, culture, and landscapes every day. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter, Canmore Connections, and discover new and exciting ways to connect more deeply with your community today.


Our members represent a community of people inspired by the rugged Canadian Rocky Mountain landscape that surrounds us and the culture, language and traditions of those that have called this place home. When you invest in a membership, they are taking an active role in supporting arts and culture in our community.


Join us as a creator and help us deepen connections to the inter-connected web of over 10,000 years of human history. By sharing your story, ideas, creativity and perspectives verbally, in writing, through art, through places and through digital storytelling, you help others deepen their personal connections to Canmore.


Much of the new work that the Canmore Museum is undertaking is being funded by donatons to our Innovation Fund. We invite you to help us spark new ways of connecting with our community by making a donation to the Innovation Fund online today. Whether it’s a one-time gift or a recurring donation, your support is greatly appreciated.

Document + Media Centre


Watch this 30 minute presentation to learn more about the Social Museum model we have adopted, the strategic direction we are taking, and some of the projects the Canmore Museum will be implmenting over the next four years.

Watch Now


Join our panel of internationally-recognized cultural sector thought leaders – Gail Lord, Maddie Taylor and Doug Worts with an introduction by Stoney Nakoda Elder John Snow – as we explore the evolving role of community museums.

Watch Now


We are very grateful to our three On the Table presenters for sharing their presentation resources with our local community and the wider cultural sector.


As part of the Canmore Museum Re-Imagined launch event, we released several statements about the direction we are taking for the media.

Rick Green


"Since 1998, I have been an advocate and a strong financial supporter of the Canmore Museum.  I am very pleased and proud with how the Museum has progressed over the last few years.  I feel that the Museum is a very worthwhile facility to lend my support."
Susan Suttie


"to gift my skills back to my community. Working in the NWMP Barracks garden and greeting visitors, local and tourist, is a profound joy to me. Taking pride and ownership of a small little piece of Canmore’s history has been deeply rewarding.."