Strategic Plan

The Association of Nova Scotia Museums (ANSM) is a registered non-profit organisation. Originally established in 1976 as the Federation of Museums, Heritage and Historical Societies, the name was changed to Federation of Nova Scotia Heritage in 1982. In 2007, to underscore the organisation’s refined focus on the province’s museum sector, the organisation assumed its current name – the Association of Nova Scotia Museums.

Land Acknowledgement and Commitment:

The Association of Nova Scotia Museums (ANSM) is located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq. We extend our appreciation for the opportunity to live and learn on this territory in mutual respect and gratitude.

ANSM is a members-based organization that supports museums throughout the province. Due to historical and systemic biases, museums do not currently represent the experience of all Nova Scotians. The loss of language and the colonization of cultural identity, including Mi’kmaq, African Nova Scotian, Acadian, and Gaelic communities, has resulted in incomplete and inaccurate representations of cultural groups.

Narratives relating to Indigenous peoples, Nova Scotia as the birthplace of African presence in Canada for over 400 years, including enslavement and abolition, and the role of women, people of colour, LGBTQ2S+ people, and recent refugees and immigrants have not been adequately represented or made accessible.

We—ANSM, museums, and the greater heritage community—are actively addressing these challenges together. ANSM is using our training, resources, tools such as NovaMuse, and programs like TRACK, to work towards the inclusion of these stories in partnership with communities. We are creating spaces and collections in which all Nova Scotians will see their reflection.

Our Purpose:

To nurture excellence in and champion on behalf of museums in Nova Scotia.

Our Vision:

ANSM is a vibrant not-for-profit organization led by our members. We are a national leader in the museum community that collaborates with many and diverse partners to provide relevant and engaging services that strengthen museums. We celebrate that museums in Nova Scotia are ever-changing. They reflect and are actively engaged in their communities, are environmentally and financially sustainable, and operate according to professional standards. Our natural and cultural history becomes inspiration for a better tomorrow.

Our Values:

The following values underpin what ANSM does and how we work:

• Service – meet the needs of member museums so that together we can meet the needs of communities.
• Advocacy – act as a champion on behalf of and raise awareness about museums in Nova Scotia.
• Collaboration – engage in activities with local, provincial, national, and international partners that benefit our members and the museum sector.
• Inclusivity – recognize historical and systemic practices in museums, decolonize these practices, and work with museums and equity-deserving groups to find appropriate solutions.
• Sustainability – operate in environmentally responsible ways and work to ensure that ANSM and member museums have the resources they need to serve their communities.

Key Issues for the Next Three Years:

The goals and objectives of this strategic plan have been identified with the following key issues in mind:

  • Transition: Between 2021 and 2024 the ANSM board and staff have and will experience several significant changes, including three Executive Directors and two Presidents during this period. Several ANSM core services are also transitioning, such as the Museum Evaluation Program becoming TRACK. This plan is developed to reflect ANSM’s need to reorganize and rebuild.
  • Realistic Expectations: ANSM is a small organization that does the work of a much larger one. To reduce burnout, this plan will focus on being feasible and realistic, and focuses on the actual resources available to ANSM. The plan will also reflect the actual work being done by ANSM as well as opportunities and potential refinements. ANSM will need to improve communication with members and partners, so everyone understands the changes being made.
  • Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility (EDIA): ANSM is prioritizing EDIA in its programs and operations, as stated in the land acknowledgement and commitment statement (see foundation statements). ANSM recognizes that its members all have different levels of readiness for EDIA and will support members on their learning journeys. As part of prioritizing EDIA, ANSM will work to incorporate the Canadian Museums Association’s Moved to Action: Activating UNDRIP in Museums report. This plan will lay the groundwork for ANSM to do more EDIA in future strategic plans, including building new partnerships with equity deserving groups.

Strategic Goals:

The 2023-2025 period will focus on four key areas.

  1. Services – ANSM will continue to deliver key programs while refining offerings to ensure they are accessible and responsive to the current and future needs of members AND are offered within ANSM’s actual human and financial resources.
  2. Build Capacity – ANSM will ensure the staff and board are structured, skilled, supported, and resourced to effectively operate ANSM, including restructuring staffing, hiring a new executive director, and developing the board.
  3. Bridging – ANSM will continue to act as the voice of our members. We will work to both build and maintain bridges with and between museums and communities. This will include improved communications and utilizing ANSM services for bridging opportunities.
  4. Financial – ANSM will operate within its current financial reality and explore new funding opportunities to establish a diversified, stable base of funding that will allow ANSM to improve services, build more capacity, and strengthen bridging.

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