Vancouver 2012

City Museums: Collisions, Connections

24-27 October 2012

Our conference was hosted by the Museum of Vancouver

The conference programme can be downloaded here.

City Museums: Collisions, Connections

The conference brought people together to talk about how city museums are reconsidering their role in civic life due to the enormous pressure they face in terms of aging infrastructure, the need for urban regeneration, economic and environmental crises, and social issues such demographic shifts, global diasporas, and increasing immigrant and urban Aboriginal populations. The conference looked at city museums under development, urban/suburban city museums, and city museums in large and small cities. Under the wider rubric of the conference theme, sub-topics included:

  • Defining the 21st century city museum: the changing role of the city museum today
  • City museum as urban forum and dialogue centre
  • City museum as agency for urban development
  • City museums and city branding

Cities and museums: collisions/connections/contemporary expectations

  • Measuring the social value of city museums: inspirations and challenges. In times of financial instability, museums need to prove their social value as collection repositories, as contact zones between people and communities, as educational resources for society at large, as boosters for the cultural and tourist industry, as generators of powerful multi-sensory experiences, as agents of social harmony and stability
  • Furthering understanding and fostering social cohesion and connections among people (immigrants/migrants, long-term residents & Aboriginal communities)
  • Changing demographics in today’s cities, ensuring the present and future relevance of city museums by changing whose stories are collected and told, and how museums work with communities
  • Contributing to community development and well-being: engaging in issues such as literacy, poverty, youth at risk, etc.
  • Reducing isolation in communities: creating a sense of place & identity
  • Providing economic impact: how effective are city museums becoming destinations and revitalizing downtown cores?
  • Understanding the impact of new museum roles on museum staff
  • Inviting museum professional to consider how city museums either learn from, or offer a model for, other urban museums in their changing relationships to their urban setting

CAMOC was pleased to have international consultant Larry Beasley, one of the world’s best urban planners, as a keynote speaker. The former Director of Planning for the City of Vancouver, Beasley led the revitalization of neighborhoods, a strong heritage preservation program, and the city’s urban design studio.