Association Heritage New Brunswick Annual Report 2021-2022
The Association Heritage New Brunswick’s mission is to promote the conservation, preservation, interpretation, and appreciation of New Brunswick’s heritage resources. In December 2021, the Board of AHNB established a Strategic Planning Committee to begin the task of developing a new 3-year Strategic Plan.
In January a survey was developed and sent to the AHNB membership to learn what their goals and concerns were moving forward. Based on the survey results and following Board approval the following 3-year strategic plan is proposed.
AHNB Proposed 3-year Strategic Plan 2023 – 2025
AHNB’s proposed 3-yeara Strategic Plan has 4 pillars, each with specific goals. The actions to achieve the goals under the pillars will be affected based on resources.
Pillar 1 – Capacity-building (Institution)
1. Management – HR
2. Governance – Board Management
– Succession Planning / Training
– Volunteer and Membership Development
– HR Tool Kit
– Update Basic Museum Standards Manual
– Revenue Development / Fundraising
– Museum Accreditation Program – Museum Standards
Pillar 2 – Professional Development (Individual)
– Provide Workshops / Webinars based on membership needs
– 2022 in-person Conference
Pillar 3 – Communication
1. Marketing (Museums)
2. Public Awareness (Built Heritage)
3. Partnerships (Strategic Relationships)
– New Website
– Inventory Project
– NB Endangered Places List
– Culturally Responsive – A commitment to being agents of social change, ultimately working to remove all barriers, and creating conditions that benefit everyone.
Pillar 4 – Advocacy
1. Promotion of Sector / Value / Image
2. Relationship / 2 scheduled meetings a year
– Government Funding – Operational (Museums) & Staffing (AHNB)
– NB Cultural Policy
– Heritage Bi-laws / Review New Brunswick’s Heritage Conservation Act
– Built Heritage Rehabilitation (Government Programming)
1. In the past year, the Executive Director participated in meetings with the Dept. of Canadian Heritage, the Canadian Museums Association (CMA), and the Provincial and Territorial Museum Associations (PTMAs) to discuss issues facing museums across the country and share results from surveys that clearly demonstrate the value of community museums held by Canadians.
As a group we:
• Continue to urge the Dept. of Canadian Heritage to work with the CMA and the PTMAs on the new National Museum Policy.
• We continue to recommend the Dept. of Canadian Heritage expand the Museums Assistance Program to reach beyond collections-based activities.
• We continue to express our keen interest in working with the Dept. of Canadian Heritage to further enhance the vital role of museums, as they adapt to support the changing needs of their diverse communities.
Close to 60 Museums in NB received Federal Funding during the Pandemic through the following PCH grants:
The Emergency Funding
The Reopening Fund for Heritage Organizations
The Canada Arts and Culture Recovery Program
On behalf of AHNB members, Minister Rodriguez was sent a thank-you letter for his continued support of NB Museums through the additional funds made available over the past three years. We also thanked him for meeting with the PTMAs during the National Culture Summit in Ottawa to learn about the challenges facing museums across the county as they adapt to support the changing needs of their respective communities.
2. The Executive Director continues to work with the PTMAs on The Museums for Me Consortium. Year three of the three-year project to reinforce the importance of museums in the minds of governments, stakeholders, and the general public saw the development of a Logo, as well as a toolkit on Advocacy Policies & Guidelines which is being tested in select museums in Alberta. This toolkit will help museums that want to advocate for social issues in their community. The final Tool Kit will be translated and made available to museums across Canada in 2022/23.
3. The Executive Director continues to work with the CMA and the PTMAs on developing a National Reconciliation Program for Museums. The goal is to develop a toolkit for museums, based on community feedback, designed to help museums uphold the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in their work.
Over the past three years, many of the national, provincial, and territorial museum associations (NPTMAs) have seen a change in leadership, new strategic plans are being developed, and the COVID-19 years have altered how our organizations work and support members. Because the NPTMAs overlap in areas such as membership, programming, and advocacy, the NPTMAs are discussing mutually beneficial concepts for the future which could include national training strategies, joint advocacy calendars, shared staff, national mentorship programs, and joint conferences, to maximize our collective impact.
4. National Trust for Canada
The Association is one of the Heritage Reset Partners that is working with the National Trust for Canada and partners from across Canada, to redress and meet the challenges of a post-COVID world, by reflecting on the cultural diversity of Canada in the quest for reconciliation and equity, in reducing resource consumption and GHG emissions, and by providing the building blocks for a sustainable economic future.
In the past year, a national survey was done to uncover pertinent information to help the heritage movement to realign its priorities. The Heritage Reset is in its second phase to find shared values that will align Heritage with the public goals and interests in climate action, waste reduction, affordable housing, accessibility, social justice, and economic resilience.
1. The AHNB had a virtual meeting with the Minister, Tammy Scott-Wallace (THC), Deputy Minister, Yennah Hurley (THC), Shannon Ferris (Executive Director, Heritage and Museums Division), Brent Suttie, (Director, Heritage and Archaeological Services), and Anja Hamilton (Manager of Community Museums and Commemorations).
Objective: To discuss ongoing issues facing NB Museums and how to enhance built heritage preservation.
I. Sustainability for museums and built heritage.
• The Community Museums Summer Employment Program: Results – the number of weeks allotted was increased to 10 weeks in 2022.
• The Seniors Program: Results – The Department is aware that the Senior’s program is missed and is considering how SEED might include seniors working in the shoulder season.
• Review of Grant Programs – 60 Institutions/Societies receive funding from the province totaling approximately $1,117,500 annually. Although this funding is very much appreciated, expenditures continue to rise in all areas of museum operations, but provincial funding has not seen an increase in over 15 years. The federal funding received over the past two years is what kept NB Museums afloat.
• The Built Heritage Rehabilitation Program – We proposed that the maximum per project be increased to at least $50,000 due to the increases in building materials and restoration costs.
II. Increase knowledge of heritage buildings in relation to the environment, investment, and tourism.
• NB Culture Policy has not been reviewed/updated since 2014.
• Two employees at AHNB are required. One full-time person to focus on Museum initiatives and one full-time person to focus on Built Heritage initiatives moving forward.
III. Strategic Partnerships
• The province is consulting with THC and AHNB on implementing a Museum Evaluation Program. A one-year piolet initiative is being considered that may include the following six museum standards: 1) Governance and Innovation, 2) Finance, 3) Community and Visitor Focus, 4) Collections and Exhibits, 5) Stewardship, Culture, and Accessibility, 6) Social Justice, Inclusion, Reconciliation, and Environmental Sustainability.
2. The Executive Director attended a Pre-Budget Consultation with the Hon. Ernie Steeves. Some of the issues we addressed were as follows: 1) The need to address the digital skills shortages within the sector and improve digital access beyond large municipal areas, which would enable museums to supply teachers, students, and the community with valuable cultural content; 2) Ensure that public support for COVID-19 relief does not exclude museums and non-profits due to their non-traditional business models and employment contracts, and 3) Consider tax incentives for corporate and individual donations to promote investments in the sector.
3. Again, this year letters were sent to Premier Higgs urging him to commit to saving our remaining Covered Bridges. The Starkey Bridge in Queens County and the William Mitton Covered Bridge in Riverview were highlighted.
4. AHNB’s Heritage Project Coordinator, Erin Jeffreys completed a summary document of all the heritage by-laws and municipal plans currently in NB. This was necessary for further analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of heritage protections in the province and to initiate a comparison with other parts of Canada and the US.
Her document, The NB Municipal By-Laws Related to Heritage Preservation, will give a province-wide perspective that might be helpful to those who are reviewing their current heritage bylaws. AHNB (Erin) is currently working on a submission to the City of Fredericton as it prepares to review its heritage program.
HERITAGE EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
1. Our 2021 Virtual Annual Conference saw 75 member institutions attend our annual AGM and Conference. We extend our appreciation to Jeanne-Mance Cormier, Lawren Campbell, Dominique Gélinas, and Kellie Blue for their excellent work on the Conference Program.
2. A Tips and Tricks Webinar on how to successfully fill out the YCW grant application was offered to our members.
3. We also held 2, two-day CCI workshops and four informative webinars that were free to AHNB Members.
• CCI Workshop: BUG BITES, CCI Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Webinar.
• CCI Workshop: Photography on a Dime: Thrifty Tools and Free Software for Heritage Professionals.
Module 1 – The CCI instructors highlighted valuable open-source software programs and demonstrate their key features for editing cultural heritage images.
Module 2 – The CCI instructors shared ideas on how to fabricate studio equipment from common household items when working with a small budget.
4. Four webinars in both official languages: 1) Best Practices: Registration of Museum Collections, 2) Making Use of One’s Collection to Create Good Public Programming, 3) Preventative Conservation for Museum Collections, and 4) Best Practices: Public Engagement for Today’s Museums.
These webinars are possible due to the financial support from the Department of Canadian Heritage’s MAP program. These webinars have been added to our previous list of 18 educational webinars found on our website.
5. The AHNB continues to work with the province to implement a Museum Evaluation Program and consultations were done with the Zones on how the Museum Evaluation Program might work in NB.
• Guidelines and Standards, or Benchmarks will possibly be subdivided into 6 sections: 1) Aim, Governance & Innovation; 2) Finance; 3) Community and Visitor Focused; 3) Collections & Exhibits; 5) Stewardship, Culture & Accessibility; 6) Social Justice, Inclusion, Reconciliation & Sustainability.
• An Accreditation Committee (Evaluators/Mentors/Consultants) will provide museums with their recommendations.
• The Accreditation process will be at a pace comfortable for museum staff; can be achieved over a period of years or in incremental steps.
• Museums to volunteer for a trial run in the first year.
6. Our heritage education efforts continued this year during our 5th annual Love Your Covered Bridges Days campaign. The annual event attracted several communities who wanted to participate in our campaign and showcase their communities covered bridge. The covered bridges that participated this year were Sawmill Creek, Darlings Island, and the Hartland Covered Bridge. Our Facebook campaign reached 11,940 people.
Other initiatives of the AHNB:
TOP TEN ENDANGERED PLACES LIST – The nomination-based program to bring attention to at-risk historic sites in NB is now ready to be launched. The project framework, the set of criteria, and the nomination forms are now complete.
DIRECTORY OF EXPERTISE AND MATERIALS – We are currently revamping our directory of professionals and tradespeople.
INVENTORY – The intern hired through the National Trust for Canada’s Young Canada Works at Building Careers in Heritage Program, signed a one-year contract with AHNB at the end of her 28 weeks. Erin is our Heritage Project Coordinator who has done excellent work including adding numerous properties to our database. Erin also worked with a student hired through UNB for the summer months who researched and added the town of Grand Falls to our database.
1) Province of New Brunswick, Department Tourism, Culture and Heritage – Annual Operations Grant for 2022 – $90,000
2) Student Intern through the Office of Experiential Education at UNB – Communications Assistant $6,474.33
3) Professional and Organizational Development in Museology Program – To attend CMA’s Virtual Conference $125
4) Professional and Organizational Development in Museology Program – To attend “Patrimoine et territoire, une approche synthétisée” and “Patrimoine et territoire, une approche intégrée” (“Heritage and territory, a synthesized approach” and “Heritage and territory, an integrated approach”) $287.00
Kellie was re-elected to the TIANB Board for another 2-year term at their first in-person conference in Fredericton last Fall. Projects TIANB has completed this year include: 1) the production of four new bilingual videos that showcase employment opportunities for youth and seniors in the industry. The footage highlights people of all ages and abilities from lifeguards to tour guides in locations such as aquariums, museums, and outdoor adventure locations. 2) TIANB updated its vision, mandate, mission, and tagline, and 3) TIANB hired a new CEO named Andrew McNair, who has 18 years of association management experience.
COLLECTIVE ACCESS DATABASE
37 NB Museums are currently using CollectiveAccess. The issues with last year’s support forum are being addressed as we move forward. Also, THC and the AHNB are looking at upgrading the CollectiveAccess database server space in the fall of 2022 and improving the overall performance of the site.
MUSEUM ZONES – Stingray Digital Marketing Proposal for NB Museums
Our plan to expand the NB Museum Summer Ad Campaign through Stingray Advertising, Social Media pop-up ads, and Facebook Posts was very successful in 2022. The Stingray Digital Marketing Proposal had 285 thousand impressions in its first three weeks and our website saw an increase of 341.6% in visits, and a 75.8% increase in website searches over July of 2021. Our Google Page saw an increase of 46% in July over June. Our Facebook Ads that ran in July and August reached over 90,000 people and had over 4,000 link clicks.
The Zones that participated were the Miramichi, Central, Saint John Fundy, and Madawaska.
Shawna our summer student did weekly posts on each Zone throughout the summer, and Erin did daily posts on different heritage sites during Historic Places Days which attracted numerous inquiries and several good comments including, “Wow! Thanks for this overview! I’m so excited to be in New Brunswick this month and will try to experience as many of these places as I can!”
The ongoing work of our Association continues through grant applications, reports, communications, and assistance to our members. The AHNB is sustained by the work and contributions of many people. We would like to thank everyone who volunteers to serve on the Board as well as our volunteers who help to keep us moving forward. A special thank you to the 2022 Conference Committee, Sophie Auffrey, Kellie Blue, Lawren Campbell, Dominique Gélinas, Sophie Mallet, and the committee chair, Jeanne-Mance Cormier. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Evelyn Fidler for her dedication and hard work over the past six years as our AHNB Board Secretary and committee chair for the Strategic Planning Committee and the Museum Steering Committee. We regret her term has come to an end, but we are pleased she will continue to be one of our volunteers.
Gerry Gillcash, President
Kellie Blue-McQuade, Executive Director