Photos — Royal British Columbia Museum’s lobby. Courtesy of the Museum.

In this issue 

Disaster preparedness is something Muse magazine has covered more than a few times over the years. When it seemed like the entire province of Alberta was sinking, we presented articles about flooding. Last year’s fire at the Museu Nacional in Brazil encouraged us to present insights on how to prepare your own museum for a similar disaster.  

What we never thought to consider was a pandemic of this scale, but here it is and here we are. There is something markedly different when writing about the pandemic though, because it is something so global, affecting everyone in the world, but often in uniquely different ways.  

A large amount of effort by museums associations, by governments and by the media has gone into providing important and practical content for dealing with this crisis. Given the very dynamic nature of the situation and the nature of this publication, that is not what we are tackling here. 

In this issue, rather, we spend some time focusing on the paradigm shift that such an all-encompassing event can demand and represent. When the ground moves beneath us, how will we all respond and adapt to a new normal and what might that look like?  

An in-museum experience can never be replaced, but it’s clear that greater, more strategic digital needs to be part of the future. We have enjoyed putting some of the spotlight on you, here, with an extended print edition of Museums at home, which we developed to showcase and house the digital projects of Canadian museums. 

Also on the digital front, we offer pieces from both Myseum, a very unique museum without walls, and the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective, both of which inspire us to take advantage of technological tools where possible as a means of thoughtfully engaging with communities.  

We share with you some thoughts on the way forward and beyond COVID-19 from our Executive Director, Vanda Vitali, Ph.D. We also hear from both emerging professionals, in an article entitled Museums’ futures discuss the future of museums, and from a handful of seasoned museum professionals in our Fellow’s Corner. And, in case you missed it, we provide a few highlights from our first-ever virtual conference, Museums Together, a moment of collaboration and connection among colleagues and networks, and certainly a signal of more partnerships to come.  

There is no question the pandemic has had — and will continue to have — an impact on our sector. Predictions regarding the severity are troubling and we, along with our partners, are pressing for much needed support to help you weather the crisis. At the same time, this moment (a historic one, indeed) can help nudge us toward new or different ways of doing things. Who better than museums to reflect on a moment in order to improve the future?  

We hope this issue of Muse helps you and your museum with some of that reflection and, as always, we welcome your input and ideas.   

Stay safe, 

Rebecca MacKenzie 
Communications Manager, Canadian Museums Association