Reconsidering Museums developed a new value proposition for museums to help reframe their role and value in contemporary Canada. This value proposition is based on what Canadians shared in Museums for Me and the future of museums in Canadian society.

The value proposition developed is titled "Our Museums: Collecting Perspectives". It includes seven entry points museums can use to frame their work within the overall theme. Data from Museums for Me is integrated into the value proposition to illustrate the point and is expanded upon in the supporting fact sheets.

Collecting Perspectives Graphic: a museum interpreter speaks to two visitors

Our Museums: Collecting Perspectives

We value museums because they make sense of the world around us. They collect our tangible and intangible heritage and invite us to share in the many stories they help tell. Their collections broaden, inspire, and facilitate a shift in our thinking, but the most important work of museums is in collecting perspectives: in showing us how our stories are told.

Here are some data highlights to support Collecting Perspectives:

  • 95% of respondents agree that the museum is a place to preserve and care for art and objects, and to tell their stories
  • 93% of respondents agree that museums spark curiosity, provoke wonder, and promote creativity, and a ‘love of learning’
  • 93% of respondents agree that museums help them understand other cultures and communities
  • 88% of respondents agree that museums give us information and perspective on important cultural and social issues

“[Museums are] a place to bring people together... It's so important to have places like this where people can learn and engage with each other by discussing what they see. It helps bring better understanding of your community and the people in it.”

“[Museums] can take me beyond my own experience of life and help me understand other perspectives.”

“The walls of the museum should be porous - allow ideas to flow in and out. When a community views the museum as 'their' place then you have made progress.”

-        Survey Respondents

Museums are more than collectors of art and objects; they collect perspectives in order to collaborate with their communities, learn from each other, amplify diverse voices, communicate a message, advocate towards justice in their communities, activate their visitors to take action, and ultimately inspire change.

Museums collect perspectives to...


Museums need their community. Community access, engagement, and collaboration are foundational for responsible museum work. As the production, distribution, and control of information continues to shift, museums are no longer the sole holder of knowledge. By collaborating with and empowering communities, museums show that they value collective expertise rather than attempting to maintain ownership of our shared cultural narratives.


Museums are learners too. Museums encourage lifelong learning for their visitors and themselves. Through an openness to growing, adapting, and revising, museums acknowledge multiple ways of knowing and build a reciprocal relationship with their community. Our stories are always evolving, and our understanding and interpretation of those stories must evolve as well.


Museums provide a platform. As trusted public institutions, museums are in a position to amplify the voices of their community. By giving voice to and centering diverse community perspectives, museums can see themselves as conduits of ideas rather than the source. Representation of the community leads to increased community relevance.


Museums have something to say. Canadians trust museums to tell the truth about our shared history. Museums are a place for dialogic learning. Ideas are communicated openly with the goal of creating dialogue that leads to empathy and mutual understanding. Museums can be civic spaces for productive and respectful discourse at a time when seemingly irreconcilable points of view dominate our daily lives.


Museums take a stand. Museums can be credible advocates for causes that are aligned with their mission. By supporting mission-centric causes, museums can live out their values and effect meaningful social change in their communities.


Museums encourage participation. Museums are active and playful spaces, where visitor interaction and creativity are encouraged. Visitors should be encouraged to engage with perspectives at the museum, while also being inspired to contribute their own. A museum is also a school for the senses, where visitors can connect with their tactile, sensory, and emotional sides. Museums can surprise, delight, and astonish visitors by the many meanings, connections, and sensations they provoke.


Museums inspire change. A visit to a museum should change the way you see the world around you.

A Venn Diagram showcasing the overlap between the above verbs and the three data themes: Access, Activism, and Authority.

We have developed fact sheets to support museums in moving towards these actions. These fact sheets provide specific data points and quotes from survey respondents in relation to the changing role and value of museums. 

Use these data points to strengthen how you speak about the role and value of museums today. Access the fact sheets below:

Last modified: Thursday, 2 March 2023, 10:29 PM