The Comox Air Force Museum (CAFM) is a member in good standing of the Canadian Museums Association (CMA) and we receive copies of their excellent magazine: “Muse: The Voice of Canada’s Museum Community”. This magazine serves to remind us that we do is important, but is also part of something very big.

In the January 2017 issue they published data produced by the Government of Canada Survey of Heritage Institutions: 2015. The data showed that in the survey year (2013) almost 62 million people visited a Canadian Heritage Institution. This was sub-divided into Archives (2.7 million), Art Galleries (11 million), Zoos and Gardens (11.2 million), Historic Sites (11.8 million) and Museums (25 million). This was a net increase of 10% over 2011: wow!  By comparison, the annual attendance at Canadian NHL games is 2.5 million.

So what? Here’s what: those numbers show that what we do at heritage institutions matters, and it matters to a lot of people. When people want information, insights and inspirations they, and their families and friends, visit a heritage institution.

Our volunteers and staff know that what they do is important: and they conduct themselves accordingly. We bear this in mind during our daily operations, where we take great pride in providing, in fact ensuring, a high-quality visitor experience. As we design and install new displays we are concerned that they are accurate, complete and appropriate to the full range of ages and educations of our visitors. Behind the scenes our collections management team knows that they are protecting and preserving our history. Our outreach team, at events, classrooms, history fairs and in social media again strives for the highest standards.

Museums usually look back, but looking forward as we celebrate Canadas’s sesquicentennial we can be confident that what we do is important, and that we are part of something very big.

** Special thanks to Jon Ambler, Programme Manager and Volunteer Coordinator for this post!