Many historic sites open to the public are at a crossroads, faced with limited government funding, major capital costs and increased competition from more dynamic attractions. They must re-invent themselves or face decline. Groups trying to save a beloved historic place by opening it to the public are faced with an uphill battle to convince potential partners of its viability.

This workshop will explore creative new operational models being implemented in Canada and the United States, and will engage participants in exercises that demonstrate how their historic site can be transformed into a valued actor in the social and commercial fabric of their community.

Date: Thursday, October 20, 2016  

Time: 9:00 am – 4:00pm  

Location: Dundurn Castle, 610 York Blvd, Hamilton

Who Should Attend?

  • Operators, board members and volunteers of not-for-profit historic sites that are open to the public
  • Anyone considering saving an historic place by converting it to a museum
  • Cultural planners

Workshop Outline:

Section I: W(h)ither the Historic Site?  

What are the challenges and opportunities of operating an historic place in 2016?  What do the trends seen at historic places tell us about the challenges they face?

Section II: New Models, New Opportunities

Imagining the possibilities for regenerating your historic place takes creativity and courage.  What new models have been successful in adapting to their new reality, and what made them work?

Section III: Setting the Stage for Success

Getting the fundamentals right: Is your site’s mandate and vision still relevant? Is your organization ready for major change? Do you understand the opportunities and limitations of your place? How can you leverage you assets to your benefit?

Section IV: Generating your Revenue

What revenue generation model is the best fit with your vision?  How can it be made sustainable? What strategies need to be in place (fundraising etc)?

Section V: Letting the Community In

Engaging in different ways with a range of communities, and establishing beneficial partnerships are crucial. Where do you start, and where do you draw the line?

Workshop Leaders:

Ian Kerr-Wilson is the Manager of Museums and Heritage Presentation for the City of Hamilton, having worked in Hamilton’s municipal museum system in various curatorial and management positions since 1989. He has been the Curator of Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology, the Hamilton Children’s Museum, Dundurn National Historic Site (which included the Hamilton Military Museum) and the Program Coordinator for the Hamilton and Scourge National Historic Site, an in situ marine archaeological site.

Frank Vagnone, Author of The Anarchist’s Guide to House Museums and President Owner of Twisted Preservation, a New York City based cultural & Museum consulting firm known for an experimental and research-based approach to problem solving.

Robert Pajot has over 25 years of experience in the fields of heritage conservation theory and practice, real property management and development, and training delivery. During his 18 years with Public Works and Government Services Canada, Robert oversaw heritage conservation best practices and business development, led national performance and marketing strategies, and provided oversight for project teams. Prior to the federal government, Robert worked for the City of Ottawa as Assistant Heritage Planner, and in the private sector, where he put his skills as a trained heritage carpenter into practice. Robert is leading the National Trust’s newest regeneration tool, Launch Pad.

Julie Normandeau joins the National Trust as Manager, Sites and Partnerships, where she is working to build the organization’s profile with a focus on expanding its national network of historic places and its constituency of partners, members and supporters. Julie brings experience in marketing and promotion from her work with the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals, and from her role at the Canadian Museums Association, where she honed her organizational, fundraising, marketing and event planning skills.
Registration Fee:

  • $100 for registered conference delegates
  • $125 for those not registered for the National Trust Conference 2016.(Choose Registration Type “Roundtable, Workshops and Tours Only)
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