Q1 – I have new material I would like to add to a Community Memories exhibit I did a few years ago. Can I get funding to update my exhibit?
A1 – The Virtual Museum of Canada is currently accepting proposals for new Community Stories (formerly Community Memories) projects. These are developed in a user-friendly tool, custom-built in WordPress. You can see an example here.
Q2 – What kind of support can I expect from the VMC team, if my project is selected for investment?
A2 – The VMC team’s goal is to work with your institution to ensure your virtual exhibition is the best product it can be.
You will be assigned a dedicated Program Officer (PO)
Your PO will:
- Review your budget and schedule and help you fine-tune the scope of your project to ensure that your project is realistic and has the right resources and schedule for a successful completion;
- Based on the work above, create with you an agreement that is clear and effective for both your organization and VMC;
- Answer all your questions and/or help you find resources to answer your questions;
- Provide a tutorial session with a colleague from the VMC technical team on the authoring tool that you will use to create your exhibit;
- Keep an open communication with you through phone calls, emails, and skype meetings;
- Provide on-going guidance, support and act as a sound board for your content ideas, your exhibit material and for the presentation of your content in the authoring tool. Being most often the first ‘’visitor” to experience your exhibit, your PO will provide you with a fresh eye and expertise helping you create a great user experience.
- Hold launch meetings/debrief meetings after each project phase or as needed;
- Review thoroughly your exhibit and provide a report or appropriate feedback at each project phases;
- Be solution orientated.
The VMC communication team will
- Promote your Community Story after launch, through its social media venues.
Q3 – I am the only employee at my institution and I work part-time. I have help from volunteers. Getting VMC funding is a big commitment. How can I ensure that we would have the capacity to deliver on a project?
A3 – “Community Participation” and “Exhibit Planning” are two of the five rated criteria considered by the VMC during the proposal evaluation stage. Both criteria relate to the ability to deliver on a project.
Community Participation describes how groups and/or individuals in the community will be involved in the development of the exhibit, and how they will work with the institution.
Exhibit Planning consists of a production schedule and budget that demonstrate that the institution understands the work involved in planning and developing the exhibit and is capable of carrying it out.
If you feel that your ability to deliver on a project might be compromised due to your capacity (human resources), think about partnerships and collaboration. Look for individuals or groups in your community who might be interested in or able to contribute to your story. Museums, libraries, archives, school and legions can all help you get the work done. Remember to appoint a good project manager to keep track of everything and everyone.
Q4 – I am thinking about submitting a Community Stories proposal. I have already done much of the research and have gathered and prepared many of the materials. Can I build some of these past costs into the budget, or just costs going forward?
A4 – Your budget should include costs that will be incurred from the start of the project, if it is selected for investment. The VMC cannot pay for expenses that have already been incurred.
Q5 – We are a non-profit community development organization and would like to share the many great stories of our town and its heritage buildings, would we be eligible for the Community Stories grant?
A5 – At present, the eligibility criteria for the Community Stories Investment Program include:
- To have a permanent bricks and mortar building or site, open to the public seasonally or year-round;
- To be administered in the public interest for the primary purpose of collecting, preserving, documenting, interpreting, exhibiting and disseminating objects, documents and/or specimens of educational and cultural value. This includes artistic, scientific (inanimate or live), cultural and historical material;
- To be a museum, art gallery, exhibition centre, botanical garden, zoo, aquarium, planetarium, historical society, historic house, library, archives, preservation project or site, professional cultural association or group which meets the aforementioned requirements;
Although a community development organization may meet some of the program’s eligibility criteria, it often does not have as its primary purpose the collection, preservation, interpretation and dissemination of cultural heritage; in this case, it would not be eligible.
However, it is possible to develop a proposal collaboratively with other organizations. Partnership is actually strongly encouraged and is an important criterion for the Community Stories Investment Program. You could explore the possibility of partnering with other heritage organizations in your community that share your interests. In this case, the institution that meets all the eligibility criteria would submit the proposal.