RBC Foundation Museum Mentorship

RBC Emerging Artists Project

Program Overview

The RBC Foundation Museum Mentorship program is administered by the Canadian Museums Association (CMA) with the generous financial support from the Royal Bank of Canada’s RBC Foundation. The program aims to provide quality, mentored learning experiences for emerging museum professionals over a period of 4 to 6 months. The program is designed to enhance the participant’s employability skills, while structured mentoring helps to coach and champion the emerging professional to future success.

The program selects two emerging professionals to undertake a structured learning experience with CMA member organizations. This program is ideal for graduates (ages 18 to 35) of museum and arts studies programs, curators, conservators, and arts administrators.

Program structure

The program provides the emerging museum professional with a paid work experience, while also engaging in a mentoring relationship with a member of the museum’s staff.

The work experience typically focuses on one of the following disciplines:

  • Exhibition Development
  • Collections Management
  • Programming/Education
  • Conservation

During the mentorship component, mentors and mentees undertake discussions to help foster connections and plan for success. The curriculum of mentorship may include:

  • Creating a mentoring agreement (terms of relationship, confidentiality)
  • Assessing of current work experience, how to get the most from it
  • Undertaking self-assessment, recognizing strengths and weaknesses
  • Planning a career path, including professional development
  • Setting realistic expectations for the future

Program criteria

Mentoring opportunities are located in the city/region where the CMA National Conference is to be hosted, thereby ensuring that the mentee will be available to participate in the conference and gain exposure with the CMA’s vast network of professional contacts.

Proposals can be accepted from museum applicants who meet the following criteria:

  • CMA Institutional membership in good standing
  • Able to offer a mentorship project lasting 4 to 6 months
  • Able to provide sufficient orientation, training, mentorship and support during the mentorship
  • Willingness to participate in required program promotion (pre-, during and post-mentorship)
  • Must use open & fair recruitment methods and select a candidate meeting the eligibility criteria
  • Located in the region of the next CMA National Conference
Please note that the employer application period for 2016 has passed. The next application period is expected in early 2017.

How are mentorships selected?

All applications will be juried by experienced museum professionals who are committed to the advancement of young professionals. The committee’s funding recommendation may take into account:

  • Level of detail in the project proposal
  • Level of mentoring, orientation and supervision during the mentorship
  • Project planning
  • Marketability of the mentee’s skills post-mentorship
  • Ability to make professional contacts during the mentorship
  • Prominence of the museum
  • Level of museum’s involvement in CMA and the museum community

How are mentees selected?

Mentees are recruited by the approved museum, art gallery or cultural institution that will be hosting the RBC Foundation Museum Mentorship. Mentorship opportunities will be posted on the CMA and CHIN’s job board . (Please note that the CMA does not receive applications from mentees.)

Eligibility criteria for mentees are as follows:

  • Must be a Canadian citizen.
  • Must be 18 to 35 years of age at the start of the mentorship.
  • Must be a recent graduate (within past 24 months) from a museums studies program and/or arts studies, curatorial, conservation or an arts administrators program.
  • Must be willing to commit to the full duration of the mentorship.
  • Must be available to attend the CMA National Conference . (Registration costs to be paid by CMA.)
  • Must not be a current or previous employee of the museum/organization.
Must not be a current or previous employee of the museum/organization.

Program History

In 2015, RBC Foundation Museum Mentorship was formally launched. Since then, the recipient organizations of the RBC Foundation Museum Mentorship are:

  • 2016: Saint Mary's University Art Gallery (Halifax, NS)
  • 2016: Nova Scotia Museum (Halifax, NS)
  • 2015: The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies (Banff, AB)
  • 2015: The National Music Centre (Calgary, AB)

The RBC Foundation previously supported a similar program, the RBC Museum Internship for Emerging Professionals. The CMA is pleased to have worked with the following institutions to offer other career-launching experiences for emerging museum professionals:

  • 2014: York Region District School Board Museum & Archives (Markham, ON)
  • 2014: Art Gallery of Mississauga (Mississauga, ON)
  • 2013: Yukon Historical & Museums Association (Whitehorse, YT)
  • 2013: Yukon Arts Centre (Whitehorse, YT)
  • 2012: Canadian Conservation Institute (Ottawa, ON)
  • 2012: Diefenbunker, Canada's Cold War Museum (Carp, ON)
  • 2011: Museum London (London, ON)
  • 2011: Fanshawe Pioneer Village (London, ON)
  • 2010: The Rooms Corporation: Provincial Museum Division (St. John's, NL)
  • 2010: Museum Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (St. John's, NL)
  • 2009: Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto, ON)

About the RBC Foundation

The RBC Foundation Museum Mentorship program is generously funded through the “RBC Emerging Artists Project” stream of the RBC Foundation. For more information about other community initiatives of the RBC Foundation, please click here .


Jessica DeGeer 
613-567-0099 x240