Fact sheet

In support of the activities highlighted in our GLAM Study Top Tips, for example the website content and meetings with influencers, we have developed an at-a-glance fact sheet that features key messages and graphics.

Download the GLAM fact sheet

Galleries, libraries, archives and museums play vital role in Canadian society

Across Canada, our culture and the way we experience culture is constantly evolving and plays an important role in our identity, creativity, knowledge and memories, giving us unique insights into our past and present. Local galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAMs) are key fixtures of our communities that profoundly help enrich and in turn, shape our lives.

From school visits to local museums as children to first dates visiting national galleries with world-renowned painting and sculptures, Canadians across the country have experienced GLAMs throughout their lives. However, there is consistently a lack of understanding and expressed value around their larger significance in our country.

The GLAM community wanted to better understand how their value could be expressed not only within their individual communities but across Canada. In late 2018, the Ottawa Declaration Working Group; a consortium of stakeholders co-led by the Canadian Museums Association (CMA) and Library and Archives Canada (LAC), commissioned a national study with Oxford Economics to better understand their value in Canada. The results showcase the incredible value and pride Canadians place in GLAMs, the vital role that institutions play in communities and their contribution to economic prosperity in Canada.

Key findings from Value Study of GLAMs in Canada:

Canadians visit GLAMs in large numbers, with over 150 million visits every year and play an important role in preserving and promoting Canadian heritage through access to resources for education, research, learning and artistic creation. This in turn has generated nearly $8.6 billion a year in economic benefits for Canada, in addition to a myriad of social advantages. This is comparable to the Canadian wine & grape industry ($9.04 billion) and general aviation industry ($9.3 billion).

For every dollar invested in Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums, Canadian society gets nearly four dollars in benefits — a return that is on par with government investments in transportation infrastructure projects.

The value of online visits to GLAM official websites, catalogues and social media pages is $1.6 billion per year, and this was before the COVID-19 pandemic, during which time more museums than ever before have been offering virtual options for the public to engage with their collections.

GLAM visits are associated with a number of other important societal benefits including greater literacy, curiosity, innovation, knowledge and creativity, increased rates of volunteerism and a better sense of community.

GLAMs contribute positively to overall health. In fact, GLAM users report overall health as 14% better than non-users.

The GLAM sector feeds the economy and innovation while being an integral part of the fabric of our nation, benefiting Canadians of all ages, backgrounds and regions. The annual value to an average GLAM user is equivalent to $1,440 in improved wellbeing (as measured through health effects). In other words, visiting GLAMs has the same wellbeing effect of receiving a monetary bonus of $1,440 per year.

GLAMs generate significant educational benefits for Canada, including through school visits which provide children across the country with important learning opportunities. The value of these visits is estimated at $3.1 billion.

The economic and social benefits are immense and now, more than ever, is a critical time to ensure that galleries, libraries, archives and museums are adequately funded and supported to ensure their financial health and community viability.