Barbara A. Tyler Award in Museum Leadership

The Barbara A. Tyler Award in Museum Leadership recognizes excellence in museum management and leadership within the Canadian museum community.

Starting with the Amon Carter Museum of Western Art in Fort Worth, Texas in 1961, Barbara Tyler spent over 30 years in areas of growing responsibility within the museum community. She moved to Canada in 1969 and worked in senior positions at National Historic Sites, the National Museum of Man (now the Canadian Museum of Civilization), the National Museums Corporation, the Glenbow Museum, and in 1986 became the Director of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, ON.

Barbara Tyler inspired a generation of museum professionals with her expertise, vision, warmth, leadership and strong will. She was an active supporter of the Canadian Museums Association and served as President from 1987-89. During her term she strengthened the CMA’s advocacy role during a challenging time, contributed to the restructuring of the national museums, lobbied for an updated national museums policy, inspired strong governance in museums, fought censorship legislation, and took strong positions on copyright issues, and on many other issues central to the effective practice of our profession and to the effective service and benefit of our museums to society.

In 1996 she was appointed a Fellow of the CMA. She also taught an annual course on museum management at the Banff Centre, and served as an advisor to many museums and young professionals across Canada. Barbara Tyler passed away in March 2007, following an all-too-short period of retirement.


The Award is open to all museum directors or senior managers, salaried or volunteer, in a CMA member institution in good standing.

The award will not be given posthumously.


The winner will receive a certificate and a gift of $1000 to be presented to a protégé chosen by the award winner, as a contribution building the protégé’s leadership capacity. The award winner and his/her designated protégé may also be asked to contribute to, and be featured in, a special article in Muse magazine.


November 15, 2020

The Award is presented every two years (2021, 2023, 2025, ...)


The Barbara A. Tyler Award in Museum Leadership recognizes excellence in museum management and leadership within the Canadian museum community.

The nominated individual will have demonstrated leadership in taking their museum to a new level of contribution to Canadian society.

Each nominee must have done the following:

  • Demonstrated powerful community engagement that has advanced the institution and its interests;
  • Had a positive impact upon the well-being of the institution through the development and adoption of a sustainable business model which has been proven to be effective;
  • Encouraged creative innovation in the context of achieving positive operating outcomes;
  • Enhanced the institution’s pursuit of the highest ethical standards;
  • Demonstrated other appropriate leadership criteria such as vision, dedication, integrity etc.

Capital projects will be considered from the perspective of their increased value and contribution to Canadian society and the museum’s community.

Nomination instructions

Complete the Barbara A. Tyler Award in Museum Leadership nomination form and attach the required documents. Send the form and requested documents to

Please note the following:

  • Nominees must be CMA members in good-standing.
  • Self-nominations are not accepted. Nominations must be made by a third party with individual or institutional membership in the CMA.
  • The Award is open to all museum directors and senior managers, salaried and volunteer, at museums in Canada.
  • Members of the jury are not eligible, nor are their institutions.

Nomination Form — PDF

Nomination Form — Word