The 1970s at the CMA: 1970 — 1979
If the shift in museums in the 1960s was to look inward at the museum profession itself, then steps to strengthen the profession dominated the 1970s. The National Museum Policy was established in 1972, and with it came a steadier stream of financial aid from the government. It's initial disbursement totaled just over $9.4 million — or, accounting for inflation, approximately $55 million in 2017. This stream of income allowed the CMA to further encourage the formation of basic training programs in the provinces, as well as the development of an awards program, the appointment of CMA Fellows, and a more inclusive bilingual national dialogue. This new money also meant more control and influence by the government.
In keeping with the theme of strengthening the profession, the CMA's monthly publication the Gazette, began running monthly museological provincial profiles. Each issue detailed what was happening in a single province, allowing members from across Canada to learn more about the work of their colleagues. These spotlights crossed the country, from one coast to the other — a sure indication of a rise in the activity and development of provincial museum associations. Prince Edward Island, for example, was showcased in 1973 — the centennial of its entry into confederation.
Spring of 1975 saw the Gazette's project reach the opposite coast, as it detailed the happenings in British Columbia. Martin Segger, a museums advisor for the B.C. provincial museum, wrote that the museums sector in B.C. was experiencing tremendous growth. This development was only an indication of a much larger trend happening across the country: a rapid expansion in the number, size, and budgets of heritage conservation agencies. "Part of this growth has been stimulated by the rising tide of Canadian nationalism and the growing awareness in schools of the educational value of museums, "he wrote. "In the last eight years membership in the British Columbia Museums Association has tripled."
Training was the CMA's single largest program in the early 1970s. But already, decentralization was beginning. Basic training courses were being handed over to provincial associations wherever possible. In the long range, members believed the CMA would become a liaison and advisory body to oversee training, and encourage universities and colleges to develop degree-granting programs. Eventually, of course, that's exactly what happened.
The educational component of museums, and the partnerships that could be forged between universities and museums continued to be explored throughout this decade in the pages of the Gazette. For instance, in 1977 CMA member Louise Stevenson wrote: "The most obvious feature of most natural history museums is the extremely large specimens: few university departments have space for a mounted giant gorilla, an elephant, the skeleton of a dinosaur, [or] a large whale … What we have to offer is the museum specimen: the unique, the irreplaceable, the 'real thing.'"