The Museum Association of Newfoundland and Labrador is a non-profit, charitable organization representing institutions and individuals interested in the preservation and promotion of the province's material and cultural heritage. The Association was incorporated in 1980 under the leadership of a volunteer Board of Directors representative of the museum and heritage community in the province. Since 1980 MANL has grown to include over 150 member museums and heritage societies and 115 individual members. Associate membership is offered to members of the public who support the work of the organization. Since 1982 an office has been established with one full-time staff person and now has an administrative assistant to help with membership, special events planning and office duties.
The Association's constitution outlines the following mandate for the organization:
- "To aid in the improvement and promotion of museums, defined herein as a non-profit, permanent establishment exempt from Federal and Provincial income taxes, open to the public and administered in the public interest, for the purpose of conserving, preserving, studying, interpreting, and exhibiting to the public, for its instruction and enjoyment, objects and specimens of educational and cultural value, including artistic, scientific, historical and technological material.
- To promote the protection and preservation of objects, specimens, records and sites of significance to the natural and human history of Newfoundland and Labrador.
- To disseminate information of special interest to museums and concerned individuals.
- To promote the exchange of information, material, and exhibitions between museums.
- To promote public understanding of museums and of the historical, cultural and artistic resources of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador...
- To implement training programs so as to upgrade the expertise of museum workers..."
In an effort to improve the standard of community museums in the province and to provide better services to the general public, MANL is involved in a number of activities and projects. The following are just some of these activities:
- The Association acts as a channel of communication between its members and the provincial government of Newfoundland and Labrador.
- As a member of the Canadian Museum Association, MANL is the representative of the Newfoundland and Labrador community museums and other heritage groups.
- The Association publishes and distributes three to four Newsletters annually. The Newsletter is the principal vehicle of communication with MANL membership, a means for communication for members with each other to publish articles, and act as a source of reference by publishing technical and curatorial information. Advertising in the MANL newsletter is a great way to connect with people and businesses in the heritage fields.
- In order to encourage higher professional standards within the province's museum community the Association has an Awards program. Currently, MANL has two Awards - the Honorary Life Membership and the Award of Merit. The Award of Merit reinforces the work of the Professional development Committee. This Award is intended "to recognize outstanding contributions to the practice of museum and heritage work in Newfoundland and Labrador, and to encourage higher standards of excellence in the preservation and development of our province's material and cultural heritage." Go here for the online nomination form.
- The Association organizes one major provincial conference, five regional introductory to intermediary level seminars, and a series of 3-5 "Seminars on Request".
- Recently, the Association undertook a strategic planning effort and a professional development study which gives MANL a blueprint for the direction of its future activities.