Chap 2: ‘Governance: Guiding the Museum in Trust’ by Barry Lord and Rina Zigler

One of the most challenging areas of museum practice today is governance, and we often hear in the news about conflicts between directors and their boards as a result of different visions for the future of institutions. However, in today’s museum there is more to governance than the traditional director-board of trustees model, and more to be said about the nature of the relationship. A variety of governance arrangements—boards, but also local and central government agencies and other bodies—govern or “guide” the overall direction of institutions. This is a relationship “in trust” to objects, people and civil society as a whole. In chapter two Barry Lord and Rina Zigler, referring to The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto, Canada, talk about new directions in museum governance towards what Stephen Weil called “civil society institutions.” “The future of museum governance may be uncertain,” they conclude, “but it can certainly be bright, and challenging, if our institutions collectively have the courage to genuinely serve the societies they live in.”

Barry Lord is Co-President of Lord Cultural Resources, the world’s largest firm specialized in the planning and management of museums and other cultural institutions. With his wife and partner, Gail Dexter Lord, he is co-author of The Manual of Museum Management (2nd ed., AltaMira Press, 2009), co-editor of other volumes in their Manual series, and most recently co-author of Artists, Patrons and the Public: Why Culture Changes (AltaMira Press, 2010).

Rina Zigler was a Research Consultant at Lord Cultural Resources from 2008 to 2011. During that period she worked with the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, helping guide it through strategic and governance planning initiatives. She holds a BA with Honours in Art History from McGill University and an MBA from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

See Lord Cultural Resources at:


About mccartco

Conal McCarthy is a former museum professional and academic who has published widely on museum history, theory and practice. He is the Director of the Museum and heritage studies programme at Victoria University of Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand.
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