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For the fifth year in a row, Andornot was pleased to offer clients, colleagues and the GLAM community a grant. In previous years, this was intended primarily to help you attend a conference for professional development purposes. This year, in light of the pandemic, we expanded both the funds available the uses to which they may be put, to include health and wellness activities as well as professional development.

This blog post has a complete description of the grant for this year.

The application deadline has just passed and we’ve been pleased to award grants to several people, for uses such as attending conferences, taking a day off work, and purchasing a commuter bicycle.

We hope that 2021 is a better year than 2020 in many ways, we look forward to seeing you at conferences in person again some day, and to offering our grant again at the end of 2021.

For many years, Andornot has proudly sponsored professional association events and supported our colleagues through participation in conference trade shows. And in 2017 we introduced our Andornot Professional Development Grant, $1,000 awarded annually to one person to help them attend a conference.

This year is different: 2020 has been relentlessly stressful on everyone, and the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted events and trade shows like a fox among the pigeons. Maybe you’re even thinking that professional development can take a back seat for a while, just until you catch your breath. We very much understand, and want to support you wherever you’re at right now.

In consideration of the times we live in, we have evolved our Professional Development Grant into a general grant that can be put to a wider range of uses, and we are making more funds available. In 2021, we will split $3,000 between multiple applicant. The funds may be used for professional as well as personal development, to help you keep going. For example, possible uses might include:

  • Attending an online conference or workshop.
  • Hosting an online conference or workshop.
  • Paid time off work to work on a research project or prepare a paper for presentation.
  • Paying a professional resume writing service to improve your job-hunting prospects if you lost work this year.
  • Purchasing PPE.
  • Simply taking a “mental health” day you wouldn’t normally get paid for.
  • Going to a spa to help you de-stress.
  • Purchasing a bicycle or running/hiking/walking gear.

Adopting a very cute emotional support animal friend.

We’re open to your ideas for what might benefit you and your work or career in these challenging times. The application form is available now at and is open until January 15th, 2021, at which time we hope to choose several successful applications to fund.

Applications will be viewed only by Andornot’s senior staff and will be kept in strict confidence. The names of recipients of the grant will not be made public, though everyone who applies will be contacted to inform them of their application status.

To apply, fill in this Google Form which asks for this information:

  • Your name, phone number and email address
  • Organization for which you work, if employed
  • Amount requested
  • Intended use
  • Benefits (to you, your association, or others)

While we miss meeting you in person at conferences and other events, we’re only a phone call or email away. We hope our expanded grant helps you stay safe, sane, and connected to your colleagues. We’re all in this together!

Every spring of Andornot's 25 year history, we pack our bags and our marketing materials and start travelling across the country to attend library, archival and museum conferences, to learn what's new, and to meet, greet and mingle with colleagues, clients and old friends. Like all of you, our suitcases are still in the closet, hoping for use again soon.

Despite the strange turn of events this year, we still believe strongly in the value of conferences and other professional development activities, and were pleased earlier this year to award our annual Professional Development Grant for 2020 to Lucie Handley-Girard, Archivist at The ArQuives, Canada's LGBTQ2+ Archives. Lucie had intended to use the grant to join us in Vancouver at the Association of Canadian Archivists’ annual conference. We hope that before too long, we can resume meeting you in person, and continue to sponsor conferences and other activities.

In the meantime, check out Lucie’s work on The ArQuives online collections at

by Marla Dobson, Curator, Museum of Health Care at Kingston

Walking into the Toronto Hilton for the 2019 Canadian Museums Association Conference, I was eager to get to know some of my fellow colleagues and to engage in some big thinking on behalf of the Museum of Health Care at Kingston. I am very grateful to Andornot for awarding me their Professional Development Grant, which allowed me to enjoy this conference.

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In total, I attended four educational sessions, two of which were, on paper, about art. As a PhD in art history, this is a topic close to my heart. While this may, at first glance, seem at odds with the role of Curator of the Museum of Health Care, I believe that we can learn a lot about providing a people-centered visitor experience by examining the ways in which communities engage with the arts. At their core, these sessions demonstrated new ways of thinking about museum programming, not just in art galleries, but in museums of all kinds. Through the use of artist-in-residence programs as well as arts-based therapy programs, many museums are more deeply engaging their communities and providing innovative and potentially life-changing programming. The overall takeaway was the importance of involving your community more actively in programming, as well as thinking more creatively and thematically about your collections.

Another session I attended was all about abstract thinking in exhibition planning. For many years, museums have typically focused on providing ‘cold hard facts’ as central components of their exhibitions. While this is obviously still of vital importance, especially in the case of science and medicine museums, the session facilitators pushed us to think about how thematic and abstract ideation could help create more dynamic and engaging displays. At the end of the day, studies have shown that informational, text heavy exhibitions are not the best way to convey ideas. Thus, it is useful to consider interpretive methodologies that ask broader questions, provoke conversations, and deal with more abstract themes in order to make content more relevant and engaging. This way of thinking struck a chord with me in terms of the Museum of Health Care collections, which can be used to address a number of themes related to the human experience of health and disease.

Image 5Overall, these sessions helped to focus my thoughts and gave me ideas moving forward as a curator. I was also lucky enough to meet many interesting and influential people, as well as listen to a keynote address by Indigenous artist Kent Monkman, who spoke eloquently about the need to decolonize museums across the country. These experiences inspired me to think bigger and to consider the ways in which our organizations can continue to move beyond insular, traditional ways of thinking.

For the third year in a row, Andornot is pleased to award a Professional Development Grant to a working professional, to aid them in attending a conference or workshop.

This year’s recipient of the $1,000 grant is Marla Dobson, Curator of the Museum of Health Care in Kingston, ON.


In her application for the grant, Marla writes:

As the Curator for the Museum of Health Care at Kingston, I have responsibility for planning, organizing, and supervising exhibition development, collections development and maintenance, as well as programming support. I care for a collection of 40,000 objects related to the history of medicine and health care in Canada. I also act as an ambassador for the museum, building its public profile within the regional community as well as at national and even international events.

The collection is available at, with a search interface developed from our Andornot Discovery Interface, and hosted by our Managed Hosting service.

Marla adds:

I wish to attend the Canadian Museums Association National Conference because it is vital that I develop and expand my professional network within the Canadian museum community. I am new in my position and as an emerging professional, wish to expose myself to workshops and networking events that will firstly, improve my ability to be a successful curator, and secondly, help me make connections with other organizations with which we could partner on projects and exhibitions.

Andornot strongly believes in the value of attending conferences to foster professional development. We attend events across Canada all year long to learn about new trends and technologies, meet with clients, and share our expertise with like-minded folks.

We receive many excellent applications for this grant each year and face a tough decision in choosing just one. We thank all who showed an interest in the grant and only wish we could send everyone to a conference.

We look forward to meeting you at one of the conferences we’ll be attending this year.


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