Created in 1983, the Community Museums Association of Prince Edward Island (CMA-PEI) is a not-for-profit organization which grew out of a need felt within the provincial museum community for stronger support services for the community museums. From its inception, the major goal of the Association had been to upgrade the quality of museums on Prince Edward Island by providing the necessary skills and knowledge to museum operators. The movement towards high museum standards through professional development activities and the sharing of information is central to its very existence.
In the past, the Department of Education’s Ministerial Steering Committee on Culture’s report titled “Culture, Itself a Treasure” noted the important role that CMA-PEI plays in museum development on Prince Edward Island. In 1996, a study from Dr. Tom Connor & Associates found that the Association’s program had raised museum standards, improved policies along with the quality of exhibits and increased the skill and confidence of personnel.
The Association strives to develop projects which allow the museum community to work together making the maximum use of valuable time and resources. In 1995, the CMA-PEI through its Museum Development Project enabled the Island’s community museums to develop and update their policy statements, evaluate themselves according to the voluntary provincial museum standards and create three-year museum development plans. As a follow-up to this, the Province made Museum Development Grant money available for community museums.
The Association in recent years accomplished a number of initiatives in support of its members. It assisted them in addressing the preventative conservation needs of their museums by evaluating their facilities and undertaking an evaluation of each museum’s practices and made recommendations. It worked with members to help upgrade the data associated with selected artifacts in their collections management software and upload it to Artefacts Canada. It also created a training CD which contains training modules in basic museum work.