The following Mandate and By-laws were accepted at the First Annual General Meeting in January 10, 2011.
a) To develop and support a community museum and projects which celebrate, interpret, examine, and preserve the history of working people in the National Capital Region and Ottawa Valley.
b) To examine our local history in a national and international context when appropriate, prepare exhibits, organize events, provide education programs, and collect and disseminate information on workers’ organizations.
c) To identify and record places important to workers’ history in an effort to preserve their significance.
The Workers’ History Museum is dedicated to the development and preservation of workers’ history and heritage.
The Workers’ History Museum will:
• Present, promote, interpret, and preserve working class history, heritage, and culture with a special emphasis on Ottawa and the Ottawa Valley.
• Increase awareness of workers’ history and heritage among the public and target groups.
• Create long-term local and regional expertise on exhibiting workers’ history and heritage.
• Promote workers’ history and heritage in collaboration with heritage, labour, cultural, educational, and tourism organizations.
• Interpret and preserve the cultural heritage of all workers and their families in our community, including organized and non-organized workers and those for pay or otherwise.
• Foster concerted efforts among the cultural, worker heritage, and tourism fields.
The collective values governing the WHM’s development will include:
Solidarity: Support worker and labour movement issues, struggles, and campaigns.
Cooperation: Through partnerships, workers’ history will be preserved.
Honesty: Workers’ history deserves complete coverage that reveals the full truth and explores issues thoroughly.
Equity: We support the needs and interests of women and other equity seeking groups.
Responsibility: When possible, buy products and use services of unionized workplaces, or those that use fair practices.
Fairness: Staff, community, volunteers, and other stakeholders deserve to be treated well, equitably, and with respect.
By 2015, the Workers’ History Museum will be funded through sustaining funding (MSP), memberships (institutional and individual), project-specific donations, community donations, operational grants and capital grants, profits from the boutique, the coffee shop, and WHM-sponsored events.
Long term business objectives of the WHM:
• To successfully apply for capital and operational grants from various levels of government and foundations.
• To be supported by the City of Ottawa, under the MSP.
• To have local and national unions provide on-going and project-specific funding.
• To have several fundraising ventures at different levels (big and small).
• To have a boutique starting on-line in 2013.
• To have a coffee shop, resource centre, and boutique starting in 2015.
What is workers’ history?
Workers’ history examines social changes surrounding working culture, working people, and the workplace in all sectors of the economy. It includes union and non-union workers in the public and private sectors, as well as both paid and unpaid work carried out in the home, office, factory, or other workplace.
What is the Workers’ History Museum?
The Workers’ History Museum (WHM) is a not-for-profit corporation based in the National Capital Region. Founded in January 2011, the museum is dedicated to the development and preservation of workers’ history and heritage in the National Capital Region and Ottawa Valley. Our goal is to present, promote, interpret, and preserve workers’ history, heritage, and culture.
The Workers’ History Museum:
• Presents and promotes workers’ history, heritage, and culture.
• Collects and preserves materials documenting contemporary labour issues in the city of Ottawa for the benefit of future generations.
• Develops exhibits on workers’ history.
• Promotes and hosts events related to workers’ history.
• Conducts walking tours on labour and workers’ history in the city of Ottawa.
• Develops oral history projects and documentaries and provide training workshops to institutions and community groups.
• Provides speakers on local history.
• Develops educational programming and materials for schools, labour bodies, and community groups.
The Workers’ History Museum was developed by a group of like-minded individuals who had been working together for several years to create a museum dedicated to preserving and presenting the history of working people in the Ottawa area. Until the founding of the museum, they had worked on their own and in partnership with heritage organizations, labour bodies, educational institutions and various levels of government on projects that would lead towards this goal.
The group steadily gained experience and expertise and recruited new members along the way. In late 2010, the Workers’ History Museum was incorporated as a corporation without share capital; on January 10, 2011, the WHM held its first Annual General Meeting, adopting its by-laws and mandate and electing its officers and board members. By 2012, the museum had gained charitable status through the Canada Revenue Agency.
The WHM operates under an Executive and a Board of Directors containing six members-at-large and four institutional members. The majority of the museum’s activities are carried out by volunteers led by four committees: Exhibits & Education, Communications, Fundraising & Membership, and Video. These committees have developed travelling exhibits, produced documentaries, launched an oral history project, presented at labour and history conferences, organized numerous community storytelling events and fundraisers related to workers history, and ventured into the world of social media and digital humanities.