For a number of years a favourite quote of mine by Tom Thomson is the following:
Take everything as it comes; the wave passes, deal with the next one.
This seems particularly apt as the TOM moves forward from 2012 to 2013. Back in August we were privileged to have four of the past directors (John Taylor, Maggie Mitchell, Brian Meehan and Stuart Reid) and myself participate in an informal talk about the TOM and our experiences here. One of the things that came through most loudly was that as an institution we are always evolving, growing and developing. This is reflected in our name (three changes so far since 1967), our logos (several and still counting) and in our programmes and outreach and ways in which we fulfill our mandate as a public arts museum that is inspired by the legacy of iconic Canadian artist Tom Thomson, connecting people to art and generating creative energy that sustains, enriches, empowers and inspires.
The reasons why museums (art, historical, cultural or otherwise) change and evolve are myriad but people are often surprised when reminded that museums are not static organizations.
Museums evolve. They change. They have to in order to stay relevant. What doesn’t change however is that museums are entrusted with the care and preservation of collections. Museums don’t look at collecting things just for now – they are collected for future generations. While museums may be rooted in the past they are always cognizant and thinking about the future.
When sending messages to people these days no one uses the telegraph; neither do we travel from town to town by stage coach. Time changes how services are delivered. Museums are no different.
Museums that change, adapt and evolve – while remaining true to their core values – are the ones that not only survive, but are the ones that thrive and remain relevant and important to their communities. We are proud of the role that the TOM plays at all levels of the communities it serves. In the world around us it seems that the only constant there is these days, is change. At the TOM will meet those changes and challenges in the same spirit as our namesake demonstrated while paddling his canoe in rocky waters: taking everything as it comes, and dealing with whatever comes next.
Director & Chief Curator