History of CAM
The Commonwealth Association of Museums was established in 1974 and elected Dr. W.L. Ride of Australia as its first President. In 1985, a working group met to set up a Distance Learning Program in basic museum studies to provide a learning opportunity for all museum workers around the Commonwealth. In 1989 a newsletter was begun and in 1992, CAM began to hold theme programs to which Triennial General Assemblies were attached rather than expending considerable funds for short business meetings. The first of these was "The Role of Museums in Society" held in Ottawa before the ICOM General Assembly in Quebec City. From this meeting the first "Occasional Paper" was produced in 1993 with the papers of two speakers, Duncan Cameron, Canada, and Amareswar Galla, Australia.
It was decided at that time to adopt a policy of holding CAM workshops and events apart from the ICOM sessions in order to reach more out of the way locations in the Commonwealth and regional and other activities have taken place in Belize, South Africa, Botswana, Kenya, Barbados, Malawi, Australia, Liverpool U.K., Victoria Canada, and Guyana (see CAM Programs Overview and Past Conferences & Workshops).
CAM has held programs and activities since that time including:
- a major collaboration with the University of Victoria in 1994 "Curatorship: Indigenous Perspectives from Post-Colonial Societies"
- a study tour and seminar in South Africa and Botswana "Museums and the National Identity"
- The GCAM (Group for Children in African Museums) series in Nairobi in 1997 and 2001 and in Malawi in 2005
- "Museums, Peace, Democracy and Governance in the 21st Century" in Barbados in 1999
- "What Peace Means to Me" art contest leading to exhibit (out of 1999 meeting)
- "Global Vision, Local Mission", Liverpool, 2003
- "Children in Caribbean Museums", first workshop, Barbados, 2005
- "Pacific Museums and Sustainable Heritage Development", Canberra, Australia, 2006.
- "What Peace Means to Me" exhibit opened in October, 2006 at the University of Victoria
Over the years, the themes and objectives of CAM have gradually emerged as focal points and while the activities are individual, the themes initiated by several of them have been and are being carried forward to create longer-term program in the areas of museums and youth, cultural diversity, the preservation and safeguarding of cultural heritage, contemporary global issues and museums and communities, often intertwined and including more than one focus as they do on real life. Each of the programs specified under the Events & Activities section can fit into one or more of these focal points as well as contributing to professional learning and excellence.
The Commonwealth Association of Museums has been led by Past Presidents, Dr. W.D. Ride, Australia; Frank Greenaway, U.K.; Duncan Cameron, Canada; Lois Irvine, Canada; Dr. Sadashiv Gorakshkar, India; Emmanuel N. Arinze, Nigeria; and currently Prof. Martin Segger, Canada.
CAM has been fortunate in its Council Members and the commitment expressed by so many over the years and is extremely grateful to the Commonwealth Foundation which has provided us with financial and moral support and to the Commonwealth Secretariat members who have more recently taken an active interest in the Commonwealth associations.