Glossary – Museums Assistance Program

2SLGBTQI+ communities
Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Plus. This is the acronym used by the Government of Canada to refer to the Canadian community.
Review of something (e.g., a process, an organization) in terms of compliance, accuracy and effectiveness, to determine whether it is working well and achieving its intended purpose.
Audited financial report
An audited financial report includes a statement of operations for the given period regarding the project and is prepared by a certified accountant who is not part of your organization.
Audited financial statements
A complete set of financial statements, including a statement of financial position; a statement of operations; and a statement of changes in financial position. Audited financial statements are completed by a certified accountant who is not part of your organization. The certified accountant performs auditing activities in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards.
Borrowing of artefact(s)
Loan of one or more artefacts from any National museums of Canada collections.
Built heritage
Built heritage includes the sites, structures and monuments that are recognized for their historic significance. Federal built heritage consists mainly of heritage buildings and national historic sites. These include buildings, battlegrounds, forts, archaeological sites, canals and historic districts.
Business plan
A written document that describes your organization's status and plans for two to five years. It identifies future opportunities and includes the financial, operational and marketing strategies to achieve your goals.
Canadian participant
Paid professional employee from applicant organization or from Canadian organizations that are officially involved in the project (applies under Canada-France Agreement only).
Cash flow
A presentation of all expected revenues and planned expenses that will occur over the length of your project. At the beginning of your project, your cash flow will have only forecasted revenues and expenses. Over time, your cash flow will be updated to reflect the actual revenues and expenses.
Collections management system
Collection management systems (CMS) are software programs designed to aid in the documentation and management of objects in a museum collection.
Conceptual stage
First phase of exhibition development where ideas are collected and compared with audience needs and organization's mission; the scope of the exhibition is determined (subject matter, primary thesis and main communication objectives); the projected audience is determined; the schedule is set; and potential or available resources are identified.
Contemporary visual art exhibition
Exhibition for which the principal focus is the contemporary art production of living artists and primarily presents current works.
Individuals or groups of individuals with specialized knowledge and/or skills. They are not part of an organization's staff, management or board, but rather are contracted for a fee to provide specific services to an organization.
Digital Content Development
A process that creates, organizes, and edits digitized assets and other information together to produce and distribute digital content that will entertain, inspire, educate, and persuade audiences and that will help an institution meet its specific goals. Digital content is often delivered online and can be published using a variety digital programs, platforms, and channels, either as a single occurrence or simultaneously. Digital content opportunities are limited only by available technology and can include social media posts, virtual exhibitions, interactive media, collection portals, apps, games, immersive environments, and other digitally enabled experiences.
The act of making a copy of or converting analogue information into a digital format. For example, digitization can occur by scanning 2D images or documents, or converting audio tape oral history recordings into digital formats. It can also refer to digitally photographing or 3D scanning objects, buildings, and natural features, or capturing a performance on video. Digitized outputs are often referred to as “digital assets”.
Digitization Strategy
A considered plan to guide the digitization of an institution’s analogue collections and assets, as well as the potential use and preservation of the digital assets once created. Its scope can be broad, encompassing an institution’s entire asset base, or it can be concentrated, focusing on a department, collection or aspect of a collection. The strategy outlines the goals for digitization and provides direction on what collections and assets should be prioritized for conversion, as well as what digital format(s) they should take. Digitization priorities are typically influenced by public interest, uniqueness/opportunity, object condition, and institutional need (e.g. for exhibitions, programs, online content, etc.), as well as other considerations for rights and permissions, and financial and technical feasibility. Some strategies may also include a detailed action plan for how the organization will execute this work, including any resources (i.e. people, equipment, budget, timelines, policies, etc.), operational changes or investments necessary.
Documents related to the exhibition and made available to the public, such as exhibition catalogues, synopsis, brochures and pamphlets.
Emergency assistance
Financial assistance provided to help an institution undertake urgent remedial action to maintain the integrity of its collection and mitigate damage sustained following a natural disaster (e.g. forest fire, flood, earthquake).
Ethnocultural communities

A group of people whose members identify with each other through a common heritage. An ethnocultural community or group is defined by the shared characteristics unique to, and recognized by, that group. This includes characteristics such as cultural traditions, ancestry, language, national identity, and/or country of origin.

To the extent that religion is inextricably linked to the group's racial or cultural identity, it can also be recognized as a defining characteristic. In some cases, a group may view its common origin as pan-national, or it may be based on geographic region of origin.

Ethnocultural communities may or may not overlap with racialized communities (See definition of racialized communities).

Evaluation strategy
Selection, development, and ongoing use of performance measures to make judgments about relevance, progress, cost-effectiveness and success of a project in meeting its defined objectives. A strategy should include outputs, outcomes, definitions of what will be measured, data sources, methodologies for gathering data and other relevant information. Please refer to Reporting requirements and Evaluation criteria section.
Final report
A final report is submitted at the end of your project based on the requirements in the funding agreement. Your final report needs to provide the results of the activities you have undertaken for the duration of your project.
Final financial report
A final financial report includes, as separate items, the budget as well as all the revenues realized, and expenditures incurred for the given period with regard to the Project being funded.
Financial statements
A complete set of financial statements, including a statement of financial position; a statement of operations; and a statement of changes in financial position. Financial statements may be audited or unaudited.
In-kind contribution

A real contribution to the cost of the proposed project but is not reimbursable as no monies change hands. Donated goods and services may be considered in-kind contribution if:

  • They are essential to project’s success;
  • They would otherwise have to be purchased or paid for by the funding recipient;
  • They can be measured at fair market value (i.e., in relation to similar goods and services); and
  • They are balanced by an equal expense in the project budget (i.e. total in-kind expenses equal total in-kind revenues)
Incremental administration costs
Costs which organizations would not incur other than to comply with project administrative requirements. These costs may include expenses for material or other items associated with the provision of goods or services. Maximum 15% of eligible project expenses (e.g. book keeping, project accounting, long distance calls, ink cartridges, temporary subscriptions to publications or specialized services).
Indigenous communities
Indigenous communities include First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities.
Indigenous governing bodies
First Nation governments, Band Councils or Tribal Councils, Inuit and Métis equivalent governing organizations.
Indigenous organizations
Non-profit organizations with a mandate to support and preserve Indigenous heritage.
Interim reports
Interim reports are submitted during your project based on the requirements in the funding agreement. Your interim report will provide the results of the activities you have undertaken for a specific period, a report on the status of work to be accomplished and include updated revenue and expense reports.
Key museum functions
Standard established practices in main areas of collections-related activities within a museum or heritage organization, such as acquisition, conservation, research, collections information management, exhibitions and education.
Letter of intent
Written statement presented from a venue to the applicant institution acknowledging serious intent, willingness and ability to enter into a formal agreement. The letter should include a brief description of the project and the nature of the collaboration between the two institutions, including financial considerations and the timeline for implementing the project. The document does not constitute a definitive contract; it is subject to due diligence and fulfillment of certain conditions.
Minor capital assets
Material goods with a depreciable value amortized over a period of time but not built into the fabric or shell of a building. Minor capital assets must relate directly to the proposed project (including specialized equipment, such as cameras, scanners, livestreaming equipment).
A museum is a not-for-profit, permanent institution in the service of society that researches, collects, conserves, interprets and exhibits tangible and intangible heritage. Open to the public, accessible and inclusive, museums foster diversity and sustainability. They operate and communicate ethically, professionally and with the participation of communities, offering varied experiences for education, enjoyment, reflection and knowledge sharing. Please refer to International Council of Museums – Definition of a Museum.
National museums of Canada
The National museums of Canada are Crown corporations established by the Museums Act.
Official language minority communities
The official language minority communities are the Anglophone communities residing in Quebec and the Francophone communities residing outside of Quebec.
Operational expenses
Cash expenses paid by an organization, in return for goods or services that are not incremental to the project. These expenses are ineligible for funding.
Result of an effort to attain a goal. They are the external effects or consequences of the project that are considered significant in relation to its initial commitments. Outcomes must be measurable and may occur within organizations, communities and individuals. They may relate to skills, knowledge, attitudes, values, conditions or other attributes. While there is less degree of control over outcomes, there should be a direct relationship between outputs and outcomes.
Most immediate results of a project. Outputs are the direct products or services produced and delivered to a target group or population, such as an exhibition, a collections or exhibitions policy, a workshop or seminar.
An organization that agrees to pool efforts and resources in order to achieve a common objective, while keeping its independence. Partner organizations contribute directly to the accomplishment of the project and benefit from its results.
Performance indicator

Data that can be used to determine whether a project has achieved its intended qualitative and quantitative results and, if so, to what degree.

Performance indicators should capture the most significant information. They must be reliable and cost-effective. To select the appropriate performance indicators, these questions should be asked:

  • Is it accurate? Will it measure the expected result?
  • Is it a cost-effective means of collecting data?
  • Can the information be obtained without infringing on privacy issues?
  • Does the information assist the project manager in understanding what will be the impact of the project on targeted heritage organizations?
  • Does it capture useful information that will assist the organization in making management decisions?
  • Will the information be communicated easily to interested parties, including funding organizations?
  • Will the information allow for a meaningful comparison between data prior to and after project completion?
  1. Quantitative performance indicators

    Data that can be used for evaluating progress made during a project. Quantitative performance indicators are expressed as statistical measurements such as numbers, percentages or ratios. For example:

    • the number of visitors at an exhibition or visitors accessing digital content;
    • the number of venues where a travelling exhibition was presented;
    • the number of collections and objects preserved and/or digitized and made available online; and
    • the number of participants at an activity, or users of tools.

    If the project targets a specific audience, such as Indigenous, youth, rural/remote, official language minority or culturally diverse communities, identify the number of participants from the targeted community and/or the percentage of participants from the targeted community compared to the total number of participants. For example:

    • the number and type of professional development activities (workshops, seminars, courses, etc.)
    • the number of downloads;
    • the number of online training activities developed (webinars, kits, etc.);
    • the number of best practices tools or documents about key museum functions implemented; and
    • the number of organizations benefiting from a sharing of best practices project.
  2. Qualitative performance indicators

    Information that can be used to evaluate progress made during a project. Qualitative indicators are expressed as opinions, behaviours or attitudes. Whenever possible, these performance indicators are generalized using a rating scale; for example, research quality is rated as excellent, average or below average. Other qualitative performance indicators include:

    • the level of satisfaction;
    • opinions of participants indicating that they have learned a great deal on a given subject;
    • comments by participants indicating that tools or documents developed could or will be implemented in their workplace;
    • observations from the participants on how the activity has led to positive change in their workplace or professional development; and
    • opinions of participants regarding the usefulness and/or relevance of the activity/tool.
Performance measures
Performance indicators that provide qualitative and/or quantitative information needed to measure the extent to which a project is achieving its intended outcomes. Qualitative data can be expressed in terms of change or comparison between two states, while quantitative indicators can be in the form of a ratio, percentage, comparison or figure.
Set of activities or functions that a recipient proposes to undertake with the financial assistance provided by a department. A project has a clear start and end date, occurs within a reasonable period of time and demonstrates measurable outputs and outcomes.
Racialized communities
Communities of shared heritage who have been historically disadvantaged as a group and may experience discrimination based on colour, culture and/or race.
Retrospective exhibition
A generally comprehensive body of work by an artist (or a group of artists) that spans a period of time and is presented and interpreted in the context of a historical perspective of the development and/or influences of that body of work.
Services to the public year-round
Facilities and services are available to the public 12 months a year or upon request. Schedules and contact number for reservation are all up front and clearly displayed (website, building, brochure and advertising).
Strategic plan
Clearly written document that describes an organization's mandate, its short, mid and long-term goals or objectives, and priority actions to take. A strategic plan includes a timeframe for its execution, and identifies who, within the organization, or what outside agent will take responsibility for the completeness of the actions necessary to realize goals and objectives.
Travelling exhibition
Type of exhibition that is available for circulation to one or more venues in addition to the premises of the organizing museum.
For the Museums Assistance Program, youth are individuals generally between 7 and 30 years of age.
An individual working on behalf of others without receiving financial or material gain.

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