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  • 1.  Board Committees

    Posted 03-12-2019 09:27 PM

    I am interested in hearing from museums/galleries about committees of their board: How many and what are they; does the CAO / Director attend all committee meetings; is recruitment a challenge/finding the right skill set; is a board member automatically the chair of a committee. Any thoughts on committees of the board would be most welcome.

    Thanks in advance


    Marilynn Havelka

    Chief Administrative Officer

    Ruthven Park National Historic Site

    243 Haldimand HWY 54, P.O. Box 610

    Cayuga ON  N0A1E0

    Phone: 905-772-0560

    Fax: 905-772-0561


  • 2.  RE: Board Committees

    Posted 03-13-2019 07:36 AM

    I suggest you start your committee benchmarking by reviewing the BoardSource-AAM publication, Museum Board Leadership 2017: A National Report, which is freely available from the AAM website. This broad overview provides information on a range of board responsibilities, including committees.


    Anne W. Ackerson
    Creative Leadership & Management Solutions
    1914 Burdett Avenue
    Troy, New York  12180
    T:  518-271-2455

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  • 3.  RE: Board Committees

    Posted 03-13-2019 09:12 AM
    Hi, Marilyn:

    In my experience as a senior staff member at  several institutions in both U.S. and Canada, strong board members are offered committee chair positions to start them up the leadership ladder to vice-chair and then chair. People​ who are interested in joining the board can be offered seats on committees as a trial run and get-to-know-you opportunity before they're offered a spot on the board. Good boards have strong committees because this keeps full board discussions brisk and effective, and boards can task committees to report back with recommendations. If people really want to get into details, they can get involved at the committee level, so that what comes before the board as a committee recommendation will be sound and well thought out. In my experience at least, if a board disagrees with its committee recommendations too often it's a sign of trouble. I've tended to keep standing committees to a minimum and recommend ad hoc committees, with defined terms of service, as required. The only board committee for which I've ever had a staff member as chair is a collections committee. Boards and committees both need term limits! (for eg, no more than two successive terms on, the one term off, then start again)

    Hope this helps,


    John Summers
    Manager, Heritage Services
    Milton ON