Recognizing Canadian Museum Volunteers 

Volunteers are invaluable individuals to a museum. Whether in programming, daily operations or services, volunteers play an important role in Canada’s museum sector. Based on recent statistics, there are more than 103,000 volunteers dedicating their time and expertise in museums across the country (Government of Canada Survey of Heritage Institutions: 2015). It is important that this dedication be recognized! Here is how you can do so…


The Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers recognizes the exceptional volunteer achievements of Canadians from across the country and celebrates a wide range of voluntary contributions.

As an official national honour created by the Crown, the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers is part of the Canadian Honours System and administered by the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General’s Chancellery of Honours. The program has incorporated and replaced the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award, which was created in 1995 by then-Governor General the Right Honourable Roméo LeBlanc.

The Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers recognizes living Canadians who have made a significant, sustained and unpaid contribution to their community in Canada or abroad. Non-Canadians are also eligible if their contribution brings benefit or honour to Canadians or to Canada. As trusted partners of the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers program, the CMA works in collaboration with the Canadian Federation of Friends of Museums (CFFM) to nominate volunteers within the museum sector from across the country as candidates for this honour.

For more information about the program, visit


The Museum Volunteer Award is a collaboration between the Canadian Museums Association (CMA) and the Canadian Federation of Friends of Museums (CFFM). This award recognizes individuals or groups who generously volunteer their time and commitment to a museum or related heritage institution and have made a significant impact within the museum community.

To nominate a volunteer:


The nominee for this award is an individual or a group (please note that groups are only eligible for the Museum Volunteer Award) who has demonstrated an outstanding contribution to a public, non-profit museum or related heritage/ cultural institution in a volunteer capacity.

This contribution can be as a member of a volunteer committee, a board of trustees or in another significant way.

The nominee must:

  • have made a significant impact through their volunteer work/activities;
  • not have received payment for their volunteer work;
  • not have performed the services as part of their regular business or professional duties.

Submission deadline

November 15 each year.


Each nominee will be assessed against the following:

  • Value: Nominee exercised an important service to the museum and the community.
  • Innovation: Nominee initiated new programs or activities and used new methods to solve problems.
  • Achievement: Nominee accomplished desired results.
  • Impact: The activity or service produced positive changes and provides examples for other groups.
  • Dedication: Nominee demonstrates ongoing enthusiasm and commitment to volunteerism and to the cultural and heritage field.

Nomination instructions

The nomination must be supported by someone with individual or institutional membership in CMA or CFFM.

You simply have to complete and submit the nomination form. The form requires the following information:

  • Nominator’s contact information: telephone number, mailing address and email
  • Nominee’s contact information: citizenship, date of birth, sex, telephone number, mailing address and email address
  • Nomination statement from the institution (that employed the volunteer) clearly describing the volunteer’s activities and accomplishments (max. 300 words). The nomination statement should answer the following questions:
  • -How do you know the candidate?
  • -What type of volunteer work has the candidate accomplished?
  • -What is it about this person’s volunteer work that sets him/her apart from others doing similar work?
  • -How has their contribution improved or impacted the community?
  • 1-2 letter(s) of support (along with the supporter’s language preference, organisation, telephone number, mailing address and email address), one from a volunteer and one from a volunteer organization or the community who has benefited from the volunteer’s commitment.

Questions? Contact: