Dr. Shirley Thomson touched all our lives in countless ways. She was an intrepid champion of the arts in Canada for over thirty years and occupied a series of key positions: Director of the National Gallery of Canada, Director of the Canada Council for the Arts, Director of the McCord Museum, Chair of the Cultural Property Export Review Board, President
of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO; as well she contributed generously in numerous professional and voluntary roles.
Her many achievements garnered wide recognition: she received several honorary degrees, was a Companion of the Order of Canada and France made her a Chevalier des arts et des lettres; she was named a Fellow of the Canadian Museums Association.
She stood for excellence in everything she did professionally and personally. She believed in the power of art and artists and she inspired excellence with her words and her deeds. Up to her death, she remained a strong advocate for the visual arts and for museums. She believed in research, in education, and in the importance of all the arts. For a number of years she chaired the Canadian Museums Association’s Awards Committee, which she enjoyed for its recognition of exceptional achievement in museum and gallery practice across Canada.
The Dr. Shirley L. Thomson Award for Curatorial Excellence will be a fitting testament and legacy to her memory. This major national award will encourage and acknowledge curators and curatorial research, writing, and publication in Canada.
Dr. Thomson’s family supports this initiative. With the generous support of those who share Thomson’s passions and goals, who admire her standards, and who have benefitted from her great contributions, we propose to establish a permanent endowment (our target is a minimum of $250,000).
The funds for this Award will be administered by the Museums Foundation of Canada, a registered charity (every donation will receive a tax receipt). Donations can be made in cash, cheques, major credit cards, pledges, shares of listed public companies, or works of art that can be sold publicly.
Please contribute generously to ensure the establishment of this important Award; the order form is included in the downloadable PDF brochure on the right hand side of this page.