Our Staff and Board

Our Staff

Executive Director/ Curator

Born and raised in Chatham, Ontario, Michael has been the Executive Director/Curator (ED/C) of the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum (MVTM) since July 1, 2007. He studied for a diploma in Fine Arts at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario, before receiving a diploma in Applied Museum Studies from Algonquin College, Ottawa. He was employed as Assistant Curator at the Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum, and then as Program Coordinator for Young Canada Works in Heritage Organizations with the Canadian Museums Association.

Serving as ED/C, Michael has been pivotal in making the building fully accessible, acquiring a heating and cooling system, and increasing the Museum’s partnerships within Mississippi Mills and the surrounding areas. He has overseen the creation of two permanent exhibits at the Museum about industrial wool processing, an oral history project preserving the experiences of local mill workers, the Millworkers’ Staircase and Riverwalk, and countless temporary exhibits that work to provide forums for contemporary issues.

Paving the way for safe museum spaces, Michael has empowered the MVTM to become Canada’s first Rainbow Registered museum, and strives to create a more diverse and inclusive heritage sector. With this goal in mind, Michael is involved in several local Town committees and the Ontario Museum Association’s Executive Council.

Colour photo of Michael Rikley Lancaster wearing a red shirt, against a background of a grey stone wall, and a window with small panes

Collections Coordinator

Ryan Milton has been the Curatorial and Museum Management Assistant at the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum since June 2020. He previously worked for the museum as a Summer student during the spring and summer of 2018. He studied Arts and History at the University of Ottawa, before receiving a diploma in Applied Museum Studies at Algonquin College in Ottawa, Ontario. He was previously employed as Conservation Assistant [student] at Lower Fort Garry – Parks Canada, Manitoba, as well as an Art Handling Technician with the Canada Council Art Bank.

This varied background has allowed him to collect many tools and varying points of view regarding history and the arts, as well as the varied ways in which both are displayed and engaged with by the public. He has aided in the conservation, digitization, display, and storage of varied works and artefacts, as well as the de/installation of various exhibits and displays.

Colour photo of Ryan Milton wearing a red shirt, against a background of a grey walled gallery space

Outreach, Engagement, and Development Coordinator

Laila Hack graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University in 2017 with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Near Eastern and Classical Archaeology, where she focused on ancient art interpretation and spent three seasons excavating at the Town of Nebo archaeological site in Jordan, researching artifacts and drawing them for publication at the University during school terms. She went on to complete a Master of Arts with Distinction in Art and Archaeology at University College London, doing original research through a feminist lens for her dissertation on the construction of gender and sexuality ideology in early Islamic art. Pivoting from academia to the museum sector, Laila completed a post-graduate diploma in Museum Management and Curatorship at Fleming College.

Through both school and work, she has conducted research for Peterborough Museum & Archives, Hutchison House Museum, the Association of Nova Scotia Museums, Robert McLaughlin Gallery, the Ontario Museum Association, and Pickering Museum Village. Her research experience is varied with an intersectional approach, including different methodologies, lenses, and sources, and pertained to numerous subjects, including history, modern and ancient art, artifact interpretation, data enrichment, and current issues within the museum sector, such as accessibility, diversity, and decolonization

Colour photo of Laila Hack wearing a dark green sweater, against a background of a grey stone wall and a window with small panes

Bookkeeper

Jo Danaher has been the Bookkeeper for MVTM since 2012. In addition to the museum, she provides bookkeeping services for a variety of retail, consulting, and charitable organizations in and around Almonte. Jo is a graduate of Carleton University with a background in Human Resources and Project Management. She has a love of numbers and a great respect for the entrepreneurial and charitable spirits.

Jo has lived in Almonte for over twenty five years where she has raised two children along with a variety of four legged creatures.

Reception Staff

Maybe is a multidisciplinary artist and art historian specializing in visual art, 2SLGBTQIA history, and community engagement. Maybe McInnis holds a BFA in Art History and Studio Arts from Concordia University (2020).As a member of MVTM staff, Maybe tends to archival projects in the collection, research, events, reception, and community outreach. 

Colour photo of Maybe McInnis wearing a opened green button up on top of a black shirt, against a background of a grey stone wall and a window with small panes

Our Board of Directors

Past President of the Board of Directors

With a background that ranges from kitchen management to auto restoration, Lizz has an unusual mix of technical and artistic skills.  She formally trained in conservation and arts administration at Sir Sandford Fleming College, Peterborough.

Since starting her career as a conservator and museum professional, Lizz has worked in a variety of heritage institutions, including the Canada Museum of Science and Technology and The Klondike National Historic Site. She has worked on objects as diverse as a beaded silk wedding dress and the carding machines upstairs at the MVTM.  She is now retired and is formerly the Facilities Manager at the Diefenbunker, where she was responsible for the building and building infrastructure as well as the care of the museum collection.

President of the Board of Directors

Born in Almonte, Andy has called the Mississippi Mills area his home for most of his life. A lawyer by training, he worked most of his career as an international human rights mediator and journalist. Andy is an avid member of Valley Heritage Radio, where he contributes to documenting the history and culture of the Ottawa Valley. A songwriter, musician, and a 5th generation fiddler, he is passionate about all art forms that reflect who we are, and where we have come from. Andy has devoted much energy to social justice advocacy, particularly for the 2-spirit and LGBTQ+ communities. On July 4, 2020, he married his husband, Tony, on the grounds of Mississippi Valley Textile Museum. Andy brings legal and media skills, together with his passion for culture and the arts.

Vice-President of the Board of Directors

Sean has been a stone mason for over 2 decades. In 1999 he enrolled in the Heritage Masonry program in Perth and in the years following honed his skills in the trade. In 2004 Sean moved with his young family to Almonte and became self-employed forming Dominion Masonry, Stoneworks & Construction. In the coming years he completed various restoration and new construction projects including Class I heritage designated restorations at the Commissariat, and the Experimental Farm in Ottawa, the Woods Mills complex in Smiths falls as well as works at various other buildings such as the Old Flour Mill, the Victoria Mill and the Thoburn Mill in Almonte. Sean continues to work in Lanark County and the Ottawa area producing and preserving lasting masonry structures.

Sean brings a love and wealth of knowledge of the built history and architecture of traditional structures in Ontario as well as an in-depth knowledge of proper restoration techniques.

Treasurer/ Director

Charlotte has been a member of the MVTM for several years and appreciate the contribution it makes to the culture of Mississippi Mills. Charlotte is interested in helping to ensure that the museum continues to be successful. I am interested in the role of the museum in researching local history as well as its role in bringing contemporary art exhibits to our area.

In Charlotte’s working life (1973-2006) Charlotte was a computer systems analyst and then a manager of IT with several government departments. Charlotte has experience as a project manager and in her role as a manager gained experience in the management of human resources, budgets and in the development of business and strategic plans.

Since retirement she has volunteered with local organizations. Charlotte was on the Town’s Heritage committee for 9 years both as a member and the chair. During that time she gained some knowledge of the legislation and policies concerning built Heritage as well as the functioning of municipal government. While on the Heritage committee she managed 3 Doors Open events, learning more about both local history and managing an event in a volunteer environment with limited funds.

Secretary/ Director

Pam is the recently retired CEO/ Chief Librarian of the Mississippi Mills Library. Pam has a passion for public library service, Pam Harris began her career as a children’s librarian and rural services advocate. Pam promoted meaningful public library service in her role as the CEO/Chief Librarian of the Mississippi Mills Public Library, a 2-branch system serving a population of 12,500. Mississippi Mills is not only a bedroom community to Ottawa; it is also a growing community, a mix of rural farm land, hamlets, villages, a town and an economy increasingly relying on tourism. Its unique configuration continues to presents interesting and surprising challenges for the cultural sector.

Director

Josée has had a lifelong curiosity and interest in fibre arts, learning sewing from her mother at age ten to be a self-taught quilter and knitter. Currently, she is pursuing coaching in classical drawing and painting as well as apprenticing with a master weaver. She is a member of the National Gallery of Canada, the Ottawa Valley Weavers’ and Spinners’ Guild, the Ontario Handweavers and Spinners and, of course, the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum (MVTM). Fluent in both English and French, her work experience includes three national museums (the Canadian Museum of Nature, the National Gallery of Canada and the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation) amongst other national organizations. Josée brings over 20 years of experience in non-profit sector, ten of those years in corporate governance. She holds a Diplôme d’Etudes Collégiale (DEC) in Business Administration with specialization in Finance, a Fine Arts Certificate from Algonquin College and a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in psychology, from Waterloo University.

Director

Annette’s entire professional career has been in support of the cultural non-profit sector in one way or the other, from marketing and communications for specific organizations, to developing governance models and guidance for volunteer boards. As executive director of a very successful arts and artist support organization (SAW Video Media Art Centre in Ottawa), Annette is very familiar with the challenges of running operations as well as being a creative programmer serving a diverse group of stakeholders, and have developed strategies that she would be honored to share. Strategic planning and actually operationalizing strategic visions is one of her geeky pleasures.

Annette is a rather entrepreneurial spirit, and through that she has extensive experience in raising capital and operational funds applying various strategies. Annette is deeply familiar with arts and cultural funding streams for core and project funding. She writes multi-year funding proposals to maintain an annual $650k+ budget for a living.

Director

Jonathan is a Broker with Zoocasa Realty and a member of the Ottawa Real Estate Board – specializing in residential resale and new construction throughout Ontario. In addition to Real Estate, he has been involved in dozens of entrepreneurial Start-Up companies over the past decade – assuming roles in recruitment, high-level training, business coaching, and consulting. His passions begin with family; his wife Alex and their two young boys – Oliver & Elliot, entrepreneurial ventures, real estate, and playing host to family and friends.

Though Toronto born and raised, Jonathan relocated his family and business to Almonte in late 2017 after discovering his current home – The Glen. The Glen is a historically significant property in Town that was owned at one point by “Archie” Rosamond. For Jonathan, owning a property like The Glen is a privilege; and, is much more than simply living in a house – it grants its owner with the task of preservation, continuing its history, and encourages appreciation of a bygone era. Due to the strong connection and curiosity he has developed with the home, it has stemmed into a fascination with the history of Almonte – with the MVTM as the heart of it all; a place of preservation, history, learning, and the arts. Engulfing himself into the history, restoration, and preservation of The Glen and Almonte has been a new-found passion that he is dedicated to continuing through his unique previous experience and forward-thinking perspective.