Michael Rikley-Lancaster | 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.
Jo Danaher | 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.
Ryan Milton | Holdings and Exhibitions 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.
Laila Hack | 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