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Governing the WDM

The responsibility for governing the WDM is held by our Board of Directors. There will be more about museums and governance in future blog posts. For now, governance is simply the process of decision-making and decision implementation. It is the way in which the Board of Directors exercises its authority, control and direction over the WDM.

The Board of Directors is the ultimate authority within the Museum. As a group, Board members provide leadership and ensure accountability. The responsibility for daily operations is delegated to the CEO.

The WDM was established on April 2, 1949. This was when the Saskatchewan Government passed The Western Development Museum Act. We are an arms-length agency of the Crown, reporting to the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport. The Museum is also a registered charity (Charitable #: 119293215 RR0001).

There are currently seven members serving on the Board of Directors. Each member, including the Board Chair, is appointed by the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan through an Order in Council. The Board elects its Vice-Chair and Secretary from within its ranks. Board members serve a three-year term and can be reappointed for any number of terms. Currently, our Board members come from all parts of Saskatchewan. In addition to Regina and Biggar, we have a Board member from close to or from every community with a WDM.

The Board has chosen to govern through a policy governance framework. Through this framework, the Board defines the WDM’s future and uses policies to guide the work of the Museum. The CEO is responsible for interpreting the policies and overseeing our day-to-day operations. The Board uses the model of Policy Governance© established by John Carver. Through this model, the Board defines four sets of policies that guide both the Board’s and CEO’s work. The Ends Policies outlines what the WDM is expected to achieve. The Governance Process policies direct how the Board conducts its work. The relationship between the Board and the CEO is outlined through Governance-Executive Relationship policies. And Executive Limitation policies establish the boundaries and authority of the CEO. Combined, these policies hold the Board accountable for their work. They also hold the CEO and the WDM accountable for making an impact in our communities.

From time to time, the Board creates ad hoc committees to work on specific projects. There are currently no standing committees. One committee currently in place is the Ad Hoc Committee on Linkages. This committee is developing a plan to help the Board connect with the WDM’s diverse communities.

The Board of Directors’ governance function is distinct from the staff’s management function. Our purpose is to define the future on behalf of the WDM’s moral ownership (people of Saskatchewan), paint the target toward which staff should shoot in terms of the benefits to be produced, the people to be served, and the cost of meeting these goals and to ensure that that future is achieved in a legal, ethical, and prudent manner.

Nancy Martin, Board Chair

The WDM’s Board of Directors meets at least four times every year. Meetings rotate between each WDM location. This helps the Board get to know the staff, volunteers and uniqueness of each location.

  • This morning on CTV news there was mention of the Metis Festival currently being held in Regina, and talk of the History of the Metis not being passed down to future generations. I know that the museums do provide some history of the indigenous people, but perhaps it is time that the WDM encouraged them to start and manage s museum directly related to historic Native and Metis heritage and artifacts. (This could easily be done on any of the existing sites currently in operation within the province).
    I have travelled to other countries, and Cuba (in particular) has their ‘Museum of the Revolution’ in downtown Havana where they proudly display the actions and outcome of the Cuban Revolution, along with the implications on both their own country as well as other countries that were stripping them of their resources at that time. I found it to be very interesting and informative. I have also recommended it as a place to visit to everyone that I knew who was travelling to Cuba for a holiday.
    I do hope this suggestion will be taken seriously as this would go a long way for reconciliation, rather than just paying a small bit of lip service to the Indigenous peoples through the plight of the settlers. I think we can learn much from providing them a year round opportunity to educate and allow there to be an assimilation into their culture,
    My brother (Nick Catchuk) sat on this board for a number of years, and I wish I had mentioned it to him when he was a member of your board.
    Thank you for your time, and have s wonderful summer.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts about ways the WDM can support Truth and Reconciliation in Saskatchewan. We look forward to being able to provide more permanent opportunities for Indigenous communities to share their histories in WDM spaces. We recognize that reconciliation is a journey and that it will take time to develop the trusting relationships needed to support programs and exhibits on a more permanent basis. You can follow our reconciliation efforts on our website at

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