About WMA


Providing professional development for museum professionals since 1935.

The Western Museums Association (WMA) is a nonprofit, membership organization dedicated to serving museums, museum professionals, and related institutions by providing vision, enrichment, intellectual challenge, as well as a forum for communication and interaction. Through training and educational programs, the WMA empowers the diverse museum community of the West to cultivate leadership and enable institutions to remain relevant in a dynamic world. Additionally, the WMA creates opportunities for its constituents to build skill-sets to better serve their communities through their museums by providing professional development opportunities west of the Rockies, including in Alaska and Hawaii, the western Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, among others.


The WMA sustains itself through memberships, the Annual Meeting, and partnerships.



Transforming the museum field through collaboration.


Dynamic museums connecting with thriving communities.

Supporting Statement 

WMA believes museums must be essential to the communities they serve and that their impact contributes to why their communities thrive. By sparking the generation of ideas that continually refresh the museum field, WMA ensures museum professionals are inspired to create meaningful experiences that individual visitors value.

Diversity & Inclusion Statement

WMA approaches Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) as a process that must be committed to and regularly reaffirmed. Rather than diversity being a box to be checked, we view D&I as the constant examining and questioning of the makeup of our group to ensure that multiple perspectives are represented, and that there is a sense of inclusion amongst members, staff, and board.

The work of diversity and inclusion should be a constant and woven into our everyday activities to help create a more equitable and welcoming museum field. As one part of a growing international movement, we align with Museums & Race’s statement of purpose to ‘create a new paradigm for how museums address their responsibility for fair and inclusive staffing, collections, and interpretation and equality of access to their resources.’

We acknowledge our responsibility for action. As such we are dedicated to being:

Open to being uncomfortable: In order to do this work in an authentic way, we acknowledge that dialogues, conversations, and interactions are not always going to be easy, simple, or comfortable.

Self-reflective: Regarding our collective and personal privilege, we believe in the honest analysis of our progress as both individuals within the association and as an association itself.

Respectful: We honor the people/space/place where we go. We commit to paying attention to both the intent and impact of the relationship between those who host and those who visit.

Accountable: We hold ourselves individually and the association accountable for upholding this process in not only our programmatic offerings but also in our day-to-day procedures, work, and staffing.

Diligent: We affirm that diversity must be present in our decision-making bodies in order to produce diverse results. Due diligence must also be present in the research that is done and the measurement of how we determine success.

Responsible for Action: We must share D&I work across the field to help advance the movement in which people can participate. To do so, we acknowledge that we ourselves have a responsibility to model behavior that others can follow.

Download WMA's Diversity & Inclusion Statement here.

Core Values

The WMA is guided by the following Core Values to direct and sustain organizational efforts on behalf of constituents, and ultimately achieve the goals of the mission.

  • Social Benefit: To support the work that museums do for their communities, while inspiring quality, innovative services to the public.
  • Excellence: Challenge museums to strive for their best in the belief that they all have the potential to impact the lives of others.
  • Leadership: To promote the professional development of all museum staff, volunteers, and trustees, while seeking to enhance their positive change and growth as all individuals have the potential to be leaders.
  • Collegiality: To provide opportunities for individuals to connect and develop life-long relationships, as they create a community of colleagues who support each other’s institutional endeavors and personal well-being.
  • Fun: Good humor facilitates learning and relationship building, and enjoyment in an association of colleagues helps build a community of talented, connected individuals who are energized about their profession.
  • Trust: To respect one another and be confident in the integrity of our diverse museum community.
  • Inclusion: To encourage differences of opinions, perspectives, and unfamiliar ideas, as they enrich the WMA.
  • Sustainability: In seeking innovation, the WMA takes a measured and responsible approach to decisions and initiatives, with the appreciation that today’s actions affect the organization’s future success and vitality.


The Bylaws of the Western Museums Association are available for review here.


The WMA is a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt organization, incorporated in the state of California. Tax ID# 23-7312905

For more information about the WMA, please contact our staff.