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.




Mission Statement

Strengthening museums to serve diverse communities.


Vision Statement

Dynamic museums inspiring a more just future.


Core Values

Progress and Improvement: WMA challenges museums — as we challenge ourselves — to keep pushing forward to grow their positive impact in their communities and in the advancement of their staffs.

Responsibility and Strength: We believe museums have a responsibility to the communities of which they are an integral part, as we have a responsibility to museums and museum people.

Leadership and Sustainability: We promote professional development as a path to growing future leaders from within the field and creating new models for future success and vitality.

Collaboration and Outreach: Through collaborative partnerships, WMA supports others in the museum field – including other associations – to strengthen the field s capacity.

Trust and Reciprocity: We respect each other s work and individual value as we build life-long relationships that support each other s professional endeavors and personal well-being.

Creativity and Experimentation: WMA serves as an incubator of ideas for the museum field through creativity in member engagement and program development.

Fun and Play: We recognize that enjoyment facilitates learning, discovery, and relationship building among colleagues who energize each other to be creative problem solvers and happier people.


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.




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.