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Mourning Celebrated Museum Planner, Barry Lord

Submitted on Tuesday, March 14, 2017

We are deeply saddened Barry Lord, a dedicated supporter of our Museum Studies students and one of the country’s most celebrated museum planners, passed away on March 9, 2017, in Toronto.

An author and pioneer in museum planning and arts management, Mr. Lord and his wife, Gail Dexter Lord, founded Lord Cultural Resources Planning and Management in 1981. Based in Toronto, the company grew to become the world’s foremost museum planning firm, working with museums and galleries across Canada, the US, Europe and Asia.

Barry co-edited several ground breaking books for the museum profession including The Manual of Museum Planning (3rd edition 2012), The Manual of Museum Management (2nd edition 2009), The Manual of Museum Learning (2nd edition 2015), and The Manual of Museum Exhibitions (2014). In 2014, he developed a theory of cultural change, set out in his acclaimed book, Art and Energy.

For his and Gail’s contributions to arts and culture, they were awarded honourary doctorates in 2016 from McMaster University, Barry’s alma mater.

Born in Hamilton on July 8, 1939, Barry graduated from Delta Secondary School and McMaster University, studied at Harvard University, and enrolled in the National Gallery of Canada museum training programme.

“Barry’s creativity, knowledge, and experience enabled him to have a significant impact on how museums, galleries, and other cultural institutions are planned, managed, and ultimately, succeed,” says Professor Matt Brower, Director of Museum Studies at the Faculty of Information.

Mr. Lord was inspired to share his ideas through publications and public lectures, Dr. Brower says, and these values were passed on to students in our Museum Studies program during their internships at Lord Cultural Resources.

“Barry and Gail’s firm took on many of our students for work experiences, providing them with foundational experiences in museum planning and management and, ultimately, with the skills to reinvent and reshape their workspaces to stay relevant,” Matt shares.

You can learn more about Barry’s life and accomplishments by reading his obituary in the Toronto Star.

The family will receive friends at St. Mark’s Church Hall, 41 Bryon St., Niagara-on-the-Lake, on Wednesday, March 15, 2017, 12:00-1:30 p.m. The funeral service will be held in the church at 2:00 p.m. Interment in the church cemetery and reception in the church hall to follow.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Ontario Lung Association. Friends might also consider consenting to organ donation, which made Barry’s last year possible. Memories, photos and condolences can be shared at

Wendy Duff
Dean and Professor

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