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Changing Perceptions Campaign

The Campaign

Art is a powerful tool for changing perceptions. It stimulates new ideas and experiences and inspires us to contemplate our identity, celebrate our history, plan for the future, and see the world through different eyes. Through art we have the capacity to bring people together of all races, cultures, genders and religions to spark important dialogue, break down stereotypes and foster social inclusivity. According to a recent survey by Business for the Arts, engagement in the arts is helping to improve creativity, empathy, and understanding, and nurture healthier, more integrated communities.

By connecting cultures through the arts, the Aga Khan Museum is opening the eyes of tens of thousands of people each year to the positive truths about Islamic communities that today represent almost one-quarter of the worlds population, include a diversity of cultures, and boast a rich history of contributions to world heritage that have shaped and touched us all.

Few, if any, public institutions in the world are making this kind of outcome a priority today.

In the short time since its opening, the Museum has made significant advances toward its mission of fostering a greater understanding and appreciation of the contribution that Islamic civilizations have made to world heritage. However, changing perceptions takes time – along with a bold vision, strategic leadership and the support of the very community we aim to impact. The Museum’s leadership is committed not just to maintaining our trajectory, but to accelerating it, responding to urgent global issues, and impacting even more people across Toronto, Canada, and beyond.

His Highness the Aga Khan invested generously to construct the Museum and provided the Permanent Collection. We continue to benefit from annual operating grants from the Aga Khan Foundation. While this solid base of support is critical for the Museum’s operations, the community has a critical role to play in supporting our ongoing efforts to build bridges and strengthen global community ties. Each year, Museum supporters contribute approximately $5 million to support the Collection, exhibitions, performing arts and education programs. Stretching beyond this support to realize our vision for the future will require new investment and donors who share our commitment to art and pluralism.

In response to this, the Aga Khan Museum has launched the Changing Perceptions Campaign to fulfill our vision for the future. Together with our community, we will raise $25 million over five years in support of three cornerstone goals: Thought Leadership, Museum Without Walls and Centre for Innovation and Creativity.

With your support of the Aga Khan Museum, you can unleash the power of art to unite people in the face of adversity and to spread peace through understanding.

We hope you will join us in Changing Perceptions.

Our vision for the future is ambitious. As the first Museum in North America devoted exclusively to Islamic art and culture, we aspire to become a world leading:

Thought Leader

We will emerge as a national and international thought leader of Islamic arts and cultures with an expansive array of art, artefacts, and performances; collaborations with artists, curators, academics and institutions; and original research leading to publications, workshops, conferences and symposia that reveal, educate, and promote dialogue among cultures.

A Museum Without Walls

We will continue to digitize our collection and performances, promote travelling exhibitions and partnerships, and introduce educational programming on the arts and culture of Islamic civilizations that can be scaled up and adopted by Museums, school boards, and organizations around the world.

Centre for Innovation and Creativity

We will grow the Museum into a hub of both innovation and creativity where artists of diverse cultures and genres connect, and powerful new works of performing and visual art are conceived.

Through investments in this bold vision, the Aga Khan Museum will leverage our impact nationally and internationally, emerging as a powerful, sustainable force for critical social change, and a catalyst for new connections and relationships among diverse constituent communities.

Click here to view the Changing Perceptions Campaign Case for Support

Funding Priorities

Campaign gifts will serve as the catalyst for the Aga Khan Museum’s emergence as a national and international thought leader in Islamic art and culture across three platforms: research, education and conservation. We will invest in the capacity of our leaders and attract new scholars to create new knowledge and promote understanding about our collections and exhibitions. New educational experts, programs and tools will enrich our ability to communicate ground breaking ideas and inspire dialogue and debate. Gifts will also fund the Museum’s conservation program, assuring access to the specialists and equipment we need to safeguard our collection for research and display.

Click here to view the Thought Leadership Mini-Case for Support

Directorships, Curatorships and Fellowships: $5.5 million

Four new academic funds will form the cornerstone of the Aga Khan Museum’s efforts to emerge as a national and international thought leader in Islamic art and culture.

What Your Gift Will Fund
  • The Museum Directorship ($2.5 million) will provide five years of steady funding for the Museum’s most senior leader to engage in new research, travel and scholarly activities designed to propel the Museum, its ideas and discoveries onto the world stage and into partnerships with other leading institutions.
  • The Collections and Public Programming Directorship ($1.5 million) will attract for a five-year term an inaugural leader to oversee the Museum’s growing scope of activities related to collections management, academic research, exhibitions, public programming and performing arts. Through a strategic process of research, planning, implementation, assessment and dissemination, the director will introduce innovative initiatives and share our proven approaches with other museums and institutions.
  • The Museum Curatorship ($1 million) will provide critical release time for the curator to conduct research, enhance knowledge of the artefacts and develop the Museum’s collection. Funding over five years will also allow the curator to connect with museums and cultural institutions around the world to explore opportunities for exhibitions, meet with collectors, discover new and emerging artists, and establish a world-wide network of partners and consultants.
  • Research and Curatorial Fellowships ($500,000) will attract and support emerging scholars to participate in the Museum’s academic activities. Over a term of one to two years, curatorial fellows will research and create new showcase exhibitions and supporting materials to be featured at the Aga Khan Museum. Funding from the Museum’s research fellowships will support doctoral candidates, post-doctoral fellows and young scholars from fields including museology, history, anthropology and sociology as they research aspects of the Museum’s collection or performing arts program.
The Difference You Will

Investments in directorships, curatorships and fellowships will strengthen the Museum’s capacity for knowledge generation and dissemination. We will formalize and add focus and leadership to our research efforts and establish the Aga Khan Museum as the leading source of information about Islamic art and culture.

Conservation and Care of the Collection Fund: $1.5 million

Funding to safeguard the Aga Khan Museum’s unique collection and assure its readiness for display and research is a top priority of the Changing Perceptions Campaign. Investments in this area will support the recruitment of a freelance team of conservation specialists in paper, object, textiles, and new media, as well as the purchase of urgently-needed conservation equipment and tools. These specially-trained experts will meticulously research each piece, propose and complete any required treatments and advise on proper display and storage techniques.

What Your Gift Will Fund
  • Recruitment of a rotating team of freelance conservation specialists.
  • Purchase of conservation equipment and tools, including valuable lighting systems, photography equipment, and specialized state-of-the-art conservation hardware and software.
The Difference You Will Make

The Conservation and Care of the Collection Fund represents a fundamental goal for every responsible Museum. As our partner in this priority, you will help steward His Highness the Aga Khan’s precious gift and assure its role in our collection for the long-term. A well-conserved collection and display strategy will enable us to advance our research and education priorities.

Education Development Program: $1

The goal of the Museum’s Education Development Program is to help educators and members of the public transform the way the Museum communicates its powerful messages and ideas.

What Your Gift Will
  • Development of new school and public education programs, innovative online learning modules, and kits and tools to guide teachers and support hands-on learning.
  • Pilot, launch and assessment of the new learning programs, modules and tools in collaboration with teachers, parents and students.
  • Ongoing training to build the capacity of the Museum’s education team.
  • Recruitment of specially-trained educators in areas such as pre-school education and digital learning.
The Difference You Will

Your support of the Education Development Program will assure our continuing capacity to make education a priority. We will remain on the leading-edge of best practice by investing in our team and programs, while developing modules and tools that appeal to both new and existing audiences.

Lecture Series, Workshops, Conferences and Symposia: $1 million

If the goal of the Museum’s directorships, curatorships and fellowships is the creation of new knowledge, the goal of this priority is to disseminate those ideas in accessible and compelling ways. Campaign gifts will establish the Changing Perceptions Lecture Series, a new program focused on inspiring discussion and debate about the Museum, its research and the larger role of culture and the arts in society through the eyes of our researchers and other nationally- and internationally-recognized thought leaders. The Aga Khan Museum will also introduce an expanded selection of workshops, conferences and symposia for scholars, practitioners, educators, and cultural, political and religious leaders to engage in topics such as social change, international development, human rights, and societal empowerment.

What Your Gift Will Fund
  • The launch and promotion of a new, semi-annual lecture series and occasional workshops, conferences and symposia in topics of relevance to the Museum.
  • Stipend, travel and accommodation costs for high-profile guest speakers from around the world.
  • Associated event costs, including receptions.
The Difference You Will Make

Knowledge is most powerful when it is shared. With your support, we will introduce programs to disseminate our research and showcase the ideas and findings of other experts in the field. Together, we will create a forum for cross- cultural dialogue that has the power to counter rhetoric and prejudice, erode barriers, and incite understanding and compassion.

The Aga Khan Museum has a bold mission to connect cultures and change perceptions through art. The potential for our impact is far-reaching, but only if we can engage and inspire even more people – beyond the more than 120,000 visitors and 7,000 schoolchildren who step inside our doors each year. To become a true catalyst for change, we must build a virtual Museum, harnessing technology and forging partnerships to share our collections, exhibitions, performing arts, and education programs with individuals and communities around the world. Campaign gifts to this priority area will empower the Museum to transcend borders and cultures, multiplying our impact exponentially.

Click here to view the Museum Without Walls Mini-Case for Support

Virtual Museum Fund: $5 million

Where do Muslims live? What languages do they speak? What are the sounds of India? The answers to these and countless other questions are at the heart of improved understanding about Islamic civilizations, yet there is currently no single source for learning about these diverse cultures. With your help, we will undertake a dramatic expansion of the Aga Khan Museum’s website, creating the world’s first comprehensive, interactive resource about Islamic civilizations featuring clickable maps; performance videos; online lectures; educational games; and fully digitized versions of the Museum’s collection, exhibitions and library for use by academic researchers, students, teachers, families, and community members around the world.

What Your Gift Will Fund
  • Development, testing and launch of the Aga Khan Virtual Museum with a global advisory committee of experts in museology, technology, education, and communication.
  • Digitization of the Museum’s collection, now approximately 12 per cent complete, using the latest electronic archival practices and techniques.
  • Research and compilation of information from verified sources, along with the Museum’s many digital archives featuring lectures, podcasts, workshops and performances.
  • Strengthening of the Museum’s technological infrastructure to support high-definition videos, interactivity and live streaming.
The Difference You Will Make

Your support will help dramatically extend the Aga Khan Museum’s reach and impact beyond the Museum’s walls and the barriers of time, geography and budget. For the first time, artists, researchers, students, and interested individuals and families around the world will be able to access our collection, exhibitions, performing arts, and educational programs. The world will gain much-needed information about Islamic civilizations, and our Museum will emerge as a catalyst for cross-cultural dialogue and understanding.

Digital Learning Fund: $2 million

The Aga Khan Museum engages more than 7,000 elementary and secondary school students a year through onsite education programs related to the Museum’s exhibitions. Continuing to expand our programs and introduce innovative ways of connecting thousands more young people to Islamic culture and art is a top priority of our team. The Digital Learning Fund will provide the Museum’s education specialists with the resources to launch an online education platform available for use by students and teachers who have visited the Museum and those at a distance.

What Your Gift Will Fund
  • Development of a comprehensive online education platform, including digital tours, interactive lessons, and hands- on activities.
  • Pilot testing and launch of the new e-learning models in collaboration with select teachers, parents and students around the world.
  • Training of the Aga Khan Museum’s educators and volunteers in the latest e-learning practices.
The Difference You Will Make

When it comes to education, the medium is the message. Your support of the Aga Khan Museum’s digital learning platform will attract and inspire more teachers and students seeking interactive, high-tech learning experiences. We will offer ground-breaking ways of extending the lessons learned during a class visit and open our doors to learners around the world through digital programming in the Virtual Museum.

Travelling Exhibition Program: $500,000

In 2017, the Aga Khan Museum debuted its first travelling exhibition. Rebel, Jester, Mystic, Poet: Contemporary Persians was loaned for three months to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas, where it enlightened thousands of visitors — most of whom otherwise would not have had a chance to experience the exhibition. The Museum’s international loan program is a powerful means of reaching broader communities and introducing the world to our unique mission and collection.

What Your Gift Will Fund
  • Expansion of the Museum’s global partnership network.
  • A focused, museum-wide marketing effort promoting the Aga Khan Museum’s travelling exhibitions.
  • Travelling costs for the exhibitions and Aga Khan Museum curatorial and exhibition specialists.
The Difference You Will

An active travelling exhibition program will introduce the Aga Khan Museum’s unique and thought-provoking exhibitions to Museum visitors around the world, igniting new awareness and understanding about Islamic civilizations. Your gift will also help assure the Aga Khan Museum’s place among the ranks of the world’s leading museums, including the Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

More than simply a place to present the art and cultures of Islamic civilizations, the Aga Khan Museum is also a hub for innovation and creativity. Campaign investments in this priority will empower diverse artists to create new works of performing and visual art, and enable our visitors to engage and interact with art in non-traditional ways. Unexpected creative works and experiences will, in turn, help drive ground breaking research and public education programming and establish the Aga Khan Museum as an incubator for new talent and innovative thinking.

More than simply a place to present the art and cultures of Islamic civilizations, the Aga Khan Museum is also a hub for innovation and creativity. Campaign investments in this priority will empower diverse artists to create new works of performing and visual art, and enable our visitors to engage and interact with art in non-traditional ways. Unexpected creative works and experiences will, in turn, help drive ground-breaking research and public education programming, and establish the Aga Khan Museum as an incubator for new talent and innovative thinking.

Click here to view the Centre for Innovation and Creativity Mini-Case for Support

Artist-in-Residence Program: $1.5 million

Creating inspired art takes time, space and resources. The Aga Khan Museum’s new, privately-funded Artist-in-Residence Program will deliver all three. We will attract from around the world established visual and performing artists for terms of three months to a year and support them in the creation and presentation of new original works — including art installations, music recordings and performances — informed by the Museum’s collection and exhibitions. Artists-in-residence in each of the visual and performing arts will also support the Museum’s research and curatorial fellows engaged in studies of Islamic art and culture. Through hands-on workshops and presentations, the artists will share insights into their work and mentor students and members of the public in their own creative projects.

What Your Gift Will Fund
  • Program promotion and recruitment of one artist-in-residence per year in each the visual and performing arts.
  • A competitive stipend to help offset costs associated with travel and living expenses for each residency term of between three months and a year.
  • Creative development costs, including art supplies and music recording.
  • A high-profile launch event and presentations or exhibitions featuring the new creative works.
  • Workshops and presentations by the artists-in-residence.
The Difference You Will

The Artist-in-Residence Program will offer new ways of thinking about, celebrating and raising awareness of Islamic art and the role it can play in connecting cultures and building bridges. With your support, we will showcase novel artistic approaches inspired by the art and artefacts of past civilizations, and spark fresh interest in cultures that are often misunderstood.

Innovation Fund: $1 million

As part of our vision of global change, the Aga Khan Museum is harnessing technology to build the world’s first Virtual Museum of Islamic civilizations and Muslim culture, and enrich the way people experience the Museum online and in person. The Innovation Fund will fuel these efforts by funding the purchase of new technologies, such as virtual reality viewers, iPads and three-dimensional expandable photography used to profile our collection’s feature works in new and engaging ways. The Fund will also advance the Museum’s technological infrastructure, from display cases to lighting.

What Your Gift Will Fund
  • Purchase of new technologies to enable a modern, interactive Museum experience on-site and online.
  • Partnerships with leading software developers and experts in online education.
  • Development of custom-made display cases for the Aga Khan Museum’s upcoming exhibitions.
  • Upgrades to the high-tech lighting system.
The Difference You Will Make

Bold investments in the Aga Khan Museum experience will dramatically transform the way online and on-site visitors perceive, understand and, ultimately, act on our transformative messages. Already a world- leading museum in focus, we will become a model for others to emulate in terms of the ways we use technology to advance our education goals.

Creativity Incubator: $1 million

Sometimes creativity erupts from a single artist taking risks and exploring unconventional ideas. Other times, it is the result of great collaboration — artists of diverse cultures and genres coming together to disrupt conventional thinking and approaches, and conceive new, modern interpretations of Islamic art and culture. This is the vision of the Aga Khan Museum’s Creativity Incubator, a unique source of space, support and opportunity for emerging and established artists to develop and showcase ground-breaking new ideas and collaborate in the creation of cross-disciplinary works that support the Museum’s mission.

What Your Gift Will Fund
  • A project coordinator to identify and recruit a diverse and changing group of visual and performing artists for the Incubator, and coordinate the development of new works.
  • Creative development costs, including art supplies and music recording.
  • Pop-up presentations for artists to test-drive original works within the Museum’s spaces.
The Difference You Will Make

The Creativity Incubator will provide a rare forum and funding for artists to take risks and launch new works that have the power to change the conversation about what Islamic art looks and sounds like. In supporting this priority, you will become a partner in the Aga Khan Museum’s pioneering efforts to showcase the changing arts and cultures of Islamic civilizations and the ways in which our art and our cultures are more alike than different.

In the short time since opening, the Aga Khan Museum has made significant advances toward our mission of fostering a greater understanding and appreciation of the contributions Islamic civilizations have made to world heritage. Changing perceptions and attitudes takes time, however – along with a bold vision, strategic leadership and the capacity to act, we can respond to the Museum’s most urgent needs and capitalize on new opportunities. Gifts in support of our Highest Priority Needs will provide the Museum’s leadership with the flexibility to invest when and where it is needed most to help us continue to grow, innovate and impact even more people.

Art has the power to bring communities together by inspiring conversation and revealing the commonalities that link us across the world. The Aga Khan Museum is not just a showcase for thousands of years of art and artefacts from around the world, it is also a catalyst for urgently-needed change. We aspire to play a leading role in using art to foster understanding and build bridges across our fractured world.

We use art to reflect the world as it was and is, and to inspire hope and the promise of something even better. Our mission is unique, and so are our challenges. As public awareness of Islamic civilizations and Muslim culture changes, we must also change to ensure our exhibitions and programs continue to resonate and set the stage for a more enlightened society. The Highest Priority Needs Fund makes this kind of change possible. Like a venture capital fund, it serves as the catalyst for immediate growth in areas including exhibitions, public programming, research, performing arts, and education.

Click here to view the the Highest Priority Needs Mini-Case for Support

What Your Gift Will Fund

Your gift to Highest Priority Needs will be put to work immediately. Among the Museum’s many priorities, planned and opportunistic, it may help introduce timely new exhibitions, launch an education program for pre-school children, jumpstart a research project or attract a special guest artist.

The Difference You Will Make

Access to undesignated resources will provide the Aga Khan Museum’s leadership team with the capacity and flexibility to respond efficiently and effectively to changing attitudes and concerns. These gifts will also complement investments in the Museum’s other three cornerstone goals and allow us to achieve our lofty objectives in an expedited manner.

Donor Recognition

The Aga Khan Museum is pleased to offer a variety of recognition and naming opportunities for donors in accordance with the Museum’s Donor Recognition Policy. This includes, but is not limited to:

●   The opportunity to name a particular program or position for a pre-determined period of time.

●   Recognition of the Museum’s Donor Wall (late 2018).

●   A special event to celebrate and publicize a donation.

●   A profile of the donation in a Museum publication.

●   Invitations to VIP events.

●   Listing on the Museum’s website and in the Year in Review.

Contact Us

The Aga Khan Museum is connecting cultures through art. And now, through the $25 million Changing Perceptions Campaign, we will grow, innovate and impact even more people with our Collection, exhibitions, performances and educations programs. For more information, or to support the Changing Perceptions Campaign, please contact:

Robert Baker
Chief Development Officer
Aga Khan Museum
Tel. :(416) 646-4677 ext. 7766
Email: [email protected]


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