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RCMP Heritage Centre to begin transition to national museum

The centre has seen a pivot to focus on truth and reconciliation.
Tara Robinson and Sam Karikas are pictured here with the Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Canada's Minister of Tourism, during a visit to the RCMP Heritage Museum. To Boissonnault's immediate right is Robinson, and to her right is Karikas

REGINA — Tara Robinson has announced her resignation as chief executive officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Heritage Centre as of March 31, while Sam Karikas, the centre's current director of Strategic Initiatives, has been appointed as interim CEO.

Robinson was appointed in July 2021 to oversee the Heritage Centre's transition to a National Museum. 

"It is with deep regret, but with respect and gratitude that the board accepts Tara's resignation. We value her leadership, commitment, and dedication to the Centre's success," said Kevin Doherty, board chair of the RCMP Heritage Centre.

"The board is excited that Sam will assume the role of Interim CEO. Her experience on the project has proven invaluable, ensuring continuity and a rich understanding of the market, landscape, sector, and federal process to become a National Museum."

A press release announcing the change in CEOs noted that:

"Over the last 21 months, (Robinson) has built a dynamic team to implement transformational change and develop a new vision to become Canada's newest National Museum. Under her leadership, the RCMP Heritage Centre is well positioned for excellence in Canada's cultural landscape and as a tourist destination."

Robinson has overseen the creation and implementation of new programming and guest experiences for the centre, including a virtual educational series whose participation has grown from a few hundred to more than 11,000 students across Canada.

The centre has also seen a pivot to focus on truth and reconciliation. Strong relationships with Indigenous community partners have helped to establish exhibits such as The Witness Blanket, which was open to the public from Feb. 17 to Mar. 15. The blanket is a large-scale work of art by Carey Newman that contains 880 art items items reclaimed from residential schools, churches, government buildings, and traditional and cultural structures from communities across Canada.

"It has been a great privilege to help build the vision for a National RCMP Museum," Robinson said in the release. "I am so proud to have been part of this important and historic journey.

"I am thrilled for Sam to take the leadership role and have great confidence that with her commitment and passion, she will take the ventre to the next exciting level."

Karikas has been working on the RCMP Heritage Museum National Status project for nearly three years, including as a consultant prior to joining the Centre's executive team.

She led key projects such as the National Status Canada-wide engagement survey, the development of the 2023-26 strategic and corporate plans, and has fulfilled critical leadership roles during the implementation of organizational and operational transformations.

"I'm so grateful to have been part of the Centre's Executive team setting a bold, new vision as we look toward the future," Karikas said. "This is a great honour for me. I'm excited to lead the Centre, and this incredible, passionate team as continue toward National Status. We're doing great things every day here and I can't wait to show the world what we've got going on."