CMA Bylaws

Bylaws of the Council for Museum Anthropology
A Section of the American Anthropological Association

Revised in 2017

ARTICLE I. Name and Standing

  1. The Section shall be known as the Council for Museum Anthropology, herein referred to as the Council.
  2. The Council is a Section of the American Anthropological Association. The Association is the sole legal and fiscal agent for the Council, and is responsible solely for signing any contracts, receiving any funds, paying any bills, and signing any binding agreements of any kind.


  1. The purpose of the Council shall be to foster the development of anthropology in the context of museums and related institutions.


  1. The Council shall be autonomous in all matters within its field that are not reserved by the bylaws of the American Anthropological Association, inimical to the American Anthropological Association’s interests, or prohibited by law.
  2. The Council shall have elected officers and Executive Committee members as set forth in these bylaws.
  3. The Council is empowered to determine membership dues.
  4. The Council shall determine voting requirements on all Section matters.
  5. The Council may engage in publishing and program-related activities, appoint committees and
    other agents, set publication and program policies appropriate to its purpose, and appoint editors.
  6. The Council shall adopt and maintain bylaws consistent with the bylaws of the American Anthropological Association.
  7. The Council shall file with the American Anthropological Association Secretary a copy of its current bylaws, and a Table of Organization.

ARTICLE IV. Membership

  1. Membership in the Council shall be open to any member of the American Anthropological Association who supports the Council’s purpose, subject to the payment of dues stipulated by the Board of Directors of the Council.
  2. Any individual Member in good standing shall be eligible to hold elective or appointive office, participate in meetings of the Council, receive publications, and have one vote in nominating and electing officers and in transacting other business of the Section. Non-members shall not hold positions within the Council, including advisors to Council publications. Student members are allowed to participate fully in the organization.
  3. For just cause, a Member may be deprived of membership by a two-thirds vote of the entire Board of Directors, subject to appeal to the Members at the Annual Meeting.


  1. The Board of Directors shall set the annual dues for various categories of membership.
  2. Any Member in arrears in payment of dues shall lose all membership privileges.

ARTICLE VI. Officers and Board of Directors

  1. All incoming Officers and Board Members will begin their respective terms immediately following the Council’s Annual Meeting which is held at the time of the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association.

BOARD MEMBERS. The Officers shall be elected by the membership and shall include a President, President-Elect, Secretary and Treasurer. Each Officer shall serve a two year term and shall be an ex officio voting member of the Board of Directors. Six additional members of the Board of Directors (Board Members at Large) will be elected to serve three year staggered  terms, with three members being elected each year. One additional position will be held by a student board member elected to serve a two year term.
(addition of a student member approved by membership vote in 2012)
(changes in officer’s terms approved by membership vote in 2014)

2.a. PRESIDENT. The President shall preside at all meetings, shall appoint all standing and special committees and designate their respective chairs, and shall be in an ex officio member of all committees. If a vacancy develops among the officers or board members, the President shall appoint an interim person from within the membership to fill the vacancy until such time that the position can be filled through the elective process. The President shall be the Council’s representative on the American Anthropological Association. The President shall represent the Council at meetings of the Section Assembly of the American Anthropological Association and other required AAA functions, or designate another Officer, member of the Board, or Council member in good standing to do so. The President shall also represent the Council at meetings of other organizations with significant museum interests (e.g., American Association of Museums, Society for American Archaeology, etc.), or designate another Officer, member of the Board, or Council member in good standing to do so.

2.b. PAST PRESIDENT. At the conclusion of his or her two year term as President, the President shall assume the office of Past President, to serve as an advisor and ex-officio member to the Board of Directors for two years.
(approved by membership vote in 2013)

2.b. PRESIDENT-ELECT. The President-Elect shall serve a two-year term alongside the President, and shall have the power to perform the duties of the President in the President’s absence. At the conclusion of the President-Elect’s term, s/he shall assume the duties of the President. During his or her term, the President-Elect shall serve as Section editor on the Program Committee of the American Anthropological Association.

3. SECRETARY. The Secretary shall have general charge of the minutes, transactions, and other reports of the Council. The Secretary shall also be responsible for collecting and depositing the archival records of the Section following policies approved by the Board. The Secretary, working with the President, shall be responsible for posting and circulating changes to the CMA Leadership Handbook on an annual basis. The Secretary shall be responsible for the CMA column in Anthropology News.

4. TREASURER.  The Treasurer shall be responsible for the administration of the finances of the Section subject to budgetary and other policies approved by the Board of Directors and by the Association. The Treasurer sha1l submit a draft budget for the approval of the Board of Directors of the Council not less than ninety (90) days before the close of the fiscal year and shall present a complete financial statement at the Annual Meeting of the Council. The Treasurer shall receive all bills from the Officers and members of the Board, insure that they have the President’s approval, present them to the American Anthropological Association for payment, and provide follow-up as necessary to insure that all such bills are paid promptly.

5. BOARD OF DIRECTORS. The Board of Directors shall be elected by the membership and shall manage the activities of the Council and set policy regarding the conduct of the Council’s programs and financial affairs. Individual members of the Board are expected to (1) exert a leadership role in the development and conduct of committee activities; (2) attend meetings of the Council; (3) assist the editors of the Section’s publications by submitting news and by locating manuscripts for possible publication; (4) promote membership in the Council; and (5) participate, to the extent possible, in organized sessions at meetings of the American Anthropological Association, the American Association of Museums, and at regional anthropology and museum conferences.

ARTICLE VII. Annual Report

  1. At the time of each Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, the President of the Council shall report on the activities of the Section to the Board of Directors, as shall the Secretary, Treasurer, editors of the Council’s publications, and committee chairs. A proposed budget for the next fiscal year shall be presented. The reports also shall be presented to the Members at the time of the Council’s Annual Business Meeting. These reports, properly modified or supplemented, shall be presented to the American Anthropological Association each year at the time it designates.


  1. The Section shall hold an Annual Business Meeting at the time of the Annual Meeting of the Council which takes place at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association. In order to conduct business at any given meeting, the date must be announced to members of the Board by mail or internet not less than ninety (90) days before the date of the meeting.
  2. Special meetings may be called by the Board, or upon written request addressed to the Secretary of five (5) percent of the Members. The President will set the date for such a meeting based on the availability of members of the Board, thereby insuring that a quorum will be present.
  3. Joint meetings may be held with other organizations if deemed desirable by the Board of Directors. Arrangements must be made at least one year in advance of such meeting and must include written agreements between the cooperating organizations specifying the obligations and financial arrangements pertaining to each. Any such agreement must be approved by the American Anthropological Association.
  4. Ongoing business of the Board may be conducted by email or similar means unless otherwise prohibited by these bylaws, with a majority of the duly elected or appointed Board members voting constituting a quorum.
    (approved by membership vote in 2012)


  1. Five (5) percent of the Members in good standing shall constitute a quorum at the Annual Business Meeting.
  2. A majority of the members of the Board shall constitute a quorum for transacting business.
  3. The business of the Council shall be transacted by majority vote unless otherwise provided for in these bylaws.

ARTICLE X. Nominations and Balloting

  1. A Nominating Committee consisting of a minimum of two (2) members shall be appointed by the President within thirty (30) days after the Council’s Annual Business Meeting.
  2. Candidates for any elective office may be recommended to the Nominating Committee along with appropriate rationale by any Member in good standing prior to January 1 each year. For the office of President-elect and other Officers of the board of directors, the Nominating Committee shall nominate at least two and not more than three candidates for each open position. These nominations shall be finalized by January 30 of each year in order to comply with the American Anthropological Association’s nominations schedule. These dates may change in accordance with AAA requirements.
  3. The Nominating Committee is responsible for collecting relevant biographical information and photographs, and for the submission of such material to the American Anthropological Association. Officials at the American Anthropological Association will be responsible for mailing the ballots, counting the votes, and notifying the President of the Section of the results.
    The President will, in turn, notify candidates of the outcome of the election by letter prior to the time of the Annual Business Meeting, and shall make the results public by calling for a report from the Nominating Committee chair at the Annual Business meeting.
  4. In all elections of the Council the candidate receiving the most votes for an office shall be elected. In the event of a tie the President shall decide the outcome by the toss of a coin.

ARTICLE XI. Standing Committees

In addition to the Nominating Committee (described in Article X), CMA has three standing committees:

  1. The Communications Committee advises on and promotes CMA news, publications, achievements, events, opportunities, and other activities with CMA members, peers, and the public through the CMA website and CMA’s social media platforms. In addition, it serves to update CMA members about broader AAA news, and draws attention to wider issues and resources relevant to museums and cultural heritage. Members of the Communications Committee shall include the Secretary, the journal editor, and additional section members responsible for CMA’s publications and social media presence.
  2. The Awards Committee recognizes innovative and influential contributions to the field of museum anthropology by bestowing the Michael M. Ames Prize for Innovative Museum Anthropology, the Distinguished Service Award, and Student Travel Awards, with funding from the CMA’s quasi-endowment. Three Awards Committee members selected by the board shall accept and appraise nominations from the CMA membership at large and may solicit additional jurors as necessary, following an application process posted on the CMA website and additional social media platforms.
  3. The Reception Committee is responsible for arranging an evening event for CMA members and invited guests at the AAA Annual Meeting, preferably at a museum or other cultural heritage institution, with the Treasurer’s approval for funding. Members of the Reception Committee shall include at least two board members and the reception venue host.


  1. The fiscal year of the Council shall be that of the American Anthropological Association.
  2. The Council shall submit an annual operating budget to the American Anthropological
    Association Board of Directors, which, when approved, shall govern the Council’s financial activities.
  3. The income from annual dues and from any investments and other sources shall constitute a working fund, available for operations, publications, and current expenses consistent with the purposes of the Council.
  4. No financial obligation in excess of funds available in the treasury shall be assumed by the Board of Directors or by any officer on behalf of the Council except that, for the purpose of this section, estimated receipts from annual dues and other accounts receivable for the current year may be considered as available funds.
  5. The Council may establish special funds to be administered by the American Anthropological Association for purposes the Council may designate.


  1. These bylaws may be amended by Members by mail or internet ballot, provided that a proposed amendment is approved by two-thirds of the votes cast.
  2. Amendments may be proposed by the Board of Directors or by fifteen (15) Members in good standing. The Board shall have the proposed amendment published in the Anthropology Newsletter at the time of the general election so that it can be voted upon along with the slate prepared by the Nominating Committee.
  3. The amendments and provisions of these bylaws shall be effective immediately upon adoption and shall supersede and nullify all previous amendments and provisions.