On yet another museum visit, Chris and I checked out the current temporary exhibit at the Canadian Museum of History, “Notman, Visionary Photographer.” This exhibit is the first retrospective entirely devoted to exploring the work of William Notman, a photographer originally from Scotland, who immigrated to Canada and over the course of the late 19th century founded a chain of studios under the name Wm. Notman & Son.
This past Saturday, Chris and I decided to take a little adventure across the river and go to the Canadian Museum of Nature’s open house of their collections storage facility. This is an annual event that I’ve been meaning to go to for years, but this year the timing finally worked out, and I have to say that it was well worth the trip!
The week before last Chris and I took a jam-packed vacation to Toronto for some much needed adventures, and of course, we stopped in to a couple of historic sites and museums along the way. We took far too many pictures and saw too many things to be able to do a good deep-dive into the exhibits and tours we experienced, so I decided to just post some slideshows from each visit, and highlight a couple of my favourite things.
On Wednesday, April 25, Chris and I had the opportunity to get a sneak-preview of the new Ottawa Art Gallery building with the Instagrammers of Ottawa! I work for the Canadian Museums Association, so the opening of the new gallery space was definitely on my radar, and from all of the articles anticipating it, I was pretty excited to check it out.
Yesterday Chris and I took advantage of the beautiful long weekend to take in one of the last days of the Butterflies in Flight exhibit at the Canadian Museum of Nature, and let me tell you, this one was really quite magical.
Lately I’ve been looking through newspaper clippings to try to find anything I can about the national museums of Canada. In one of my online expeditions, I came across a clipping titled: “Keenly Interested in Fish Culture: Children So Numerous Lecture Given Twice.” Yes, you read that correctly.
Today I was lucky enough to be able to attend a lecture with my colleagues at the Canadian Museum Association, which was held at the Centre for Global Pluralism, and featured Dr. Maureen Matthews. Matthews is the curator of Ethnology at the Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg. In the talk, “We are not quite All Treaty People yet,” Matthews discussed the work she and the museum have done since her arrival there five years ago to not only improve the exhibits which discuss Indigenous people in Manitoba and Canada at the museum, but also the initiatives she has made in both the repatriation of Indigenous artifacts and fostering long-term, trusting and honest relationships with Indigenous communities in order to ensure that museums are telling stories for them, and not just about them.
While I was visiting the Royal Ontario Museum, I was fortunate enough to be able to see an exhibit called “The Family Camera.” This was a special exhibit, which unfortunately has finished it’s run now, so if you didn’t get a chance to see it, I’m sorry to say that you really missed out.
I’ve been spending some time digging through the online archive for The Ottawa Journal recently, and I have to say that I’ve stumbled upon some pretty fun columns. One of the first ones to catch my attention was published on May 27, 1886. It provides an account of an address given the previous night by Sir William Dawson to the Royal Society of Canada. Dawson suggested that it would be an advantageous idea for Ottawa to have a National Museum. Considering that there are now four directly in Ottawa and another just across the river in Gatineau, I’d say he was probably on to something….
On my visit to Toronto, I was probably the most excited to go to the Royal Ontario Museum. All I had ever heard about it told me that it would be huge and hugely overwhelming – I wasn’t disappointed in this regard.
I explored every exhibit in every room on every floor, all in one day. It took me about four hours, and at the end of my visit I realized that trying to see the entire ROM in one day was a mistake – there’s just way to much to try and take in. If you have never been, I would definitely suggest taking it a floor, or maybe two, at a time, to really get the full experience without completely exhausting yourself. I think for myself, I plan to focus on special exhibits and my favourite galleries in future visits.