Ottawa Museum Network’s Top Ten Highlights

All content in this post was sourced directly from the Council of Heritage Organizations in Ottawa,  from their newsletter from May 6th, 2010.  This post is not my own words, I just wanted to spread the news!

On behalf of our member museums, the Ottawa Museum Network would like to thank the City of Ottawa, the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada for their continued support of Ottawa’s local museums and heritage community.  This “Top Ten” list highlights just a few of the successful projects and accomplishments that have been made possible as a result of the generous funding provided by our supporters.

1. Nepean Museum is proud to announce that they were successful in obtaining an $8,700 grant from the Museum and Technology Fund Grant from the Province of Ontario, Ministry of Tourism and Culture. This grant will be used to support the conversion of the museum’s website to a content management system.

2. With the assistance of Infrastructure Services and Community Sustainability, Billings Estate National Historic Site undertook several accessibility projects in April.  Regarding existing paths, establishing new paths, and creating a new accessible parking spot and drop-off area will enable visitors with mobility impairments to gain better access to various areas of the site, while maintaining the heritage aesthetic of the grounds and museum.

3. The Diefenbunker Museum received $18,000 from Ontario’s Ministry of Tourism and Culture through the Museum and Technology Fund. This grant will be directed into a Visitor Management System- a hardware and software product that will integrate all of the museum’s revenue streams (admissions, tours, rentals, memberships, food sales, museum shop inventory and sales) and statistics while also allowing visitors to book tickets and purchase store items online.

4. As a legacy project for this year’s 150th anniversary, Watson’s Mill developed a Discovery Walking Tour of Historic Dickinson Square, available in both official languages, both in print form and audio guide. Developed to support a series of interpretive exterior signage on the property, these self guiding tours will enable visitors to learn more about the buildings and people of Dickinson Square, as well as the village of Manotick. The Discovery Walking Tour was launched at the Season Opening of the Mill on Saturday, May 1st.

5.  Local artisans and craftspeople of Goulbourn exhibited and participated in a sale of fine arts on Sunday April 25th at the Goulbourn Museum.   The 1st annual Spring Art Show and Sale, curated by pencil artist/teacher Sheila Cain-Sample, featured one-of-a-kind paintings, drawings, textiles and jewelry.  This successful partnership between Goulbourn’s artists and the Museum provides an opportunity for the community to both view and purchase these unique, locally-made works of art.

6. The Bytown Museum was privileged to host ‘Open Windows: An exhibit of photographic work by fourteen tenants of supportive housing in Ottawa‘ from April 22 to 25, 2010. The project was a collaborative venture between tenants of supportive housing in Ottawa, HousingPlus the Ottawa Supportive Housing Network, and the School of Psychology and the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Ottawa. The vernissage, held at the Bytown Museum on April 22, drew close to 200 people.

7. On April 10th the Osgoode Township Historical Society and Museum hosted their 6th Annual “Art Show and Tea“, to showcase the talents of the local artists and crafts people.  The event was well attended and there were twelve artists displaying their works which included painting, textile art, bronze work and wood carving.

8. On April 9th, the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum participated in an educational outreach at the Devonshire Community Public School. The theme for this activity “A day in the life of Devonshire 1910” commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Devonshire school.  Over 300 children from kindergarten to grade 6,  participated in the activity .  Museum staff and volunteers presented artifacts, pictures and archival materials from the museum’s own schoolhouse, SS no 1.

9. More than 250 people made their way to Pinhey’s Point Historic Site on Easter weekend for Eggsposé.  Families had the chance to try dyeing eggs using home-made vegetable dyes and weaving paper baskets, which they then used for an outdoor Easter egg hunt.  Positive feedback and increased attendance over 2009 show that Pinhey’s is growing in popularity year round.

10. The Sugar Festival came to an end in April. The Muséopark hosted a number of activities, one of which was the Soupe Splash. The Soupe Splash brought together a number of restaurants to participate in a friendly maple soup competition. The event was a huge success as we welcomed more than 140 people.

Congratulations to all of these museums on their initiative and achievements! And thanks to the Council of Heritage Organizations in Ottawa for recognizing the successes of the Ottawa Museum Network.


Though April showers have come your way…

They’ve brought the flowers that bloom this May!

For those of us living in the Ottawa region, or visiting the area, you’re in luck! This month is one of the nicest times of the year to come visit the city, because May brings the Tulip Festival!

It’s always lovely wandering around the city, listening to Music in the Tulips, checking out the Tulip Art installations you can find at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, or the Canadian Aviation Museum.

Check the weather forecast! Bring out the bicycles and take the family on a beautiful ride through some of the many parks that are blossoming right now!  If the weather forecast looks a little wet or chilly, you’re in luck!

The Canadian Aviation Museum is hosting a few really interesting events in conjunction with the Tulip Festival.  On May 15th & 22nd they’re hosting a wide array of sessions based around the Liberation of Holland, but a few of the more family friendly ones are:

Lancaster Bomber Paper Model Workshop

10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. — Ages 7 and up

Color, cut and assemble a model of this famous bomber. The Canada Aviation Museum has one of only seventeen Lancaster bombers left in the entire world — can you spot it in the Museum?

Printmaking Workshop

10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. — All ages

Make a print using images inspired by real photographs, taken by the Dutch during Operation Manna in the spring of 1945. (Source

For those of you unfamiliar with the origins of the Tulip Festival, you can learn more here. Brief synopsis?

“In 1945, the Dutch royal family sent 100,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa in gratitude for Canadians having sheltered Princess Juliana and her daughters for the preceding three years during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, in the Second World War.

The most noteworthy event during their time in Canada was the birth in 1943 of Princess Margriet to Princess Juliana at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. The maternity ward was declared to be officially a temporary part of international territory, so that she would be born in no country and would inherit only her Dutch citizenship from her mother. In 1946, Juliana sent another 20,500 bulbs requesting that a display be created for the hospital, and promised to send 10,000 more bulbs each year.”

– Source Wikipedia, April 28th 2010

That’s all for now! Hope you get the chance to enjoy the beautiful weather, scenery, and interesting festivals going on in Ottawa this May.

Civilization, on your own terms

*Caveat: I’m late on the uptake with this, but…

The Canadian Museum of Civilization recently announced the launch of it’s mobile application for the Blackberry (an iPhone & iPod touch app was already launched in December 2009). Their app is the first museum application built for Blackberry in Canada.

Now anyone from around the world can plan their trip to the museum in Gatineau, Quebec, from their smartphones. The apps feature museum hours, special events, interactive floor maps, and public services.

While visitors are at the museum, they can also take personal tours through Canada Hall and First People’s Hall – two of Civilization’s most popular exhibits.

For instructions on downloading the app for either Blackberry or iPhone, visit:

Personally, I’d like to congratulate the Museum of Civilization on 1) being my favourite museum in the Ottawa region, and 2) for their extraordinary efforts in taking their museum to the next digital level.

Museum marketing and interactive exhibits from around the world have undergone a lot of innovation in recent years, but bringing this type of museum accessibility to BOTH iPhone and Blackberry is definitely a milestone in achievement for all Canadian museums. I would imagine that since both the Canadian War Museum and the Museum of Civilization are under the same corporation, the War Museum will probably have an application like this in the near future. Congratulations!

If you haven’t checked out the Museum of Civilization lately, go now! From Sept 2009 – Sept 2010, they have an interesting looking exhibit about the fur traders (or you can preview their virtual exhibit online).

I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living…

If you know how to finish this line, you’re probably as big a fan of Robert Munsch as I am.

Robert Munsch,

Munsch reading a story. Photo from

While I normally like to write about museums in my region (the National Capital region, or Ottawa, to be precise), I found out about this traveling exhibit and I only wish we had an appropriate museum in the city that would bring it here.

Right now, the Royal Alberta Museum is hosting Much More Munsch, an exhibit celebrating the life, stories, and characters of the well known and loved American author. Here are some excerpts from a press release that was sent out in September by the museum:

Did you know that Robert Munsch…

  • has published more than 50 books?
  • comes from a family of nine kids?
  • almost flunked out of secondary school?
  • studied for seven years to be a Jesuit priest before deciding to become an author?
  • replies to all his fan mail in the form of poetry?
  • does class visits for free, but you never know when or if he is coming?
  • tells a story over and over for years before he even writes it down?
  • has sold more books than any other Canadian author?

The London Regional Children’s Museum says the exhibit opens June 30th, but it also says it’s the “world premiere”, which I presume would mean the exhibit has already come and gone.

So, after all of this…. I’m not sure where the exhibit is going next.

If you DO know, feel free to leave some details in the comments below! I would love to see it, and would take every kid I know to go read or listen to stories and poems, and celebrate Robert Munsch the way he deserves to be celebrated.

Taking Care of Beesness

Did you know…

  • A single honeybee makes 1/10 of a teaspoon of honey over the course of her lifetime
  • Honey colour and flavour depend on the flower source
  • It takes one colony of honeybees to pollinate an acre of fruit trees
  • Honeybees are responsible for pollinating 1/3 of Canada’s food crops

I didn’t realize the importance of bees until I visited Canada Agriculture Museum‘s

Bees: A Honey of an Idea

virtual exhibit, sponsored by the Virtual Museum of Canada (via CHIN).

Canada Agriculture Museum's Virtual Exhibit "Bees: A Honey of an Idea"

Canada Agriculture Museum's Virtual Exhibit "Bees: A Honey of an Idea"

For five years I was a natural and cultural heritage interpreter in Ontario Parks, and through this experience (and growing up in the country) I developed a real appreciation of the wonderful assets nature gives us.  I love discovering and learning about the intricacies of the world’s living web, and I found that this site touched me personally because it highlighted the formerly unknown (to me) value of the stinging little suckers.  Yes, I was aware that bees were important for pollinating flowers, but I had no idea that $1billion of Canada’s agricultural economy relies on bees for the pollination fruits, veggies, and legumes, and that the quality of the fruit (symmetry, size, etc) also relies on bee pollination.

I’ll also be honest here, I work with the designer of the site, but I truly think it’s the nicest virtual exhibit from the VMC yet! The homepage is a beautiful “flight”  across a fields, orchards, gardens and beehives, with buttons that take you to cute pages filled with pictures and detailed content.  The information is thorough, the pictures are beautiful, and the content is interesting.

Last point – I found out about Bees exhibits through the Council of Heritage Organizations in Ottawa‘s newsletter, and if you’re interested in checking out some live Bee exhibit action, here’s where you can visit:
Municipal Library of Gatineau –   Bowater
855, de la Gappe Boulevard, Gatineau
7:15 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Thursday, February 18, 2010

or, from March 1st onward, you can visit Canada Agriculture Museum to see the full Taking Care of Beesness exhibition! Also, as of May, there will be a live hive at the museum!

And send me some feedback if you like the site, or if you visit the real exhibit!  It’s always nice to know I’m not the only one interested in the wonderful world of nature (and museums!).

Explore your cultural background at Ontario Heritage Week – February 15th-22nd, 2010

Scoreboard for Ontario

+ 1 point – for making Family Day and Ontario Heritage Week at the same time

– 1 point – for no one knowing about it.

Did you know that next week is Ontario Heritage Week?

I sure didn’t.

And I wouldn’t have known, had I not had Google Alerts set up for “Brockville Museum” and recieved an article about an event going on in Prescott this Saturday, February 13th.

As it turns out, the Col. Edward Jessup Branch of The United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada is hosting an event to assist those seeking information about their ancestors. The seminar will take place at the Grenville Genealogical Society’s headquarters at the old Prescott train station from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 13th (at Railway Avenue on the south side of the CN mainline in the west-central Prescott.) And hey, if you’re not a UEL (United Empire Loyalist), you can always go for the free Root Beer and Cookies! That’s enough motivation for me!

For more information visit: The St. Lawrence EMC or Col. Edward Jessup Branch’s event page.

For everyone else in Ontario,

Here is the list of events going on in your city or town this Ontario Heritage Week.

Personally, I would like to go to the Diefenbunker‘s Heritage Day Film Night, on Tuesday, February 16, 2010. Here’s the write up I found:

3911 Carp Road

Contact: Eric Espig, Programs and Public Relations Manager
Telephone: 613-839-0007, ext. 224

This year’s Heritage Day theme is “The Heritage of Sport and Recreation.” To celebrate this theme, the Diefenbunker Museum is screening “Summit on Ice,” a documentary capturing the highlights of all eight games from the exhilarating 1972 Summit Series between the Soviet Union and Canada. The Summit Series can be viewed as the Cold War fought through sport. Experience the unique opportunity to relive this historic game in the underground Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum. Tours of the National Historic Site will be offered an hour before screen time.

Oooo,  a museum tour of a Cold War bunker, AND an evening of Russia/Canada hockey, all in one night, right before the Olympics? I’m in!

Happy Family Day/Ontario Heritage Week everyone!

Celebrate Black History Month with the National Archives

I’ve never really thought of the Library and Archives Canada as a museum. I guess it’s because I’ve never actually been there for anything other than catered functions (I was one of the girls walking around with hors d’oeuvres. “Would you like to try duck confit/gazpacho/smoked salmon?”).

William Hall, born in 1825 in Summerville, Nova Scotia received the Victoria Cross, the highest British military award for bravery

William Hall, born in 1825 in Summerville, Nova Scotia received the Victoria Cross, the highest British military award for bravery

Regardless of my experiences, the LAC is registered under the Canadian Museums Association, and I subscribe to their RSS feed.  I found Library and Archives Canada’s website filled with resources related to Black Canadian genealogy, the anti-slavery movement in Canada, achievements, athletics and more. This site also linked to Black History Ottawa,  where you can find all of the Black History Month events details.

Here’s just a sample of some of the events you can attend this February.

Theme: Our Canadian Story

Sunday, January 31
Black History Month Launch & Opening Ceremony
Library & Archives of Canada, 395 Wellington Street
3:00-5:00 p.m.
Free Admission.  Donations to Black History Ottawa gratefully accepted.
An evening of inspiration and entertainment reflecting the theme Our Canadian Story, to highlight the diverse and little-known stories and contributions of past and present persons of African descent in the building of Canada, to celebrate the attachment of Canadian Blacks to this country, and to underscore the importance of developing our future leaders to assist in building a vibrant community.  Also, 2010 BHM Proclamation by the Mayor of Ottawa and Presentation of 2010 Black History Ottawa Community Builder Awards.
Black History Ottawa acknowledges the kind generosity of the Library & Archives of Canada for this event.

Tuesday, February 2
An evening with Angela Davis
Bronson Centre, 211 Bronson street
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

The Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) is hosting Angela Davis to kick off Black History Month activities on campus. The former professor at the University of California and political activist will be addressing the crowd on issues relating to identity and there will be a Question and Answer period. Tickets are 10$ in advance, 20$ at the door for students and 25$ for community members. Tickets are available at the SFUO office located at 85 University street, room 07 at the University of Ottawa. For information :

Wednesday February 3
Film: The Woman I Have Become (in French)
Rainbow Cinema St. Laurent Shopping Centre   1200 St. Laurent Blvd.
5:30 – 7.30 p.m.

Free Admission   A documentary profiling the lives of strong and courageous Black Canadian women of African and Caribbean ancestry living with AIDS in Ontario. Developed by Women’s Health in Women’s Hands, in partnership with the African & Caribbean Council on HIV/AIDS in Ontario, Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention, African Community Health Services, Voices of Positive Women and Africans in Partnership Against AIDS. With funding from the AIDS Bureau of the Ontario Ministry of Health & Long-term Care. Parental discretion advised. Presented as a community service by the Overbrook-Forbes Community Resource Centre, in partnership with Ottawa Public Health and the Vanier Community Service Centre.

Information : Armand Kayolo , agent de développement communautaire 613.745.0073 Ext. 119      Barra Thiom   Agent de développement communautaire   Community Developer (613) 744-2892  ext. 1059

Wednesday February 3
Sauti Yetu (Our Voice) presented by the African Heritage Centre
Library & Archives of Canada, 395 Wellington Street
7:30 pm.

Admission: $15 in advance & $20 at the door. Traditional Dances, Songs, Drumming, Belly Dancing & much more. Guest speaker: Hon. Madeleine Meilleur (Ontario Minister of Community and Social Services and Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs).
613.860.3022 day time, evenings.
613.612.5533, after 7:00 pm. on weekdays & weekends.

Thursday, February 4
Ottawa Police Service Black History Month Celebration
Ottawa Police Service Headquarters, 474 Elgin Street
4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Free Admission
Come and join the Ottawa Police Service as they raise their Black History Month banner in celebration of Black History Month. Music and refreshments provided. Buses #5 and #6.
613-236-1222 Ext. 5014
Saturday, February 6
Film: Black in Ottawa & Intergenerational forum
Library & Archives of Canada
395 Wellington Street
2.00 – 5.00 p.m.

Black In Ottawa – film screening & panel discussion on Canadian black identity and how it is affected by the existing generational divide. This event is intended to launch a community-wide constructive and fruitful dialogue between the generations on how to build bridges and create an authentically Canadian black identity. The filmmakers who made the documentary “Black in Ottawa” will be in attendance. Panellists will include black youth and elders.
Free admission.

Sunday, February 7
Children’s Stories in the Diaspora
Ottawa Public Library, Nepean Centrepointe Branch, Children’s Program
Room, 101 Centrepointe Drive
2:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m.
Free Admission.  Donations to Black History Ottawa gratefully accepted.
Listen to readers from the black community share children’s stories written by black
authors from the diaspora. Books from the library will be on display and a local
bookseller will have books for sale on site. All are welcome to attend this family event.
A partnership between the Ottawa Public Library and Black History Ottawa.

Thursday February 11 – Sunday February 14

International African Inventors’ Museum Canada Science & Technology Museum – 1867 St. Laurent Blvd.

9.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. Admission: Regular Canada Science Museum fees. Inspirational exhibit of inventions and innovations by scientists and pioneers of African descent. Science and health presentations and demonstrations to primary school children and families.    Information   : 613.567.0600   or and

Wednesday, February 17
Canada-U.S.A. Black Studies Mini Film Festival
Library and Archives Canada – 395 Wellington Street
5:00 pm
Featuring Distinguished Actor/Director/Producer Anthony Sherwood and the following documentaries:  Enslavement to Emancipation, a documentary on the history of Washington, DC; Black, Copper, & Bright: The District of Columbia’s Black Civil War Regiment, based on the book by Historian C.R. Gibbs; 100 Years of Faith, a documentary on the oldest Black church in Montreal and a salute to William Hall, the first Black person, the first Nova Scotian, and the first Canadian seaman to receive the Victoria Cross, the British Empire’s highest award for bravery.
Marc Delorme
Event Coordinator, Exhibitions and Public Programs
Library and Archives Canada
Tel: 613 947-5770

Saturday 20 February
Nigerian Panorama
Library & Archives of Canada, 395 Wellington Street
2.00 – 5.00 p.m.

Admission: $5.00
Art exhibit, music, dance, fashion and culture from Nigeria. Come and experience the sights and sounds of Africa’s most populous and vibrant nation.
Brenda Obaseki

Saturday, February 20
Marconi Centre – 1026 Baseline Road, Ottawa, ON
“Help Haiti Rise Again” Inspiritional Mics Black Tie Affair Gala.
GPM Music Group presents the 2nd annual Black Tie Affair Gala . This luxurious experience will take you on a journey with a red carpet entrance, interview and pictures, live entertainment, stand up comedian, after party and more. Tickets will be on sale January 9th – February 15th for $55.00 per person. Tickets will be at Salem Christian Storehouse. For more info or tickets, please call 613-277-2777 or 613-797-9591