Area museums given presence at city hall

Area museums given presence at city hall

Posted Jun 6, 2013 By John Curry

EMC news - Two West Carleton museums now have a huge presence at Ottawa city hall.

They are two of 10 banners promoting the 10 community museums in the city of Ottawa which were unveiled at a ceremony at Ottawa city hall on Thursday, May 16. The 10 museums are Pinhey's Point Historic Site, the Diefenbunker Cold War Museum, the Goulbourn Museum, Nepean Museum, Bytown Museum, Osgoode Museum, Watson's Mill, the Billings National Historic Site, Cumberland Heritage Village Museum and Vanier Museopark. The banners are hanging on both sides of the five massive granite pillars that are about 12 feet wide and 20 feet tall that are located in the heart of city hall, right in the centre of the central foyer area. Each banner covers about threequarters of the side of each pillar.

There is also a container below each banner which holds promotional information about the museum publicized on the banner above.

There will be quite a few eyes possibly viewing these banners which are meant to be on permanent display on these pillars. That's because 10,000 people visit city hall each day.

This was pointed out by City of Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson in his remarks at the ceremony launching the banners. The mayor told how he was walking by the city hall foyer pillars once day and noticing their blank appearance, he wanted to enhance their use.

He recounted how it has been an objective to try to make city hall more of a people place, citing the examples of the Rink of Dreams, the relocation of the city's Sports Hall of Fame from Scotiabank Place, the Barbara Ann Scott figure skating exhibit, the Key to the City display, the Order of Ottawa space and the presence of an art gallery as ways that this is being accomplished. And now these new banners, making city hall "a living museum" celebrating the success and activities of Ottawa's community museums, is another aspect of this, a natural extension of the initiative, to quote the mayor.

The mayor noted that the local community museums are terrific but without the promotion budgets of the national museums located in Ottawa, their presence is sometimes forgotten.

These banners hanging at Ottawa city hall will give some great exposure and advertisement for the city's community museums and their special events, the mayor said.

Calling them "beautiful banners," mayor Watson said that the city is fortunate to have such great local museums located in all parts of the city. He said that there is a need for more people to visit them and said that this banner program at city hall will give people a glimpse of what these museums are offering.

He said that with the once-in-a-generation opportunity coming up regarding Canada's 150th birthday in 2017, he said that there is a need to let visitors to the city know that there is more to Ottawa than just the downtown museums and national institutions.

The ceremony, which saw the launch of these giant museum banners at Ottawa city hall, also marked the announcement of an "Inquiring Minds" initiative in which schools will be able to spend a full week at a local community museum, getting hands-on experience in these historical environments. Such a program has been popular in Calgary and the Ottawa Museum Network is now initiating a similar program in the city of Ottawa.

This "Inquiring Minds" program will be rolled out this coming September, with classes from grades two through eight eligible to participate. Although the total cost of each week of the program at a community museum is $3,000, given the bussing and other costs involved, the cost for a participating school will be only $250.

The "Inquiring Minds" program will be developed to tie in with classroom curriculum and to offer an opportunity for students to pursue the critical inquiry learning that is a goal in today's education.

The Ottawa Museum Network was founded in 2007 as a result of the city of Ottawa's Museum Sustainability Plan. It works to raise awareness of the 10 community museums in the city of Ottawa, focusing on local heritage.

Area museums given presence at city hall