Travelling Exhibitions Are the Best Way to Interact!

While I was busy taking down the Creatures of Light exhibition, with my hands deep in dust, I noticed that although the museum hosts a great many travelling exhibitions from various museums, few people know it also produces its own travelling shows! Have you ever noticed one of these exhibitions from the Canadian Museum of Nature in your vicinity? The exhibits department where I am completing my work term offers “turnkey” exhibitions that are ready to travel anywhere in Canada.

An exhibit module in the exhibition.

Our Feathered Friends, a full-sized travelling exhibition created by the Canadian Museum of Nature. See it in Brampton, Ontario, at the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives, from March 1 to May 31, 2015. Image: Canadian Museum of Nature

One person’s discovery is another person’s windfall

As I worked on various travelling exhibitions, I realized they had a lot to bring to communities and institutions. Indeed, if you don’t get the chance to come to the Canadian Museum of Nature in person, these shows get around and keep you informed about our collections, research and expertise. They are considered a way of sharing resources throughout the country, and can also be seen as a way for institutions to interact between themselves. It makes things easier for those hosting our exhibitions, because they need only to plan the space required to host the event. Isn’t that a great idea?

In the following video, the director of the Peterborough Museum & Archives, Susan Neale, shares her views and speaks about the benefits and interest generated by the exhibition Canada’s Waterscapes.

See visitors to Canada’s Waterscapes interacting with the exhibits, and hear museum staff describe the exhibition’s success and impact and comment on the positive behind-the-scenes experience.

An impressive amount of work goes into creating a winning tour

This year (2014), the travelling-exhibition programme is celebrating its 41 years of existence, and its success can be attributed to Rachel Gervais, the programme coordinator.

Before working with Rachel, I never realized the amount of work put in over all these years to come up with content, modules, specimens and educational activities that can be adapted to various audiences and exhibition venues such as museums, libraries, interpretation centres and schools. This colossal task includes planning venues and ensuring that each travelling exhibition is delivered and returned in good condition with no parts missing.

Collage: An open suitcase with boxes and interpretive panels, and boxes and interpretive panels exhibited on a table.

The suitcase exhibition on minerals. Easy to carry, and ideal for hallways or small rooms. Posters, interpretive panels, specimens and educational activities showcase the diversity of the mineral world in a nutshell. Images: © Canadian Museum of Nature

The exhibition set up in a gallery.

Thanks to the Canada’s Waterscapes exhibition, you can discover true-to-life specimens and impressive modules. This type of life-sized exhibition is great for any large venue and comes with all the structures needed to set up the exhibition in a flash. Image: © Canadian Museum of Nature

Personally, when my work term ends, I’m going back to Montréal to check out the cultural venues in the area in the hopes of seeing one of these travelling exhibitions! With 16 full-size exhibitions and more than nine suitcase exhibitions on tour, you are sure to come upon one of them in your vicinity. Your municipal library might just be the next venue hosting one of our exhibitions in the near future!

Translated from French.

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