12 November 2017




It’s me again with another recap of a MMSt day trip! This past Friday, November 10th, iSchool students, as well as a few guests from the University of the Western Cape, South Africa, hopped on a bus to Hamilton. The day started off with an unconventional tour of Dundurn National Historic Site where trip participants learned about the interpretation strategies employed there. (Side note: there were free shortbread cookies, made in the historic kitchen, for us to try! DELICIOUS.)

Trip participants were greeted warmly at Dundurn NHS despite the cold! Photo courtesy of Kathleen Vahey.
After Dundurn, our trusty bus driver took us to the nearby Hamilton Civic Museums offsite collections storage facility where we learned about the facility, the recent collections management work, and conservation going on there. They recently had high-density storage shelving installed and the collections management geek in me gawked over the push button controls!

At the offsite collections storage facility! Photo courtesy of Kathleen Vahey.
For the next adventure, we met at the Art Gallery of Hamilton (AGH) and discussed the institution's history of collecting and their new collection and exhibition Carving Home: the Chedoke Collection of Inuit Art (if you haven’t seen this exhibition, I would highly recommend it – also, chat with a trip participant about the interesting dynamics of this collection). We also received a curatorial talk on the Shelley Niro: 1779 exhibition.

It was an engaging and delightful day, despite the cold weather. Take a look at the highlights written by trip participants:

"I was very interested to learn about the history and issues in the acquisition process of the AGH collection, as well as learning about their newest acquisitions: Inuit art from the Hamilton Hospital!" - Laetitia Dandavino-Tardif, MMSt student 

Tobi Bruce, Senior Curator of Canadian Historical Art, gives
insight on the Art Gallery of Hamilton's collection practices.
Photo courtesy of Kathleen Vahey.
"It was wonderful to have a different kind of access to museum professionals, and being given a behind-the-scenes tour and information not normally shared with the public. These trips are fantastic in bringing us closer to collections and making connections with Ontario museum professionals." - Lucy Beale, MMSt student 

"An amazing process around the Inuit collection. Will definitely be watching it closely." - William Ellis, University of the Western Cape

"Fantastic experience in Hamilton. Interesting processes and engagements. Excited to see the issues unravel." - Sam Longford, University of the Western Cape

"Hamilton heritage institutions are open and interesting in many ways. The trip was worth it. Thanks to the organizers. 2017 heritage studies class rocks." - Luvuyo Nduzo, University of the Western Cape
At the Art Gallery of Hamilton. Photo courtesy
of Kathleen Vahey.
"Thank you for arranging this very interesting field trip. It is really encouraging and inspiring hearing the Canadian museums' dedication to changing their collections, making them more inclusive and addressing past injustices." - Kristy Stone, University of the Western Cape 

"I really loved Dundurn. It was gorgeous and so interesting to get a combination of a regular tour and a kind of meta-tour with discussion of the tour process and practice themselves. The Art Gallery was great too, so interesting to see the thoughtful way they're handling the delicate Inuit collections." - Emily Williams, MMSt student

"So grateful for the opportunity not only to visit some interesting institutions and spend time with their resident experts, but also to have a chance to speak with and listen to my international museum studies colleagues! Thank you!" - Fiona Ashley, UK Museum Studies graduate 

Photo courtesy of Kathleen Vahey.
I would like to extend a sincere thank you to: Franca Hicks, Victoria Bick, and Janet Kronick at Dundurn NHS; Roberta Sealy at the storage facility; and Tobi Bruce and Melissa Bennett at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, for hosting iSchool students and guests at their institutions and for being so willing and eager to share some industry secrets, advice, and strategies with us.

I would also like to thank Prof. Cara Krmpotich for accompanying us and for bringing along iSchool guests and museum professionals from South Africa on the trip. Their questions and conversations greatly enhanced the tours and we hope they enjoyed their time in Hamilton. Lastly, I’d like to thank all the students who joined me on this trip. A lot of planning goes into organizing these trips, but they wouldn’t happen without you. Thank you for being excellent representatives of the Faculty of Information. Keep your eye out for information on the third and final day trip in February!

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