24 February 2018




For the third and final time, I’ll be giving you a recap of the final MMSt day trip! On Friday, February 23rd, a handful of iSchool students braved what seemed like the only cold day in February and made the trek north to Markham. 

MMSt students listening to the staff at Markham Museum. Photo courtesy of Kathleen Vahey. 
Our first stop was the Markham Museum, where we learned about how the institution is changing their interpretation strategies and redefining their curatorial approach to the onsite historic buildings to be more engaging for its existing audiences. 

Laetitia, Nicole, and Emma participating in the
digital scavenger hunt at Markham Museum.
Photo courtesy of Kathleen Vahey.
After hearing a bit about the history of the museum and City of Markham, we got to explore parts of the 25-acre site all while participating in a digital survey about their curatorial decisions. The answers from this survey will help museum staff understand visitor perspectives.

After a quick lunch, we journeyed to the nearby Varley Art Gallery. There, we were provided with a tour of the gallery spaces and engaged in interesting discussions with the Gallery’s curator.

We were also given a tour of the collections storage area, where we were presented with two relevant ‘case studies’, aka real issues or problems the museum has faced and how they have dealt with them. Students were encouraged to think and respond to the case studies as well. Finally, we were given an introduction to the educational and public programming side of the Gallery as well.

Varley Art Gallery curator Anik Gaude speaks to MMSt & CRO students about the travelling exhibition on display. Photo courtesy of Kathleen Vahey.
Despite the cold temperature and the freezing rain, the day was full of engaging talks and interesting insights into the museum and cultural heritage field by a range of museum professionals. Take a look at some of the highlights from trip participants:

Hannah on a tractor in the interactive exhibit
at Markham Museum. Photo courtesy of
Kathleen Vahey.
"I felt seeing an art gallery and a revitalized historical pioneer museum in the same day was a great way to see different collections and exhibiting practices. The highlight was definitely the interactives for kids at the Markham Museum. I could have stayed and played for hours!" - Kristen McLaughlin

"Great to get the chance to talk to professionals about how they've been solving problems in their museums." - Sam Kilpatrick 

"I really liked all the interactives at the Markham Museum, especially the corn maze!" - Hannah Hadfield 

"So great meeting museum professionals and speaking candidly with them! It was such an awesome experience, especially at institutions you may not typically go to!"         - Nicole Kolkman 

"It was a very educative day. I especially liked visiting the vaults and storage areas of the museum and art gallery. It was great to learn and receive tips from various museum professionals."                 - Laetitia Dandavino-Tardif 

Viewing the art at the Varley Art Gallery.
Photo courtesy of Kathleen Vahey.
I would like to extend a sincere thank you to: Andrea Carpenter, Janet Reid, Mark Scheibmayr, and Tammy Law at Markham Museum; and Fraser Ching, Anik Glaude, and John Abrams at the Varley Art Gallery, for hosting MMSt and CRO students and for being so generous and eager to speak with us.

I would also like to thank Prof. Matt Brower for taking time out of his busy schedule to accompany us, as well as all the students who took a day out of their reading week. I hope you found the trip worthwhile.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone who participated in the MMSt trips and who were excellent representatives of the Faculty of Information. It’s not an easy task to plan three separate day trips to multiple institutions throughout the year while also juggling planning other MUSSA social events, a full course load, and volunteering. While it is a bit hectic, it’s all worth it when we get to visit those institutions and speak to different museum professionals to see what they are doing and how it relates to what we are learning.

Good luck next year!

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