Modern Museums Ottawa’s museums offer innovative programming!
Not content to wow visitors with special exhibits and well-curated permanent displays, museums in Canada’s capital region are expanding their options.
The Canadian Museum of Nature, for example, has launched a monthly Nature Nocturne series. On the last Friday of each month (except June, July and August), the museum turns into a giant nightclub. Visitors can dance until midnight, meet artists in various galleries and explore four floors of exhibits in a 100-year-old castle-like building.
The National Gallery of Canada is encouraging audience participation in their upcoming summer exhibit called Sakahàn, their largest ever survey of recent Indigenous art from around the world. Artist Marie Watt is creating an installation called Blanket Stories: Seven Generations, Adawe, and Hearth and is asking guests to donate a wool or natural fibre blanket—along with their stories. The blankets will be folded and stacked as a welcoming pole for the Sakahàn exhibit, which runs May 17-September 2, 2013. In return, guests receive a signed silkscreen print.
But the National Gallery’s not finished—they also have self-guided, interactive tours of their grounds, home to amazing sculptures like Louise Bourgeois’ Maman (a huge spider) and Michel de Broin’s haunting jumble of streetlamps damaged by Hurricane Katrina, Majestic.
The Canadian War Museum is known for its innovative programming. Leading up to Valentine’s Day, it encourages people in its Valentines for Veterans program to create and send messages to veterans.
The lesser-known Bytown Museum tells the story of Ottawa the city, not Ottawa the capital, with a specific focus on the construction of the Rideau Canal. In Rebranding Bytown (which runs until March 31), artist-in-residence Michèle Provost repurposes often-overlooked artefacts from the museum’s collection as faux souvenirs. It’s an interesting critique of marketing and promotion at museums.
The Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum is definitely worth the half-hour drive west of downtown. A four-storey underground bunker built to withstand a nuclear attack is of course unique, but they also feature monthly Cold War-themed movie nights, children’s spy camps during school holidays, and have even hosted weddings!
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