Virtual Explorations

Written by Phil Koch

Posted May 15, 2020

In a time of necessary physical distancing, Canadian museums and galleries are finding ways to offer continued access to their collections as well as to the insights and lessons provided by installations and curatorial staff.

For instance, shortly after being forced to close its doors to the public in March, the Winnipeg-based Canadian Museum for Human Rights created a guided virtual tour that allows people across the country — and around the world — to explore its spaces and exhibits from a safe distance.

An initial twenty-five-minute tour of the museum’s Indigenous Perspectives and Canadian Journeys galleries includes the story of human rights defender Viola Desmond.

The Vancouver Art Gallery responded to the temporary closure of its exhibition spaces with its new Art Connects series, which features interactive conversations with members of the local and international arts communities plus activities such as live tours.

Meanwhile, the Virtual Museum of Canada provides remote access to museum exhibitions and community stories from across the country. Visitors can tour historic sites such as the Monastery of the Ursulines of Québec and can explore online exhibits such as Nikkei Tapestry: Japanese Canadians in Southern Alberta, from the Galt Museum & Archives in Lethbridge, Alberta, and Gold: A Nova Scotia Treasure, from the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax.

Check to see how museums in your own region are offering online access, and take the opportunity to explore exhibits from other parts of the country without having to leave home.

This article originally appeared in the June-July 2020 issue of Canada’s History.

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