History in the Making: Stories of Today, Captured for Tomorrow

August 2, 2023

What should we preserve today, for the Museum of the future?

This is the question we asked ourselves while brainstorming ideas for the Canadian Museum of History’s new podcast. We were looking for a way to share the exciting work the Museum does every day — collecting oral histories, collaborating with Indigenous communities, and researching objects for its collection. You might be surprised to know how much thinking about the future goes into the work we do to preserve the past.

Today, we’re thrilled to introduce you to the Museum’s new podcast series, Artifactuality. Hosted by award-winning novelist and TV personality, Kim Thúy, the series is a great example of how the Museum is harnessing the power of digital storytelling to reach audiences wherever they are. In both its content and format, Artifactuality has truly been driven by the Museum’s vision statement, “dare to inspire tomorrow’s history.”

Image of Vietnamese refugees in boat

Vietnamese refugees, PH2 Phil Eggman, 1984. National Archives and Records Administration, Combined Military Service Digital Photographic Files, 1982–2007. Photo relates to the Artifactuality episode “Hearts of Freedom.”

In this five-episode series, you’ll hear the diverse voices and unique stories of people from coast to coast to coast: from 20th century stories of Black hockey players in the Maritimes, to the experiences of refugees from Southeast Asia. From the life of Karim Rashid, a world-famous industrial designer, to conversations with Blackfoot Elders in Alberta about the decolonization of archeology, to exploring gender politics of the past 40 years with Mitsou, a Québécoise cultural icon.

These people and their stories are history in the making. Through Artifactuality, we capture their memories, experiences and perspectives. You’ll also learn about fascinating objects in the Museum’s collection that enrich these first-person narratives. This includes an obsidian blade that could be as much as 13,000 years old, and a garbage can so thoughtfully designed it practically invites your trash right in!

We invite you to listen in on history in the making, and would love to hear what you think. Grab your phone, tablet or laptop, go to your favourite podcast app (Google, Spotify or Apple), find Artifactuality, and press play. Or go to historymuseum.ca/podcast for more information and related blog posts.

Plans for a second season of Artifactuality are already underway.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

Article by: Dr. Jenny Ellison, Manager, Indigenous Peoples and Early Canada

Robyn Jeffrey, Manager, Digital Engagement Strategy and Publications