In Conversation With Glenn Ogden, Director, Exhibitions, Canadian War Museum

June 26, 2024
Glenn Ogden

Glenn Ogden, Director, Exhibitions, Canadian War Museum

What does your role as Director of Exhibitions involve?

As Director of Exhibitions, I’m responsible for our permanent, special and travelling exhibitions at the Museum. My primary focus is to ensure that we are planning for, developing and launching new exhibition experiences for our visitors while maintaining and sustaining our permanent gallery exhibitions and public spaces.

How do you decide what exhibitions to produce?

We follow a process known as the Experience Development Process, which involves engaging colleagues from across the War Museum and Museum of History to assess ideas, make recommendations and—with senior leadership approval—develop an exhibition. Depending on the size and complexity of the exhibition, the process can take three to five years.

War Museum exhibitions flow from our mandate as Canada’s national museum of military history. The subjects and themes we present all connect with this aspect in a fundamental way. The exhibitions we present are grounded in the Museum’s research strategy, seek to play to the strengths of our curatorial expertise, and highlight our collections while connecting with Canadians in an engaging way.

What can visitors expect from the current special exhibition Outside the Lines on display at the War Museum.

Visitors can expect to be immersed in the visually rich world of Canadian military art as seen through the eyes and works of numerous women artists. The exhibition explores how the way in which women present conflict has changed over time. It features more than 70 works spanning two centuries that are shown in a very engaging and elegant exhibition setting. Visitors will see some iconic pieces from our collections, as well as items loaned to us from across the country.

What do you see as the current trends in exhibitions?

The most significant trends are those that influence the stories we tell and how we tell them. Today, it is crucial for a national museum to ensure it integrates a broad range of perspectives and experiences from diverse groups into its exhibitions, and involve them in the storytelling and presentation of their stories.

Where do you see Museum exhibitions 10 years from now?

The Museum is starting to look ahead at renewing our permanent gallery spaces. While they have been extremely successful in engaging our audiences, some of the approaches and techniques used are showing their age. We will be looking at updating our storyline; integrating new perspectives, objects and experiences; and adopting new presentation techniques that will engage our visitors well into the coming decades.