Canada’s most visited museum celebrates 150th anniversary

May 10, 2006

Canada’s most visited museum celebrates 150th anniversary

Gatineau, Quebec, May 10, 2006 — The Canadian Museum of Civilization is celebrating its 150th anniversary with a new exhibition chronicling the organization’s long and rich history. This exhibition on the CMC’s 150-year history features archival photographs, ancient artifacts and historic information that together recount the dramatic past of Canada’s most popular museum.

“The Museum of Civilization tells the story of human history and identity in Canada. This new exhibition shows how the Museum has grown and matured over a century, helping to define us as citizens of Canada and the world,” said Dr. Victor Rabinovitch, President and CEO of the CMC Corporation. “Canadians can take pride in the fact that their Museum of Civilization is recognized as one of the world’s finest museological institutions.”

The exhibition begins with the 1842 founding of the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC), now part of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). As staff of the Survey fanned out across the country, they gathered cultural information and artifacts, as well as carried out their main tasks in geology and science. Their collections created the foundation for Canada’s first national museum when it opened in 1856.

Highlights include aboriginal clothing and hunting equipment, Haida masks, wax music cylinders, and works of art and culture from many of Canada’s ethnic and regional communities. Archival photographs round out the exhibition, showcasing the Museum’s historic exhibitions, activities and expeditions, as well as the fascinating personalities who helped build and shape the institution. Today, the CMC welcomes 1.4 million visitors a year, placing it among the most visited museums in the world.

This long-term exhibition, which opens to the public on May 11, 2006, in the W. E. Taylor Salon, is just one of the many special events and activities planned for the CMC’s 150th Anniversary.

On Sunday May 14, the Museum hosts an Open House, featuring free admission, behind-the-scenes tours, staged readings by Dramamuse, the Museum’s theatre company, activities on the outdoor Plaza (weather permitting), a giant birthday cake, a barbecue and more.

“A national institution that predates the establishment of the country itself is certainly something to celebrate,” said Claudette Roy, CM, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the CMCC. “We hope that, when we throw open our doors to the public on May 14, many Canadians and their guests will join us for what promises to be an outstanding celebration.”

In addition, the CMC is marking this milestone with a new book on the Museum’s 150-year history, a commemorative stamp from Canada Post, a limited-edition poster, a lecture series, dramatic performances, and the giant Mozaïk Civilization mural.

The Museum is also launching a national fundraising campaign. The National Collection Fund will support the acquisition of artifacts that might otherwise be lost from our national heritage. Louise Poirier, Councillor for the City of Gatineau, and Jim Orban, Publisher of The Ottawa Citizen, will lend their support to this worthy cause by co-chairing the campaign. In addition, the Museum will host a fundraising event, the Civilization Costume Ball – A Journey Through Time, on Sept. 20, 2006. All profits will go to the National Collection Fund.

For details on specific events, please visit the Museum’s Web site, , or call the CMC information line