Former Canadian Museum of History archaeologist, Dr. David Morrison, recipient of the Massey Medal

November 17, 2017


For immediate release

Gatineau, Quebec, November 17, 2017 — The Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS) and the Canadian Museum of History congratulate archaeologist Dr. David Morrison for receiving the RCGS Massey Medal.

The award was co-presented to Dr. Morrison by Alex Trebek, celebrity host of the popular game show Jeopardy! and honorary president of the RCGS, and The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, at a special award ceremony held last evening at the Canadian Museum of History. Recognized as one of the world’s foremost scholars in Arctic archaeology and a leader in the museum field, Dr. David Morrison received this distinction for his outstanding achievement in the investigation and public interpretation of the history of Canada.

“We are extremely proud that the Royal Canadian Geographical Society has awarded the prestigious Massey Medal to Dr. David Morrison for his enormous contributions to the fields of archaeology and geography in Canada,” said Mark O’Neill, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of History. “Dr. Morrison’s achievements in Arctic archaeology, and most recently in developing the new Canadian History Hall, which presents more than 15,000 years of archaeology and history, will have a lasting impact in helping Canadians better understand their history and their country for years to come.”

Established in 1959 by the Massey Foundation, the Massey Medal is awarded annually by the RCGS. Its purpose is to recognize outstanding career achievement in the exploration, development or description of the geography of Canada. Since its creation, nearly 60 people have received this distinction, including Diamond Jenness, a renowned Canadian archaeologist and anthropologist who was part of the Canadian Arctic Expedition from 1913 to 1916.

“Thanks to Dr. Morrison” said John Geiger, CEO of the RCGS, “more than 15,000 years of our country’s history is accessible to all Canadians. His work on the new Canadian History Hall is doubtless one of his greatest achievements. The Massey Medal recognizes his efforts to make Canada better known.”

Dr. David Morrison worked at the Canadian Museum of History for more than 30 years. He was, among many other things, director of the Archaeology and History Division and co-lead curator of the First Peoples Hall. He not only led the Museum’s work on repatriation of archaeological remains to Indigenous communities, but also set standards in repatriation practices across North America. With more than 20 years of field experience in the Canadian Arctic, Dr. Morrison wrote numerous books and scholarly articles on the history and archaeology of northern Canada. Much of what is known about the history of Inuit and Inuvialuit culture across the Canadian Arctic is a direct result of his prolific fieldwork and ground-breaking publications. He retired from the Canadian Museum of History in 2017.

Located on the shores of the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec, the Canadian Museum of History welcomes over 1.2 million visitors each year. The Museum’s principal role is to enhance Canadians’ knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the events, experiences, people and objects that have shaped Canada’s history and identity, as well as to enhance Canadians’ awareness of world history and culture. Work of the Canadian Museum of History is made possible in part through financial support of the Government of Canada. 

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society is a non-profit organization founded in 1929 that aims to make Canada better known to Canadians and the world. The Society publishes Canadian Geographic and Géographica magazines, and its educational program, Canadian Geographic Education, has more than 19,000 educatormembers.

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From left: Mark O’Neill, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of History, Dr. David Morrison, James Fleck, Interim Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Canadian Museum of History.

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