As the Canadian Canoe Museum raises funds for its new facility at the Peterborough Lift Lock, staff are already thinking about how to continue to tell the story of the canoe’s place in Canada. While they were doing the best they could in the former Outboard Marine Corporation plant on Monaghan Road, curator Jeremy Ward says they are excited by the possibilities of the new space.
“What we now have is an opportunity to start from scratch, to create the building, the exhibits and all the other activities in the new facility all in a purpose-built home that’s both inside and outside, it’s on water, it’s going to be an incredible space,” Ward said.
Museums have changed radically over the years. No longer a simple display of artifacts, modern museums need to engage with visitors. The Canadian Canoe Museum’s exhibit design committee chair Dianne Lister says their collection of canoes, kayaks and other watercraft each has a story behind it. She says 21 per cent of the canoes and watercraft in the museum’s collection came from the Indigenous community, and Lister says the museum will work with them when creating new exhibits around them.
“We want to talk to the communities that actually built these canoes, this was part of their culture, and provide a platform to co-create with us so we are not just listening and regurgitating what we think the story is,” she said.
The new $65 million museum is in the midst of a fundraising campaign. Ward says when the board gives final approval to the plans for the new facility, it is expected to take two and a half years to complete.