By Liz Watkins-McLean
Happy New Year! Although I was only at the Museum for five months in 2022, it certainly feels like we completed a year’s worth of activity in that time alone!
Team photo before we broke for a short holiday break at the end of December. From L-R, Heather, Liz, Alannah, JoAnne
The month of December felt like a grand finale of sorts at the Museum. “A Winter’s Eve Light” that took place on December 13th brought in about 1500 (!) people to the Museum, the biggest crowd it has seen in a long time. After that event, we were all able to catch our breath for a moment, but January is proving to be a very busy month, too. Not in a “1500-people-at-the-museum” sense, but a hub of activity behind the scenes.
The team is working on four brand new exhibit installations, developing a suite of programs and events for the Winter (including March Break!), processing artifact and archival donations…AND we are workshopping a brand new mission and vision for the Museum that will guide our work for the next five years, to boot!
January has always felt like a good planning time for me. Not because it’s a new calendar year – in fact, it always felt funny to me that we start a New Year in the middle of Winter – but because Winter in this part of the world feels quiet everywhere…it feels more natural to do work that is more inward than outward. At the time of writing this, we only have about ten hours of daylight, but by the time all these new exhibits are launched and programs taking place, we will have gained another hour of daylight for a grand total of eleven hours! It may not sound like much, but that consistent increase in daylight helps energize us, and may make it easier for you to leave the house and come to the Museum 😉
If you’ve been watching our social media channels (and if you haven’t, please do! We’re on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube), you may know some of the exhibits that will be in place by the end of this month, but here is a quick summary…you can click on each title and it will take you to the webpage with more information about it:
Refuge Canada – A travelling exhibit from the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. Refuge Canada provides context for Canada’s place in the global refugee crisis and brings to light the challenges faced by people who came to Canada as refugees.
Helping Hands – Features some hidden gems from both the museum and archival collections. Stories of home front help during the World Wars, overseas assistance, and glimpses of help in the aftermath of the Vietnam War.
Letters Home – an archival display featuring The “Marshall” letters came to us as part of a Tamworth Red Cross collection donated to the Museum this past summer. These letters were written by soldiers from the village of Tamworth, who were serving overseas during the Second World War.
Welcome Home – Conversations with New Neighbours – *webpage in development… come back soon! – While hosting Refuge Canada, we wanted to share some local perspectives. This exhibit features stories from recent newcomers or children of newcomers from L & A County. Their conversations reveal a journey that forever changed their world.
Like I said… there’s a lot happening! What I love about my role is that I am always learning. With our frequently rotating exhibits, I get to learn about new topics and come up with creative ways to tell you all about them online! That alone gives me a bit of an energy boost during this otherwise sluggish time of year.
To brighter days ahead!