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Renewed Nonsuch Gallery Opens at Manitoba Museum

(Winnipeg, MB: June 8, 2018) The Manitoba Museum officially re-opened the Nonsuch Gallery today, marking the completion of the first of four galleries to be renewed as part of the Bringing Our Stories Forward Capital Renewal Project.

The Nonsuch is one of the Museum’s most iconic artifacts – both as a touchstone experience for Museum visitors and as a symbol of the creation of the iconic Hudson’s Bay Company. Before renewal, the Nonsuch Gallery replicated Deptford, England in 1668. The Nonsuch was about to set sail on the journey that would eventually launch Hudson’s Bay Company and establish global commerce in Western Canada. The renewed gallery sees this narrative changed so that the Nonsuch is now situated in Deptford upon her return from Hudson Bay in 1669. She is loaded with furs and goods traded with the Cree.

“For many years, Manitobans and visitors to our province have come to the Manitoba Museum to learn more about our rich history,” said Premier Brian Pallister.  “The revitalization of the Nonsuch Gallery and the continued preservation of this national treasure is a gift to all Manitobans.  Thanks to the dedicated staff and volunteers who worked to ensure this exhibit will continue to educate and inspire for generations to come.”

“I am pleased to take part in the reopening of the Nonsuch Gallery on behalf of the Government of Canada,” said Dan Vandal, Member of Parliament (Saint Boniface–Saint Vital). “This Gallery is a must-see at the Manitoba Museum and has been visited by thousands of people over the years. Thanks to its renewal, it will continue to tell stories for many years to come!”

The Gallery enhancements intensify the feeling of stepping back in time. New lighting and auditory effects help to immerse the visitor in Deptford, England in 1669. In the Boar’s Head Tavern, visitors “overhear” Captain Gillam and his crew regale the pub with tales of their adventures wintering across the ocean. The new Pier allows visitors to appreciate the beauty of the ship’s construction and examine the new rigging and unfurled sails. A gigantic mural depicts the marshy Isle of Dogs on the River Thames, enlivened with new audio and lighting effects that simulate the passage of day and night and changes in the weather so that every visit to the Nonsuch Gallery will have slightly different ambiance.

There are many new stories to enjoy in the renewed Gallery! The Boreal Corridor leading to the Gallery now features 700 insect specimens and details the role of fur-bearing animals in the ecosystem and the economy. An oral history told by Elder Louis Bird describes the first encounter between the Cree of James Bay and European explorers. The story of the replica ship’s voyages through the Atlantic, Great Lakes, Pacific, and eventual journey to her new home at the Manitoba Museum is also told. Finally, a new gallery space has been created, and visitors are encouraged to take the elevator in the HBC Gallery to the Nautical Balcony overlooking the ship to enjoy a fascinating look into HBC’s past. This new gallery features a model ship display and highlights of the HBC’s nautical history, accounts of the company’s fascinating contributions to science, and surprising stories about the scope and reach of the HBC beyond fur-trading.

“We take incredible pride in our heritage, and the Nonsuch Gallery is the centrepiece to the Hudson’s Bay Company Collection at the Manitoba Museum,” said Alison Coville, President of Hudson’s Bay. “The Nonsuch Gallery allows visitors better understand a milestone moment that helped shape our company. We are immensely grateful for the important work the Manitoba Museum does to preserve and share our rich history.”

“I invite all Manitobans back to the Manitoba Museum to rediscover their ship, the Nonsuch. Whether it’s the first time or your tenth time, I guarantee you will learn something new when you visit the renewed Nonsuch Gallery,” says Claudette Leclerc, Executive Director and CEO of the Manitoba Museum. “We want to thank and recognize internationally renowned gallery design firm, AldrichPears Associates, who led design on the Nonsuch Gallery Renewal Project, as well as the construction project manager Bockstael Construction, the many other highly-skilled sub-contractors that worked on the project, and to our public and private sector partners for their financial support of this first phase of the Bringing Our Stories Forward Capital Renewal Project.”

“Investing in cultural infrastructure enriches our communities, making them even more vibrant and inclusive places,” said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage. “Through the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund, the Government of Canada is investing in projects that support the arts and heritage sectors and enhance the cultural life of our communities. We are proud to support the Manitoba Museum’s Bringing Our Stories Forward renewal project.”

“The Nonsuch is the ship that helped establish the mighty HBC, and now it’s the ship launching a series of gallery renewals,” says Jeoff Chipman, Chair of the Bringing Our Stories Forward Capital & Endowment Campaign. “While we’re opening this gallery, work on the new Winnipeg Gallery has already begun, and we’re continuing to fundraise to reach our goal for the $17.5 million project. We know this gallery renewal project will ensure generations, present and future, will come away from the Manitoba Museum inspired.”

Nonsuch Programs
WSO Celebrates the Nonsuch
July 4 • Performances at 7 pm & 8:30 pm
Cash Bar & Refreshments
Julian Pellicano, conductor
Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra musicians will perform on the deck of the Nonsuch and around the ship in a program of water music from the pens of George Frideric Handel and other great composers!
Tickets are available online and at the Museum box office

A Sailor’s Life for Me
Discovery Room • Weekends and Holidays •1 pm to 4 pm
June 2 to July 29
The Museum offers Weekend Family Programs every Saturday, Sunday, and holiday between 1 pm and 4 pm in the Discovery Room. Inspired by the Nonsuch’s return from her voyage to Hudson Bay, visitors can try out some of the different navigational tools that helped keep the Nonsuch on course. They can learn how the sailors managed all of those rigging lines and sails with their knowledge of knot-tying, and practice making all kinds of knots.
Admission is included with admission to the Museum Galleries.