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Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

No, this post isn’t about a wedding but that old saying works equally as well for our new permanent exhibit leading into the Nonsuch Gallery!

Despite the fact that the Nonsuch is one of our biggest attractions at the museum, some people were missing it entirely due to some poorly positioned carpet arrows and a drab entryway.  Last fall I sat down with our amazing designer Stephanie Whitehouse to figure out how to tackle this problem.  We decided that we could not only improve the wayfinding to the Nonsuch Gallery and well-hidden bathrooms but also put more of the HBC Museum Collection on display, win-win!

Here's what the space looked like before.

Here’s what the space looked like before.

You can see that the black wall with dusty old model of our Parklands Gallery needed an update.  And even when you stepped up and looked to the right (towards the Nonsuch) the area was a bit dark and uninviting.  No wonder people were turning left and missing it all together!

We call this space the "throat" as it funnels you down towards the Nonsuch.  The brown colour is definitely a bit drab!

We call this space the “throat” as it funnels you down towards the Nonsuch. The brown colour is definitely a bit drab!

The finished product is the result of an amazing collaboration between design, productions (carpentry/lighting), conservation, and curatorial.

Now when you emerge from the Boreal Forest Gallery you round the corner and see this:

A bright and welcoming display area with directions to the Nonsuch and washrooms very visible!

A bright and welcoming display area with directions to the Nonsuch and washrooms very visible!

And when you look to your right you see this:

Watery motion lights, the blue colour carried through, and a nicer approach through the "throat"!

Watery motion lights, the blue colour carried through, and a nicer approach through the “throat”!

Something Old: the selection of artefacts from the HBC Museum Collection from various ships used by the Company

Something New: the signage, lights, and new exhibit space

Something Borrowed: the pipe and pocket telescope in the little cubby are borrowed from the History collection

Something Blue: the fabulous blue paint colour that takes you all the way to the Nonsuch

Here are a few pics from our installation day:

Bert and I prepping the lanterns for display.

Bert and I prepping the lanterns for display.

Carolyn and Sean hanging the lanterns and rigging up the lights.

Carolyn and Sean hanging the lanterns and rigging up the lights.

Moving the ship's wheel into the case.

Moving the ship’s wheel into the case.

Marc and Bert putting the glass in place.

Marc and Bert putting the glass in place.

Our lovely designer Steph was behind the lens for these photos, how convenient 😉

Next time you’re at the museum be sure to slow down when you round that corner out of the Boreal Forest Gallery and check out our recent addition!

Shout out to everyone involved:

Stephanie Whitehouse (Designer); Marc Hebert (Carpentry); Carolyn Sirett (Conservation); Bert Valentin (Productions); Sean Workman (Productions); and Holly Durawa (summer intern from U of T’s Museum Studies Program, she assisted with artefact selection and label copy!).

 

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Amelia Fay

Curator of HBC Collection

See Full Biography

Amelia Fay joined The Manitoba Museum in September 2013. She received her BA in Anthropology from the University of Manitoba, an MA in Archaeology from Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN), and is currently finishing her Doctoral degree from MUN. Amelia’s research has focused on Inuit-European contact along the Labrador coast, and her interests are continually expanding to explore Aboriginal-European contact throughout Canada during the fur trade era.

Amelia’s job as Curator of the Hudson’s Bay Company Museum Collection involves building the collection, responding to public inquiries, preparing exhibits, and conducting her own research. Her research interests centre on the interactions between Europeans (including HBC employees) and Aboriginal peoples as they negotiated space, material culture, and their daily activities. Amelia’s goal is to showcase this amazing collection, and highlight the important role that Aboriginal people played in the establishment of the Hudson’s Bay Company.