Category Archives: Public History

The Museum Sector is in Crisis

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by Armando Perla Soon after the killing of George Floyd on 25 May 2020, museums joined institutions around the world making public statements of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Most of the statements from museums were not backed up by a track record of anti-racist work; many were, in fact, covering up a culture of human rights… Read more »

Remember/Resist/Redraw #24: 30 Years Since the Siege of Kanehsatà:ke

Earlier this month, to mark the 30th anniversary of the so-called “Oka Crisis,” the Graphic History Collective released Remember/Resist/Redraw poster #24 by Ellen Gabriel and Sean Carleton. The poster depicts the start of the police siege of Kanehsatà:ke on 11 July 1990 from a Mohawk perspective and makes clear that the fight against colonial land fraud in the community continues… Read more »

K’jipuktuk to Halifax and back: Decolonization in the Council Chamber

What the committee’s work does, the report suggests, is carefully and responsibly “harmonize commemoration with publicly-held values, and in particular to resolve situations in which sites of commemoration may have become actively offensive to those values.”

Cuban Serenade: Exploring the History of Cuban Music in Canada

Karen Dubinsky & Freddy Monasterio “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” Origin debatable. In the face of this indisputable cliché, we created a documentary podcast series. The first episode of Cuban Serenade premieres today (July 2), the birthdate of our first protagonist, Chicho Valle (1924-1984). Chicho was, we believe, the first professional Cuban musician in Canada. He arrived… Read more »

Stronger Together: The Potential Collaborative Agency of Historians and Archivists

Andrea Eidinger and Krista McCracken Over the past few years, the historical community in Canada has been rocked by a few scandals. No, we are not talking about the endless discussions around monuments. Rather, we are referring to the numerous public disputes between historians and archivists relating either to the discovery of or access to archival material. For example, you’ve… Read more »

So long Dundas: From Colonization to Decolonization Road?

These are just two stories of many. With a roadway that stretches across all of eastern Canada, an opportunity presents itself not just to commemorate one life or history, but rather to use the road – Highway Two, which started out in Ontario as Dundas Street – as a heritage tool to substantially change how our national, region, and local histories are remembered. Renaming Dundas Street presents a positive opportunity to make a change.

John E. “Jack” Hammell and the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame

By Matthew Corbeil In January 2007, Canadian mining giant Teck Cominco (since rebranded Teck Resources) donated $10 million to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in what was “the largest corporate gift in the museum’s history.” The donation went toward the creation of three new earth science galleries, allowing the museum to double the number of minerals and gems it could… Read more »

Research stories: The Mystery of the Missing Camera

Ronald Rudin Once upon a time, I did my research in the archives, a controlled environment where weird things rarely happened. Then, I became a public historian, venturing out into the real world, and things were not always so straightforward, particularly when I was on the road with a film crew. For instance, there was the time when the director… Read more »

How do we teach history after this? Thoughts from the “Pandemic Pedagogy” series

By Samantha Cutrara I went into self-isolation about a week before many others. Because I had come into contact with family traveling abroad, I worked from home while the university and college I work for continued to prepare for what felt like an inevitability after the WHO’s declaration. Being by myself that first week exacerbated the sense of shock that… Read more »

Resuscitating Stories: Some reflections on the “Ododo Wa” exhibit and experience

Gilbert Nuwagira Growing up in south western Uganda, I would hear whispers of stories told in hushed tones; stories of what the River Kagera had brought in 1994 and of the then on-going Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency in Northern Uganda. The latter stories were relayed to us by people who had not been in northern Uganda. Going through school… Read more »