We will be ending our exhibition year with a “cracking” good time – tutus, cookies, and Christmas trees included.
Can you believe how fast 2019 is slipping by? I am sitting at my desk reviewing my exhibit plan for 2020 and realize that I am due to write a blog. With this in mind and my exhibit plan in front of me…I think I will highlight what’s around the corner for the exhibits at the museum. This year we circulated nine exhibits with various themes- changing from student sculpted snowmen to model boats, from the St Lawrence Seaway flooding to birds in our backyard.
Trying to plan an exhibit rotation that different demographics can enjoy is challenging, but when you hit the head and the exhibit works, the rewards are amazing. This past year, the exhibits have educated and entertained - some exhibits have just been plain old fun, Lego Love comes to mind, while others are educational – I think of “The Seaway of Yesterday” that details the historic flooding of the St Lawrence Seaway here. However when you get lucky some are both educational AND fun…. “Our Feathered Friends” hits this mark.
2019 was a busy exhibit year in which I worked with new artists, collectors, and partner museums.
The museum has days often full of visitors that are engaged and having fun. I hear laughter below my 2nd floor office. When I walk down the hallway, I am often stopped and asked questions. I am happy to answer - these conversations often lead to bits of the past I haven’t heard… in these moments it is community story telling at its finest.
An Exhibit Like No Other Is At The Museum This Fall
In 2019, I gave myself a challenge to do this one thing. I wanted to tell a difficult story to our community. I wanted to challenge our comfortable box and push out from our safe walls and welcome a story that perhaps wasn’t so happy, a little darker, and left pause for reflection a little longer. As I mentioned in my last blog, history isn’t always happy, so why do we always present it as so?
With the opening of “Anne Frank: A History For Today”, a travelling exhibit from the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, the museum met this challenge. In just 7 days we have greeted close to 700 people and we have silently watched as people read the exhibit, their faces forlorn and sad. The museum is quiet, reflective – a time for giving thanks. We have left journals out for visitors to write in and the words left in them are sincere, grateful, sad, and some appear a little worried too.
…I find Anne and so many others inspiring, but I’m sad especially by how much we seem to have not learned. That sentiments persist often out of ignorance, scares me. But efforts like this one- this exhibit and its larger message- are hopeful and important. Thank you! -Jessie, October 2019
In the coming weeks we will greet over 1200 students for this exhibit. Amber and I will be interacting with all of these students- enlightening them and giving them pause to think…what if? The museum has been proud to bring The Anne Frank House to our community. The positive response and words of thanks tell us to continue to look for and bring exhibits of social history here – these themes do after all impact the past, present, and future of Lennox and Addington County too. Our eyes are open and I am steadily researching new exhibits for the museum to welcome.
The Anne Frank exhibit has accomplished exactly what we had hoped – it has opened up conversation about a horrible time in our near past and fears of the present, it has welcomed new faces in our galleries, and we have given a space for reflection for our schools to embrace. It has allowed us to push through our safe walls and dare to think about other exhibits and stories we can tell that make one pause and reflect a little bit longer.
Our exhibit opening on October 15th welcomed close to 300 people.
“Anne Frank: A History For Today” is at the museum until November 21st.
Our Community Curates
I am looking at the schedule ahead and I am cheered by the exhibit that is around the corner. In December, the museum has coordinated a variety of activities that are themed with the historic ballet “The Nutcracker”. We wanted to do something fun and lighthearted and we felt this would do it. Who doesn’t love the music, dance, story, and costumes of this great ballet?
So it had me wondering who has nutcrackers? The museum has a few in the collection, which will of course be out for people to enjoy – but I was really hoping that the community could help me fill this exhibit out. I enjoy curating with the community. It allows me to meet new people and continue to tell the County story in interesting ways. So with this in mind, I am in pursuit of my next community curated exhibit “Crazy for Crackers” a display of private nutcracker collections.
Everyone is a curator at heart. We all collect to tell stories of our family, homes, and places we travelled. Museums do the same thing. This December we are welcoming the dance of the Nutcracker Ballet as our holiday theme. That means….what? I want YOUR nutcrackers.
We are curating the Nutcracker exhibit “Crazy for Crackers” in the 6 large front foyer cases in the museum. Thusly decided to make all of our December programs and events themed with the fun and frolic of the ballet!! How fun is that?
How do you get your cracker included? Call the museum, email me, or stop by the museum the morning of November 25th. I am asking those interested to please bring your nutcrackers to the museum for inclusion in the display. They don’t need to be soldier crackers….I want all things nutcrackers…all shapes, all sizes! The display will be ready for our busy holiday season which includes several public programs for all to enjoy – including our 6th Annual Christmas event- which is of course themed with the Nutcracker.
Yes, the museum is surely crazy for crackers and I look forward to closing our busy 2019 exhibition year with something fun that we can all find the joy in. As always all the exciting things we have coming up are on our website - www.CountyMuseum.ca