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A full-year focus on Canada’s Arctic as the Canadian Museum of Nature marks Canada 150

Martin Lipman © Canadian Museum of Nature.

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Visitors encounter a polar bear during an Open House at the museum's Natural Heritage Campus.

Ottawa, Feb 16, 2017—An innovative, permanent gallery on Canada’s Arctic will be the pinnacle of the Canadian Museum of Nature’s celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary…but that’s not all. The public can look forward to a full year of Arctic-themed events and programs at Canada’s national natural history museum in 2017.

Opening on June 21, 2017, the 750 square-metre Canada Goose Arctic Gallery will offer Canadians the opportunity to discover a beautiful, mysterious and little-understood area of our country that makes up a whopping 40% of Canada’s landmass.  

“This new gallery draws on the museum’s leadership in Arctic knowledge and exploration, and will present Canadians with a contemporary window on Canada’s North,” says Meg Beckel, museum President and CEO. “With partners such as the National Film Board, and input from northern indigenous organisations, this gallery will inspire a greater appreciation of the Arctic’s biodiversity and the peoples that live there.”

In addition to this marquee attraction, special exhibitions add to the museum’s exciting offerings in 2017. The Northern Voices Gallery, a travelling exhibition space in the Canada Goose Arctic Gallery, will debut June 21 with Inuinnauyugut: We are Inuinnait. This exhibition from the Kitikmeot Heritage Society in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut examines Inunnait identity through historic artifacts, contemporary artworks, stories and other perspectives.

Art, architecture and the Arctic drives the theme of a special exhibition arriving November 9, 2017 at the museum. Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15, which was a star attraction at the 2014 Venice Biennale, reveals how Arctic architecture relates to environmental factors and social activities in the North. This innovative exhibition was curated by Lateral Office, with the support of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the Canada Council of the Arts, and the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

The Stone Wall Gallery, which uses art and images to profile the museum’s research and collections, presents Flora of the Canadian Arctic until early January 2018. This attractive display of large, high-resolution images showcases both recently-collected Arctic plants as well as specimens collected during the Canadian Arctic Expedition 100 years ago!

Special events at the museum throughout 2017 will draw inspiration from themes related to the Arctic and Canada 150. These include:

·         Winterlude, Feb. 3 to 20: The museum participates in this annual celebration with an impressive ice sculpture of a polar bear, and hands-on activities for children on the three Saturdays of the festival.

·         Earth Day, April 22: Natural history and culture in the Arctic are profiled as visitors explore a field camp with museum botanists, experience traditional Inuit games, sample some Arctic-inspired food, and more.

·         Science by Night, May 18: As part of Science Odyssey Week, explore your inner nature geek, with hands-on activities, displays, and fun presentations featuring the museum’s experts. 

·         Nature Nocturne continues on the last Friday of every month with a party in the museum’s “castle”. The city’s hottest ticket catches the North wind with an Arctic theme on the night of May 30. On June 30, the eve of Canada Day, revellers will be encouraged to show their pride for Canada by donning creative red and white outfits.

·         Summer programming: Starting on weekends in May and June, and then daily during the summer, science and cultural programming about the Arctic will enliven the museum.

·         Open House, October 14: Get close to some of the 14.6 million specimens and artifacts in the national natural history collections located in Gatineau, and meet the museum’s scientists and curators who know all about these amazing treasures.

·         Nature New Year’s party, Dec. 29: Celebrate the end of an extraordinary year (and ring in a new one) at this party hosted by Ottawa2017. There will be DJs, dancing, and fun programming for those 19 and up.

The museum will also share its expertise as a partner with two national Canada 150 projects. A number of museum researchers will take part on legs of Canada C3, an epic 150-day journey by ship from Toronto, up Canada’ east coast, through the Arctic and down to Britiish Columbia. Coordinated by the Students on Ice Foundation, this journey kicks off June 1 in Toronto and ends October 28 in Victoria. The museum’s Water Gallery will be a hub for Canada C3 in summer 2017, with opportunities to follow the adventure and connect with participants on the voyage.

Closer to home, museum experts will be part of the team doing a nature inventory in Quebec’s Gatineau Park June 10-11 for the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s Canada150 Bioblitz. This event will encourage the public to learn about biodiversity and species identification.  In the museum’s theatre, visitors can enjoy free daily screenings of Wild Canada. This series from the filmmakers of Planet Earth shows footage of our country’s majestic landscapes and diverse species.  

On the museum’s grounds, visitors can explore the museum’s Landscapes of Canada Gardens and measure themselves against a 13-metre-high, stainless-steel sculpture inspired by icebergs that towers over the “Arctic tundra” section. Then starting June 17 until Labour Day, wander through Populace, a special Ottawa 2017 art installation by the Ottawa Guild of Potters. This “art” garden will feature thousands of handmade ceramic flowers and feathers.

The Canadian Museum of Nature is located at 240 McLeod Street in Ottawa. For more information on the museum’s activities in 2017, visit nature.ca. Follow the Museum on Twitter (@museumofnature), Instagram (museumofnature) and at facebook.com/canadianmuseumofnature.

About the Canadian Museum of Nature
The Canadian Museum of Nature is Canada's national museum of natural history and natural sciences. The museum provides evidence-based insights, inspiring experiences and meaningful engagement with nature’s past, present and future through scientific research, a 14.6 million specimen collection, education programs, signature and travelling exhibitions, and a dynamic web site, nature.ca. A founding member of the Alliance of Natural History Museums of Canada, the museum is working with partners to expand its national service and presence.

Information for media:

Dan Smythe
Media Relations
Canadian Museum of Nature
613.566.4781; 613.698.9253 (cell)
dsmythe@mus-nature.ca

Laura Sutin
Media Relations
Canadian Museum of Nature
613.698.7142 (cell)
lsutin@mus-nature.ca