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Museum Books

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Books about Canadian Museums across the country, exploring collections and interrogating what museums and archives mean.
Every Object Has a Story

Every Object Has a Story

Extraordinary Canadians Celebrate the Royal Ontario Museum
edition:Hardcover
also available: eBook
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For the past 99 years, the Royal Ontario Museum has introduced its visitors to objects from all corners of the globe. In celebration of the Museum’s centennial, twenty-one Canadian writers, painters, filmmakers — even an astronaut — share their personal connections with a unique object from the Museum’s collection in this extraordinary volume.

Read bestselling author and anthropologist Wade Davis’s insights about the Hudson Strait Kayak, the presence of the Shiva Nataraja in award-winni …

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Astounding ABC

Astounding ABC

edition:eBook

An A to Z spelling book that makes art fun!
From an arch and a lantern to an owl and a zoo, this ABC spelling book illustrates letters from the Latin alphabet with details from the Aga Khan Museum’s superb collection of paintings, illuminated manuscripts, ceramics, metalwork, coins, and tiles from the 12th to 19th centuries. The board book offers an accessible introduction for very young children to the Museum’s collection, showcasing a rich diversity of works from around the world, includi …

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Inside the Museums

Inside the Museums

Toronto's Heritage Sites and their Most Prized Objects
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback

Heritage Toronto Book Award — Shortlisted, Non-Fiction Book

Illuminates Toronto’s early history through its small heritage museums.
A portrait of William Lyon Mackenzie stares from a mural at Queen subway station, his face as round and orange as a wheel of cheese. He served as Toronto’s first mayor, led the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837, and was grandfather to William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada’s tenth prime minister, whose own orange-pink visage graces the Canadian fifty-dollar bill. …

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90 Treasures, 90 Stories, 90 Years

90 Treasures, 90 Stories, 90 Years

McCord Museum
edition:Paperback

In celebration of its ninetieth anniversary, the McCord Museum presents a dynamic collection of ninety of its most treasured pieces. Carefully chosen from a collection of more than one million artefacts, images, and manuscripts, this exhibition catalogue brings together the people, artists, and communities of Montreal's past and present to tell the story of a constantly changing city and museum. Dedicated to the preservation, study, and appreciation of Montreal's history, the McCord Museum first …

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Miracle at the Forks

Miracle at the Forks

The Museum that Dares Make a Difference
edition:Hardcover

"The engaging story of the making of Canada's fifth national museum - a beautifully designed homage to Izzy Asper's dream of making a difference" It was on July 18, 2000 that Israel (Izzy) Asper, the renowned Canadian businessman and philanthropist, first discussed his idea of building a human rights centre in Winnipeg. He wanted to build a museum that would make a difference; that would help educate visitors to the museum about human rights issues, all with the aim of making the world a better, …

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This Is Our Life

This Is Our Life

Haida Material Heritage and Changing Museum Practice
edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover eBook

In September 2009, twenty-one members of the Haida Nation went to the Pitt Rivers Museum and the British Museum to work with several hundred heritage treasures. Featuring contributions from all the participants and a rich selection of illustrations, This Is Our Life details the remarkable story of the Haida Project – from the planning to the encounter and through the years that followed. A fascinating look at the meaning behind objects, the value of repatriation, and the impact of historical t …

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Inside Hamilton's Museums

Inside Hamilton's Museums

edition:eBook
also available: Paperback

Exploring Hamilton through its heritage museums.

Inside Hamilton’s Museums helps to satisfy a growing curiosity about Canada’s steel capital as it evolves into a post-industrial city and cultural destination. With an emphasis on storytelling and unsung heroes, the book identifies where Sergeant Alexander Fraser bayonetted seven enemy soldiers in a shocking attack to save Upper Canada in 1813. It evokes the day in 1939 when King George VI and Queen Elizabeth opened the Queen Elizabeth Way, the …

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Excerpt

Three Canadian Heroes: Keefer, Hartshore, McFarlane

Hamilton needed fresh, clean running water. In the mid-1800s, residents still drew water from five community wells for drinking, cooking, and washing. They hauled it by hand in buckets or paid to have it delivered by horse-drawn cart. With no handy water suupply, they could not dampen the city’s unpaved streets. Every passing carriage tossed up swirls of dust that settled again over furniture, clothing, and fruit and vegetable stalls, and got drawn into the throat and lungs. Fire posed a chronic threat. Wooden shops and houses periodically went up in flames, and all that firemen could do was pump water by hand from horse-drawn trucks, or form people into lines with pails to toss water at the blaze.
     Worst of all, when immigrant ships docked in the busy port, infectious diseases spread to the harbour’s outhouses and into the city’s groundwater. The wells turned into transmission sites for deadly diseases, including dysentery, typhoid, and especially cholera. During a single eight-week period in 1854, cholera killed 552 people out of a population of twenty thousand — one in forty residents.
      Nobody knew about germs and microbes, but they knew that their wells were tainted and that they needed a clean water source. They knew that to transform Hamilton from a disease-ridden firetrap into a city with a future they needed a means to pump water from a nearby river or lake. A waterworks would be expensive to build at a time when the city was overextended with railway construction. It would also be technologically daunting at a time when nobody in North America had ever tried to forge castings as massive as those needed for water-pumping steam engines. But civic leaders persevered. They had to. They gathered the brightest talents they could find and set them to work, and in 1860 Queen Victoria’s eldest son turned a handle to start two of the biggest steam engines ever built to that time in North America.
      “They move with great smoothness, and are very well finished, ” one reporter said of the machinery in 1860.
      “The best engine house in the country, ” John A. Macdonald, attorney general for Canada West and future Canadian prime minister, said on a tour of the works in 1859. “The best piece of hydraulic masonry to be seen anywhere, ” the Canadian Illustrated News said of the building in 1863.
      Credit fell mostly to three genuine Canadian heroes. In their drive for technical precision and civic beauty, they not only built a waterworks but also set a national standard for industrialization. Chief engineer Thomas Keefer designed the system and oversaw its construction. Foundry owner John Gartshore oversaw the forging of the giant boilers and engines. James McFarlane helped forge the machines, took charge of installing them, and for the next fifty-one years kept them running.

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