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Museum Books

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Books about Canadian Museums
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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Museums and the Past

Museums and the Past

Constructing Historical Consciousness
edition:Hardcover
also available: eBook Paperback

Museums and the Past explores the central role of museums as memory keepers and makers. Using case studies from a Canadian context, the contributors to this collection reflect on the challenges in maintaining and developing museums as meaningful places of memory and learning. Discussions of museum practice and historical consciousness – how our understanding of the past shapes our sense of the future – consider the modern museum’s narratives and pedagogical responsibilities and how museums …

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Family Ties

Family Ties

Living History in Canadian House Museums
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback Hardcover
tagged :

House museums act as both sources and suppliers of history. Functioning first as private residences, they are then preserved as commemorative monuments and become living history museums offering theme-based tours led by period-costumed interpreters so that visitors might experience "what it felt like to live back then." In Family Ties, Andrea Terry considers the appeal and relevance of domesticated representations of Victorian material culture in a contemporary multicultural context.

Through thr …

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Montreal's Other Museums

Montreal's Other Museums

Off the Beaten Track
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged : quebec

The Montreal Police Association Museum, the Bank of Montreal Museum, the Printing Museum of Quebec, Just for Laughs Museum. Never heard of them? Neither have most Montrealers or visitors to Montreal. The city has dozens of little museums: undiscovered gems to discover.

Montreal's Other Museums is an illustrated user-friendly pocket guide to an intriguing group of institutions specializing in textiles, medicine, humour, religion, the military, rare books, banking, ecology, recording and broadcasti …

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Time Travel

Time Travel

Tourism and the Rise of the Living History Museum in Mid-Twentieth-Century Canada
edition:eBook
also available: Hardcover Paperback

In the 1960s, Canadians could step through time to eighteenth-century trading posts or nineteenth-century pioneer towns. These living history museums promised authentic reconstructions of the past but, as Time Travel shows, they revealed more about mid-twentieth-century interests and perceptions of history than they reflected historical fact. These museums became important components of post-war government economic growth and employment policies. Shaped by political pressures and the need to bal …

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Curatorial Dreams

Curatorial Dreams

Critics Imagine Exhibitions
edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover eBook

What if museum critics were challenged to envision their own exhibitions? In Curatorial Dreams, fourteen authors from disciplines throughout the social sciences and humanities propose exhibitions inspired by their research and critical concerns to creatively put theory into practice. Pushing the boundaries of museology, this collection gives rare insight into the process of conceptualizing exhibitions. The contributors offer concrete, innovative projects, each designed for a specific setting in …

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Exhibiting Nation

Exhibiting Nation

Multicultural Nationalism (and Its Limits) in Canada’s Museums
edition:Hardcover
also available: eBook Paperback

Canada’s brand of nationalism celebrates diversity – so long as it doesn’t challenge the unity, authority, or legitimacy of the state. Caitlin Gordon-Walker explores this tension between unity and diversity in three nationally recognized museums, institutions that must make judgments about what counts as “too different” in order to celebrate who we are as a people and nation through exhibits, programs, and design. Although the contradictions that lie at the heart of multicultural natio …

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Visiting With the Ancestors

Visiting With the Ancestors

Blackfoot Shirts in Museum Spaces
edition:eBook

In 2010, five magnificent Blackfoot shirts, now owned by the University of Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum, were brought to Alberta to be exhibited at the Glenbow Museum, in Calgary, and the Galt Museum, in Lethbridge. The shirts had not returned to Blackfoot territory since 1841, when officers of the Hudson’s Bay Company acquired them. The shirts were later transported to England, where they had remained ever since.

 

Exhibiting the shirts at the museums was, however, only one part of the project …

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