Canadian Museum of History Offers Early Glimpse of Its New Signature Gallery

The Canadian Museum of History has reached an important milestone in the development of the new Canadian History Hall, opening in 2017. Today, for the first time, the Museum shared information on the exhibition storyline, design, visitor experience and selected artifacts that will be included in the Hall. Today’s preview provided the first glimpse of what the completed structure will look like.

“It is an honour to share the great work that our team has been doing over the past three years,” said Mark O’Neill, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Museum of History. “I am very proud to unveil information on this remarkable exhibition. Canadians will not only see their proud history reflected in the pan-Canadian story of the Hall; they will also see that we listened to their feedback in building this exhibition. The Canadian History Hall is going to be a major addition to the Museum and the cultural landscape of this country. It will be a truly magnificent sesquicentennial project.”

“This is an exciting day for the Canadian Museum of History. The great Canadian stories that have been shaped by our rich diversity, thanks in part to Indigenous Peoples, will be depicted in this new exhibition,” said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage. “These stories are worth recognizing and sharing with the rest of the world. The 150th anniversary of Confederation will be the perfect opportunity to officially inaugurate the Canadian History Hall.”

As was revealed in today’s preview, the Hall will present the story of Canada and its people more inclusively and candidly than ever before. It will explore the central threads of our national narrative through the diverse stories and perspectives of individuals — some famous and many not. Digital technology will be integrated throughout the galleries, enhancing the experience of the Museum’s visitors.

“The Canadian History Hall is the most significant and exciting change to the Museum’s interior since I had the honour of designing the building three decades ago,” said Douglas Cardinal, the project’s Lead Architect. “The Hall’s design will reflect and celebrate the openness of our geography and our people, the relationships we share across this land, and the unifying symbol of the nation’s capital and its majestic Chaudière Falls. In doing so, it will help fulfill my original architectural vision.”

The exhibition’s planning and development has been under way since October 2012. The initial stages involved a national program of public engagement and the establishment of advisory committees of outside experts. Results of the engagement project and input from the committees informed the work of a multidisciplinary team of Museum of History researchers, curators and museologists, who developed the content of the new Hall. Fabrication of the new exhibition has just begun, and the installation will begin this spring.

Some of the highlights of the exhibition revealed today include:

Hub of the Canadian History Hall
  • 3 galleries
  • 18 chapters that tell the story of Canada
  • 65 interactive elements
  • 75 maps
  • 100 digital productions
  • 250 custom illustrations
  • 1,200 images
  • 1,800 artifacts
  • 15,000 years of history
  • 40,000 square feet of exhibition space
  • 225,000 words

The Canadian History Hall is set to open on July 1, 2017, as Canadians celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation. It is considered to be the largest and most comprehensive exhibition about Canadian history ever developed.