Arts & Culture

12 big reveals: Canadian History Hall

Canada, meet your new History Hall.

The Canadian Museum of History opened the doors to its landmark exhibit space for the first time Tuesday, revealing new details on the design, stories and artifacts that will stand on guard for thee when the structure opens to the public on July 1, 2017.

Here’s what we learned about the new Canadian History Hall:

1. Oldies but goodies: Gallery 1 covers Early Canada, starting 15,000 years ago and ending with the 1763 British conquest. The stories of Canada’s First Peoples will play a major role:

Early Canada gallery in Canadian History Hall.
Early Canada gallery in Canadian History Hall.

2. The British are coming: Colonial Canada, in Gallery 2, will cover 1763 to 1914.

Rendering of the Colonial Canada gallery at the upcoming Canadian History Hall.
Rendering of the Colonial Canada gallery at the upcoming Canadian History Hall.

3. Back to the Future: Gallery 3 will explore Modern Canada, from 1914 to the present. Look for the Maurice Richard jersey from the 1959 Stanley Cup finals. For Habs’ fans, nothing else will matter.

Modern Canada.
Modern Canada.

4. “Soaring” Architecture: Architect Douglas Cardinal, who designed the original museum, lent his talents to the new Hall. He aimed for “soaring” and “flowing spaces” reflecting Canada’s vast size, and its important waterways, like the Ottawa River, which he called “the centre of this country for thousands of years.”

water-museums

 

5. D’Arcy’s got a gun: The famous Smith & Wesson used to assassinate Father of Confederation, Thomas D’Arcy McGee, in 1868, will be on display. (Those looking to drown their sorrow can head over to his namesake pub across the Rideau River, D’Arcy McGee’s.)

darcymcgee-gun

 

6. Cloaked in history: General James Wolfe’s cloak from the Battle of the Plains of Abraham will be on hand, courtesy of Buckingham Palace.

General_Wolfe_looking_combative_on_Westerham_Green_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1598309.

7. Cuff Me: The hall will house the handcuffs used to restrain Métis leader Louis Riel at his 1885 execution.

riel-handcuffs

 

8. Portage to the past: Artifacts will include a model canoe, circa 1825made by the Odawa chief, Assiginak. The vessel’s figures represent Indigenous warriors and leaders from the War of 1812.

canoe

 

9. Interactive history: There will be 65 interactive elements in the Hall, including an educational fur trading game that allows visitors to choose to be English or French fur traders.

history_07

Overhead view of Gallery 2.

10. By the numbers: The 40,000 square feet exhibition space will showcase 1,200 images, 1,800 artifacts and 225,000 words.

Overhead view of Gallery 1.
Overhead view of Gallery 1.

11. The NeverEnding Story: Mark O’Neill, president and CEO of the Canadian Museum of History, said the Hall would unveil “how the Canada we know today came to be” through an inclusive approach offering multiple perspectives and voices. “One’s hero can be another’s villain,” he explained. “One’s triumph can be another’s tragedy.”

An early prototype of our maple leaf national flag.
An early prototype of our maple leaf national flag.

12. Put yourself on the map: The hub of the Canadian History Hall (as seen in our main art) will be a place to rest, orient yourself, and test your geography.