The Canadian History Hall: Keeping Students in Mind

October 3, 2016
Young students attend a school program at the Museum

Young students from Osgoode Public School attend a school program at the Museum of History.

Last May, the Canadian Museum of History gathered together teachers from the National Capital Region to discuss the educational vision for the new Canadian History Hall. The result: teachers tapped the Hall as the ideal venue to get hands-on with history, and the best place for students to examine genuine artifacts with an engaging guide.

The Hall’s design presents plenty of unique opportunities for learning — and also a few constraints. Lisa Leblanc, Director of Creative Development and Learning for the project, says “the Hall is rich with stories. Finding the right spots to gather groups in such an artifact-rich space has been part of the design process.”

The educational concept of “historical thinking,” currently gaining traction in classrooms across the country, is tailor-made for museums. “It calls for using actual objects and documents to explore how we know what we know,” Leblanc says. “That’s what museums do every day.”

As new programs begin to take shape, program developers continue working closely with content experts. For example, teachers look to the Museum for help in learning the stories of local Indigenous groups. To this end, Museum staff are working with Indigenous communities to make sure the right information is delivered in an appropriate way.

“Working with teachers and content expert groups strengthens our upcoming educational offerings,” Leblanc says, “and it’s such a great opportunity to build awareness.”