The most meaningful reward that I receive from my work is when people tell me that it was their childhood visits to the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa that inspired their lifelong passion for science. Many went on to careers in science or related subjects such as engineering and technology.
The Museum opened in 1967, Canada’s centennial year. It was among the first science and tech museums anywhere to have hands-on and interactive exhibitions.
A lot has happened with the Museum in the intervening years, such as new exhibitions, programs, and digital outreach. Two other science and technology themed museums also opened: the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum and the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. Through their artifacts, exhibitions, school programs, public demonstrations and special events, all three museums tell the human stories of Canadian innovation.
The Museums, though, don’t have a monopoly on talking about and explaining technology. That’s why we created the innovation150.ca digital storybook in which all Canadians can share their own stories of innovation.
Ingenium’s push to become a digital organization has boosted our interconnectivity and our global reach. We have put our national collection and our internal working documents online, which encourages interaction and collaboration. An added benefit of being online is that the national collection is now available for those who cannot visit Ottawa.
But there is nothing like being in the presence of the real thing, which is why we are excited that after three years of renovations the Canada Science and Technology Museum will reopen in November and welcome back its loyal visitors and many new ones. It will offer brand new learning adventures to new generations of Canadian youth. There will be new galleries, new exhibitions, and more artifacts than ever on display.
While the Science and Tech Museum has been under renovation, its two affiliate Museums have been carrying the science and technology torch.
The Canada Agriculture and Food Museum – in the heart of Ottawa – is a combination museum and working demonstration farm where visitors explore the sights and sounds of farm life through the animal barns, exhibitions, treasures from the collection, hands-on activities, and food demonstrations.
In today’s urbanized world, the look on children’s faces when they see a cow being milked is priceless. “That’s where milk comes from!?” they exclaim. But it’s all about learning what goes on from ‘farm to fork’ – including food literacy – so that children and adults better understand the science behind their food and how to make their own wise food choices.
Aviators opened up Canada’s North; today aviation links Canadians coast to coast to coast.
Canadians can be proud to have one of the world’s best aviation and aeronautical collections at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. The timeline of history represented in these flying machines runs from the earliest days of human powered flight to Canada’s exploits in space, as embodied by the iconic Canadarm that is on display.
We use science to explain our world, and we use technology to put science to use. Canada’s youth will be the innovators of tomorrow. They will move technology forward to solve our problems and improve our lives. Through the recently launched STEAM Horizon Awards, the Museums are working with partner organizations to recognize and reward outstanding Canadian youth who will be tomorrow’s leaders in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM).
I am thrilled that the important work of my colleagues is featured in this issue of Canadian Innovation News. My colleagues and I hope you will visit the Museums soon, go online to see what we’re all about, catch one of our travelling exhibitions that are crisscrossing the country, or download one of our apps.
Interim President and CEO
Ingenium – Canada’s Museums of Science and Innovation