Canadian Museum of Nature

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MISSISSAUGA, June 27, 2017 – A new permanent gallery at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa opened to the public on June 21, 2017. The permanent Canada Goose Arctic Gallery represents the museum’s legacy project to the mark Canada’s 150th anniversary. “Our goal with the gallery is to transform people’s understanding of the Arctic and to create a space that will expose Canadians and visitors from abroad to this important part of our country,” says Meg Beckel, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Nature. “We have drawn on the museum’s historic leadership in Arctic knowledge and exploration, as well as consultations with Northern Indigenous groups and individuals, to reflect the deep connections between the Arctic’s natural environment and the activities of humans.”

Canada’s Arctic represents about 40% of the country’s land mass. It includes 53 communities with more than 100,000 people, and is home to a surprising diversity of aquatic and land-based organisms. The Canada Goose Arctic Gallery reveals this beautiful yet mysterious region through more than 200 specimens and artifacts, interactives, multimedia and special surprises. Visitors will explore the Arctic’s natural landscapes and its plants and animals, hear the voices of the people such as the Inuit that live there and be prompted to reflect about the impacts of change—in the past, in the present, and into the future.

kubik worked closely with the Canadian Museum project team to fabricate 8,000–sq-ft of exhibits. The Gallery has four themed zones covering climate, geography, sustainability and ecosystems which immerse visitors in the Arctic’s diversity and human connections with the land. Each zone features specimens or artifacts, interactive games and activities, videos and infographics. Timeframes range from the deep geological past, when the Arctic was much warmer than today, to the present, where animals and humans are facing the challenges of climate change.

Highlights include an assortment of “star” objects that represent the themes in each of the four zones. A 3-D circumpolar map anchors the geography zone, for example. A bowhead whale skull leads into the sustainability zone, which examines how Arctic peoples have used, and continue to use natural resources-from interactions with animals and plants for food, clothing, and tools, to the extraction of energy resources, to the continuing connections to the land.

In the ecosystems zone, view a magnificent specimen of a polar bear, a muskox and its calf, a caribou, a colony of Thick-billed Murres, and many lesser known, yet relevant species – from phytoplankton, to plants to birds and small mammals. Inuit and Dene names for many of the animals are included. Two aquaria, one including Arctic Cod from the Vancouver Aquarium, vividly bring to life the Arctic’s marine food web.

Brief videos called “People Capsules” in each zone present the first-person experiences of those who live or work in the Arctic. There are also numerous human artifacts to convey the story of a region where people have lived for millennia. Some of the objects are on extended loan from the Government of Nunavut, including a traditional kayak made of sealskin and items from the crew of Sir John Franklin’s doomed final expedition. Notebooks and gear from the first Canadian Arctic Expedition 100 years ago represent the museum’s long-standing history of Arctic exploration and species discovery, which has resulted in one of the world’s finest collection of Arctic natural-history specimens.

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