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Museum celebrates centennial with new Arctic exhibit

This Muskox, and her calf, will be part of the new Arctic Gallery at the Canadian Museum of Nature to open in June. © Canadian Museum of Nature

The Arctic’s rich natural diversity and its important connections to humans will be the focus of the newest permanent gallery at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, Ontario. The Canada Goose Arctic Gallery opens its doors to the public on June 21, 2017 — National Aboriginal Day — and is the museum’s key contribution to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary.

A beautiful specimen of a polar bear will be on view at The Canada Goose Arctic Gallery. © Ottawa Tourism

This 8,000-square-foot exhibition will feature authentic specimens and artefacts from the Arctic, stunning multimedia and indigenous perspectives. Visitors will feel an emotional connection with the Arctic as soon as they enter the gallery through a unique ice installation developed in collaboration with the National Film Board. The engaging multimedia experience will depict Inuit visual art as well as a soundscape of natural Arctic sounds mixed with traditional and contemporary music and sounds from Arctic communities.

In the second part of the gallery — the wing — visitors will immerse themselves in the Arctic’s natural history and human connections through four broad themes: climate, geography, sustainability and ecosystems. Each of the four zones will have “star objects” that represent the themes. There will be a projection of the Aurora Borealis and a 3-D circumpolar map in the geography zone. A bowhead whale skull covered by lichens will lead 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. Other artefacts include a beautiful real specimen of a polar bear, a muskox and her calf, a colony of Thick-billed Murres and much more.

The Northern Voices Gallery will be curated by Inuit or Northern-based organizations. Exhibits will reflect past and current responses of northern peoples to their environment and landscapes. The inaugural show, “Inuinnauyugut: We are Inuinnait” will be presented by the Kitikmeot Heritage Society, based in Cambridge Bay on Victoria Island. It examines the centennial anniversary of Inuinnait contact with the western world.

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