I have officially completed my term at the University of Ottawa! Unfortunately that means that exam season has arrived and revision is in full swing. Perhaps that is a slight exaggeration. A 14 week term has killed me and drained every last drop of motivation, making revision basically impossible. Of course I want to do well but frankly my brain is tired. Kudos to Canadian students who do this much work for their entire degree. After reaching breaking point in todays revision schedule, I decided to have a breather, and tick of the last item on my Ottawa bucket list – The Canadian Museum of Civilization. Now that term is over I could take full advantage of the free admission to museums on Thursday afternoons. In contrast to the Canadian War Museum’s angular architecture, this Museum was just as striking but in the opposite way, instead being made of curves!
When I arrived I headed straight to the temporary exhibition, Vodou. It taught the visitor the history of the Haitian religion, the rituals surrounding it and the world view. It looked at the clichés surrounding Vodou and the incomprehension and distortion of the subject. Having no previous knowledge of the subject I found it very interesting.
Next on the list was the First People’s Hall which presented the history of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. I particularly liked the part that explored the Aboriginal lifestyles, such as that of an Artic Whaler for example. I also appreciated some of the artwork on display by some native artists.
The Canada Hall looked at the other key aspect of Canadian history, that of the colonists to Canada; from the early Viking discovery, through till New France, British domination, up to the modern world. The exhibition was brilliant. There were large re-creations mixed with artefacts to display the history visually. One could walk into a General’s office, past a ship in construction, down a colonial street.. I love museums but for someone not as convinced, this museum would be great way to bring history to life.
The final exhibition Face to Face looked at notable Canadian personalities. It looked at the men and women who helped in the development of the country; those who built, governed, fought, founded and inspired. After looking at the more general history it is good to have a chance of looking at subjects in greater detail.
I would definitely recommend visiting the Museum. It gives a fantastic overview of the history of Canada which is vital for anyone who wants to experience the culture of the country. The exhibits are accessible yet engaging making it suitable for anyone!