Working at MIA, I get to see a lot of people come through the museum and what always strikes me is how incredibly different they all are. Obviously, our visitors differ in their age, background and in a million other ways. But what really amazes me are all the reasons they come here and all the ways they use the museum.
There really are an amazing amount of different ways to spend your time at the museum. I’ve compiled some of my favorites here:
- Looking at architecture: MIA is housed in the historic Queen’s Quay Terminal and our museum has won its own architectural awards. The museum was specifically designed by Pat Hanson of gh3, inc. to reflect the varied landscapes of the Arctic so that the art could be admired in a space with some sense of the environment in which it was created. Architectural buffs really can get a lot of a visit.
- Taking a self-guided, focused tour: MIA offers pre-booked, guided tours, but it’s easy (and fun) to make up your own. With over 500 objects on display, it’s sometimes hard to look at everything at once so some of our visitors choose to focus on certain themes: take a tour of our small objects, or our big objects, or our objects that show families. It’s a great way of really looking at the pieces and seeing connections between them.
- Taking a break: The museum is a beautiful, quiet space on the harbor: what better place to take a breather? We have comfortable chairs and beautiful objects to look at.
- Learning about subjects other than art: While we focus on art, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn about other subjects. I often get a chance to talk to visitors about the geography of the Arctic or the political history surrounding the creation of Nunavut. I have learned a lot of geology, myself, since there are so many different kinds of stones on display. There’s lots to talk about.
- Spend time with friends: Museums are great places to go with friends and MIA is no exception. There are plenty of things to see and talk about, plus it’s nice to experience new things with friends. This is closely related to another favorite visitor activity, going on a date at the museum.
- Make some art of your own: Bring a sketch pad (or borrow some of our drawing sheets!) and get drawing. Sketching from art is a great way to hone artistic skills. MIA also runs a monthly drawing contest visitors can participate in to get featured in our monthly newsletter and we sponsor family craft activities every weekend. Create clay animals to take home!
These are just a few of the things our visitors do that you might not think of immediately. There are many, many more things to do at the museum. If you have any other suggestions or ideas, leave them in the comments – I’d love to hear them!
Posted by: Alysa Procida, MIA’s Educational Coordinator