MIA Collections Manager Lauren Williams receives a wall hanging from Jacob Keanik, President/Chair of the Gjoa Haven Heritage Society
Last week the museum had a group of special guests visit the museum. And they came a loooong way for a tour!
Despite a few flight delays and a battle through Toronto traffic, Obrian Kydd from the Nunavut Economic Developers Association and Jacob Keanik, the President/Chair of the Nattilik Heritage Society made the trip from Uqsuqtuuq (Gjoa Haven) to MIA as one of their Toronto stops.
Touring through the museum exhibitions, MIA staff introduced our ‘Follow Your Art’ program – used to help identify the different styles seen in Inuit Art- and of course we wanted to showcase all the unique and talented artists whose works are represented in the museum. It was such a real thrill to see Obrian and Jacob recognize pieces their friends had made and hear some of the stories behind the sculptures.
After an exciting brain storming session about future programming and a good chuckle about the Franklin Expedition discovery/the importance of oral history MIA staff were speechless when we were presented with a beautiful wall hanging made by Helen Kaloon!
“Nuliayok” (2013) by Helen Kaloon (1959- ) Uqsuqtuuq (Gjoa Haven), duffle and embroidery thread, MIA Collection.
This duffle wall hanging shows a scene from the story of Nuliajuk, who many of our visitors may also know as ‘Sedna’. Although there are different variations to the story, the main elements are consistent across story tellers and Nuliajuk is always credited as being the creator of the sea-life found in the Arctic. Depending on who is telling the story, some people will describe how Nuliajuk tried to flee her husband by clinging to the side of her father’s boat during a rescue attempt while another version describes Nuliajuk swimming into the Arctic ocean in an attempt to catch up to her parents who have abandoned her. In both accounts, to release Nuliajuk from the boat her fingers are cut off. Unable to hold onto the boat any longer, she sinks into the ocean where her severed fingers transform into the sea animals who now inhabit the Arctic ocean.
We hope Helen’s ‘Nuliajuk’ wall hanging likes her view of Lake Ontario, we’ll certainly enjoy having her as an artist ambassador for the Kitikmeot Region here at the museum.
– Posted by: Brittany Holliss, MIA’s Digital Assets Coordinator
My name is Jessica MacLean
, I’m excited to be joining the MIA collections team this summer through a partnership with the Métis Nation of Ontario.
I hold a BA in History and Art from the University of Victoria. This September I will be starting my Post Grad at Fleming in Cultural Heritage Management and Conservation. I am passionate about preserving Aboriginal material culture, so I feel like my time at MIA will be an amazing learning experience. I’m looking forward to working with a variety of objects. I have just started work with the Moorehead Collection, a collection of works on paper by artist Malaya Akulukjuk, which I am already loving. I hope to be able to share my work with everyone on the museum’s Instagram, so stay tuned!
– Posted by: Lindsay Bontoft, MIA’s Public Programming and Development Coordinator
Over the past month, the MIA has been conducting visitor evaluations on the ‘Follow Your Art’ program. We want to find out how well the program is working to enhance the visitor experience, and through the administration of surveys, we are getting closer to this goal.
The ‘Follow Your Art’ program is a self-guided option within the museum which seeks to enable visitors to appreciate the stylistic elements of the pieces and gain a deeper understanding of Inuit art.
To gauge the efficacy of this program, we have created a short survey for guests to complete toward the end of their visit. In order to keep answers as accurate as possible, the surveys have been independently filled out by visitors without interference by administrators.
So far, the findings have been interesting! Of all the participants to date, 98.0% of visitors who experienced ‘Follow Your Art’ reported feeling a deeper connection to the art, with 70.0% of that group feeling a personal connection. In addition, 94.1% of respondents experienced an increase in understanding after experiencing ‘Follow Your Art’.
When the data collection is complete, we will be conducting a thorough analysis of the responses, with more detailed findings available. Until then, drop by the museum to experience the evaluation process first-hand!
– Posted by: Serena Ypelaar, MIA’s Visitor Services Officer
We would like to formally welcome our two summer students, Serena and Lauren, to the team. MIA will be focusing its energy on some of its core operations over the summer thanks to the help of two summer student positions funded through Young Canada Works. Our ‘Follow Your Art’ program will undergo rigorous evaluation by our Visitor Services Officer while new acquisitions are processed with the help of our Collections Management Officer.
My name is Serena Ypelaar and I’m thrilled to have joined the MIA team as Visitor Services Officer!
I’m a student at the University of Ottawa, pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in History and English Literature. I’m passionate about museums, and I’m eager to contribute at MIA! This summer, I will be evaluating the Follow Your Art program here at the museum. Part of this project involves the development of a study to gain insight on the success of the program. I will survey museum visitors in the hope of understanding how the Follow Your Art program has affected their overall MIA experience.
The Follow Your Art program is a self-guided tour option at the MIA which seeks to highlight the varying elements of Inuit art. The program involves a personality quiz which allows visitors to discover which art style (Realism, Minimalism, Expressionism, Abstract or Grotesque) appeals to them. With this insight, visitors can follow the different styles throughout the museum, hopefully gaining a deeper understanding of the art in addition to a personal connection with the works. The Follow Your Art program is designed to be thought-provoking and to challenge expectations of Inuit art.
I’m pleased to have the opportunity to work in such a wonderful museum, where I hope to expand my knowledge of museum work and Inuit art. I look forward to meeting you!
My name is Lauren Williams and I will be spending the summer at the MIA as the Collections Management Officer!
As a recent graduate of the Master of Museum Studies program at the University of Toronto I am excited to be working in my chosen field! I always loved museums from what I could see as a visitor but it wasn’t until I began studying museology that I realized that I wanted to work in collections management. My first foray into the collections field was interning in the Artifacts Department at the Ontario Science Centre last summer. It was there that I gained experience working with a large variety of objects – from wooden looms to carbon fibre violins. I am excited for the opportunity to continue to diversify my collections experience and MIA is the perfect place for me to do this! Already I am enjoying learning about the different types of materials used in Inuit art such as stone, bone, ivory, and antler. I love that sometimes collections work can have lots of similarities to detective work – I am always following clues and researching – and am excited to solve some mysteries in the MIA collection!
– Posted by: Lindsay Bontoft, MIA’s Public Programming and Development Coordinator
June is a pretty big month here at MIA. This coming Saturday we will officially be reopening our doors to welcome in brand new exhibitions featuring even more examples of art styles, materials, and themes. We’ll also be celebrating National Aboriginal History Month with fun games and prizes AND we’ve just launched another community based project with local Toronto knitting groups (including the Bissell Bombers) as part of World Wide Knit in Public Day!
For those unfamiliar with WWKiP Day, it all began back in 2005 when Danielle Landes gathered together a group of knitters. Rather than perform this traditionally solitary practice alone, they created an opportunity to spend some time together and really get to know their neighbors. That desire for human interaction and creative outlet inspired others to join and over the following years a simple day of knitting has turned into a global public art movement.
This Saturday and Sunday, MIA will be hosting knit inspired programming in our newly renovated space. From 12-4 visitors can join our Arts Assistants who will be giving demonstrations on the several different methods of pom pom making and how to create a bracelet with needle-less knitting techniques.
All of these yarn creations can be tokens of a fun day spent knitting out in public, or you can have them displayed in our special exhibition area. For the entire month of June, MIA has dedicated a public curated space to showcase the unique talent within the community. Those who wish to participate by bringing supplies and taking part of our Knit in Public activities receive FREE admission.
Hope to see all you crafters this weekend!
– Posted by: Brittany Holliss, MIA’s Visitor Services Officer
It saddens me to write this, but my internship has officially come to end. I’ve had a wonderful learning experience at the MIA and I’m really proud of the work that I’ve done here. As of this afternoon, all of the lesson plans and teacher resources are up on our website and waiting to be enthusiastically implemented by teachers in the upcoming school year! Besides honing my lesson planning skills, I’ve definitely come away with more knowledge about Inuit art and history and confidence to infuse this critical subject matter into different curricular strands.
Many thanks to my supervisor, Alysa Procida, who will certainly be missed. Her expert advice, thorough proofreading and careful attention to detail helped to make these resources as polished and accurate as possible. Thanks to Brittany Holliss and Lindsay Bontoft for their continued help and support, as well!
I’m looking forward to one day making use of these resources myself and bringing my students to the museum for a guided tour.
See you later!
– Posted by: Aviva German, MIA’s Educational Intern