Tag Archives: museum

Something Different, Something New: The Making of ‘Unikkaaqtuat’

23 Jul

It’s hard to believe I only arrived at the museum two months ago, and that my internship is almost over. Everyone here has made me feel so welcome; it’s made my internship just fly by. So much has happened in that short period of time that it’s hard to fit everything into just a few paragraphs. To cover some of the main points, while I’ve been here I’ve gotten to apply everything I learnt in school to actual situations. I’ve had the opportunity to catalogue and condition report objects, to transport object, and to pack and store objects – all things I’ve learnt theoretically but seldom in practice. I have gotten to grow, to learn, and to be confident in my opinions and ideas.

rolling up works on paper for return

Myself and the MIA Collections Manager preparing some works on paper to be returned.

Being able to state my opinions and ideas with confidence is the most important part of this internship for me, and it is what helped make our newest exhibition Unikkaaqtuat: Inuit Creation Stories a reality. When I first started I was asked, somewhat in passing, to think about what a new exhibition could be. There were a few options, but nothing stood out to me except finding a way to explore Inuit myths and legends. I did not know much, but I was eager to learn more.  That’s how I began the research for this exhibition – by reading a wide variety of myths and legends, and I started with Inhabit Media’s “Unikkaaqtuat: An Introduction to Inuit Myths and Legends.” As soon as the idea solidified I emailed Inhabit Media, and got great feedback from their organization. I got to choose some of my favourite stories, and with MIA’s Collections Manager I got to look through the museum collection to find objects to accompany those stories. Together Lauren and I narrowed down our list, and chose objects to best reflect the stories. From that point on it became a matter of organization. Which stories would go beside each other? Which objects look best when paired together? What can we do to create the best impact?

We planned this exhibition to be as family-friendly as possible, to add colour, lower plinths, and create interactive components to help entice parents to bring their children to the museum. Objects and text panels were placed lower on the wall to help children interact with the objects. We’ve even added a LEGENDary Theatre so visitors can use puppets to act out the stories they’ve read in the exhibit or share their own stories.

There are five different stories represented in the case, each accompanied by art from the MIA permanent collection.

There are five different stories represented in the case, each accompanied by art from the MIA permanent collection.

As the exhibition planning and execution continued to progressed, it became obvious to me that this would become an exhibition with a selection of some of my favourite stories, and objects. From light and humorous to dark and frightening, this exhibition explores different stories of how things came into existence.

Following the opening more programming, tours, and art activities will connect with the show and I hope you have a chance to see it this summer.

– Posted by Taylor M., MIA’s Collections Intern

Introducing our new Collections Intern!

8 May
Hi! My name is Taylor Maunder and I am excited to be the new Collection Management Intern.


I am currently a student at Georgian College’s Museum and Gallery Studies post-graduate program. I came into this program after starting my university career at the University of Ottawa as a Science student. It wasn’t until my second year there that I found, and fell in-love with, the university’s Classical Studies program. After switching programs midway through my second year, I found a little museum associated with the school, the Museum of Classical Antiquities. As a third year student I began volunteering there and soon began to love museum work, working up with objects so often left behind glass. So I decided to pursue a career in museum work.


And so I searched for an internship position which would allow me to working with a collection of objects that I found interesting and knew little about. This, of course, led me to the Museum of Inuit Art. I will be the Collections Management Intern for the next four months where I will be working beside Lauren Williams and the other staff of MIA to gain as much knowledge as I can! I hope to be gaining knowledge on current museum practices, applying some of my schooling, and of course learning about Inuit Art, the culture and the artists.


– Posted by Taylor M., MIA’s Collections Intern

Be Part of MIA: Adopt an Object

11 Jan


This year, MIA is  really excited to launch a new fundraising program: Adopt an Object!

Supporters of art made by Inuit can now select a piece of the museums Permanent Collection currently on display and symbolically “adopt” that piece for a one year term. MIA’s staff members have selected some of their favourite objects as candidates for adoption based on their unique characteristics, notable history and impressive craftsmanship. Each of these pieces will be highlighted in future blog posts, so be sure to check back in and see our selection.

The ‘Adoption Package’ includes:

  • a photograph and description of the piece you have chosen to adopt, which you can proudly display in your home, office or classroom
  • names of individuals will be entitled to have their names listed as Adopters on the object labels within the museum space
  • recognition on our websites Donors’ page
  • name included in the museum’s Annual Report
  • invitation to a special cocktail reception to thank all participants for their generous contributions to the museum
  • additional programming opportunities are also available upon discussion with the Associate Curator Alysa Procida

All funds raised from this initiative will go directly into the educational programming and continued preservation of MIA’s collection. As a public institution that holds its work in public trust, conservation of the museum’s collection is one of MIA’s top priorities. This is especially true for those objects made out of sensitive materials such as ivory, textile or paper. At the same time, MIA is southern Canada’s only museum devoted exclusively to art made by Inuit, meaning that the museums ability to effectively offer engaging educational programming is crucial. Through the Adopt an Object program, staff hope to acquire resources to help us manage these challenges. This will allow us to continue to educate the public about the art and its conservation.

Adoption Rates:

  • Small stone, antler and ivory pieces                                              $150
  • Medium stone, antler and ivory pieces                                         $300
  • Large stone, antler and ivory pieces                                              $500
  • Ceramic pieces                                                                                   $200
  • Wall hangings and soft sculpture works                                       $200
  • Prints and textile pieces                                                                   $200
  • Prints and Wall hangings made by Master Artists                     $700
  • Sculptures made by Master Artists                                                $1,000

All donors adopting an object will be issues a tax receipt. Rates are established based on the material and size of the artifact being adopted. After the priority works listed above have been adopted, additional opportunities will become available.

We thank all those that choose to support us in this endeavor by adopting an object. It is through the generous contributions of such individuals that we are able to further our mission: “to ethically acquire, conserve, research, communicate and exhibit for the purpose of study, education and enjoyment, material evidence of the history of Inuit art and culture in the Canadian Arctic”.

Posted by: Brittany Holliss, MIA’s Visitor Services Officer

Spotlight on Volunteers: Sophie

15 May

At the Museum of Inuit Art, we greatly appreciate the time and effort of our volunteers contribute in ensuring the museum meets its mission and mandate. On any given week, we have approximately thirty volunteers, all of whom come from a variety of backgrounds and are an amazing asset to MIA. We asked some of our volunteers to share their museum experiences with us. First volunteer that we’d like to introduce you to is Sophie. Sophie not only helped out a great deal at the Front Desk but also did translation for our MIA Magazine that came out in January 2012. We’ve included the interview below in English and French as it was translated by Sophie!

Volunteer Sophie in the entrance of the Museum of Inuit Art
Sophie has been volunteering at the Museum since May 2011

Q: How did you first get involved with MIA and what do you like most about volunteering here?

A: I decided to give some of my time to the museum thanks to another volunteer, Juliana that I know outside of MIA who told me how amazing it is to work at the museum. What I love the most is the atmosphere. The staff and the volunteers get along very well, everybody is nice, and the surrounding art is beautiful.

Q: If you could tell our readers something about MIA what would it be?

A: The MIA is a wonderful museum that you cannot ignore. It is a hidden gem in Toronto

Q: Can you tell us about a particularly interesting experience that you’ve had during your time at MIA? 

A: I had the chance to be involved in the first edition of the MIA Magazine as the French Translator. The museum gave me this incredible opportunity to start my translator career and I am very grateful for that.

Q: Quels ont été vos premiers pas envers le musée et que préférez-vous le plus en tant que bénévole?

R: J’ai décidé de devenir bénévole au musée grâce à une autre bénévole, Juliana, que je connais en dehors du musée et qui m’a dit à quel point il est fabuleux de travailler au musée. Ce que je préfère le plus, c’est l’atmosphère. Les employés et les bénévoles s’entendent tous très bien, tout le monde est très gentil et puis l’art qui nous entoure est magnifique.

Q: Si vous pouviez dire quelque chose à nos lecteurs à propos du MAI, de quoi s’agirait-il?

R: Le MAI est un musée merveilleux et surtout incontournable. Il s’agit d’une pierre précieuse de Toronto bien cachée.

Q : Pouvez-vous nous raconter une expérience intéressante en particulier que vous avez vécue au MAI?

R: J’ai eu la chance d’être impliquée dans la première édition du MIA Magazine en tant que traductrice vers le français. Le musée m’a offert cette incroyable opportunité de pouvoir débuter ma carrière et j’en suis très reconnaissante.

Most recently, Sophie had to leave her position at the Front Desk to move to France. From all of us at the Museum we wish her, her husband and doggie all the best in their new life overseas! You’re greatly missed!


Posted by: Karolina Tomaszewska, Development Officer


Next Conversation Series Announced!

30 Jan

As promised, the installment of of Skype Conversations series is Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory, the Executive Director of Qaggiavuut! Society for a Nunavut Performing Arts Centre! If you’re not familiar, Qaggiavuut! promotes performing artists in Nunavut – from filmmakers to drum dancers and beyond – while raising funds to build Nunavut’s first performing arts centre. Laakkuluk is also a performer: you can read more about her work here.

There’s lots to talk about and we want your input! Do you want to know what kinds of performing artists are a part of Qaggiavuut? Anything about the history of performing arts in the Arctic? Want to know why they’re interested in a Performing Arts Centre? Laakkuluk and I will be speaking this Thursday at 2 PM (EST) so leave your questions in the comments and I will be sure to ask. Then check back for the video, which should be posted late that afternoon!

Posted by: Alysa Procida, MIA’s Educational Coordinator

Arts and Crafts with Danielle!

28 Jan

As some of you may already know, in MIA’s M. and G. Thiel Educational Centre, we provide a variety of hands-on art and cultural activities from 12pm to 4pm every weekend. Our volunteer Arts Assistant, Danielle, helps to come up with an array of arts and crafts activities inspired by Inuit art on display in the Museum.

Volunteer Arts Assistant Danielle with an Inuksuk pendant made out of clay!


Volunteer Arts Assistant Danielle is at MIA every Saturday from 12-4 helping visitors (of all ages!) create their very own works of art.

Make your own MIA inspired pencil toppers out of clay!

Make your own MIA inspired pencil toppers out of clay!

Make your own Inuksuk magnet or pendant out clay!

Here at MIA we always have something fun and exciting going on! Be sure to check out our website and also our blog for more information on upcoming events, activities and exhibitions.

Hope to see you all soon!

Posted by: Karolina Tomaszewska, MIA’s Development Officer


2011 In Review

3 Jan

As we move into 2012, we want to quickly take a look back at 2011. It’s been a big year for the museum as we’ve expanded and moved into new territory, such as this blog. Here is 2011 in review:


Artist Abraham Anghik Ruben visited MIA to install Memories: An Ancient Past (2010), a sculpture which will eventually travel to the Smithsonian in 2012.


We opened our Twitter account and this blog!

We published its Inuit Wallhangings colouring book, focusing on wall hangings from Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake). The museum donates 500 copies to Rachel Arngnammaktiq Elementary School in Qamani’tuaq.


We posted our introductory guide on our website.


MIA celebrated International Museum Day by conducting tours focused on museums and their relationship to memories.

MIA welcomed artist Noah Maniapik to conduct a printmaking workshop with visitors, courtesy of the M. and G. Thiel Educational Centre.



MIA celebrated National Aboriginal History Month by beginning Playing Favourites, a project encouraging visitors to have their pictures taken with their favourite piece in MIA’s collection and tell us why it is their favourite. The project is so successful it is extended indefinitely.



MIA began offering Quick Chat programming, aimed to entice visitors to look more closely at objects in the museum’s collection by giving short, focused introductions to particular objects.


In addition to the museum’s traditional audio guides, the museum now offers printed versions of the text for those who prefer to read rather than listen. The museum also began implementing bilingual signage throughout the museum’s interior to better serve its diverse audience and installed family-friendly labels throughout the museum in order to better serve the museum’s family audience.


MIA Director David Harris and Educational Coordinator Alysa Procida travelled to Kangirqliniq (Rankin Inlet), Nunavut from September 17 to September 24 to assist with project development, museum acquisitions and future exhibition planning.


We participated in Culture Days, a nation-wide weekend of free cultural activities aimed at engaging the community in arts and cultural programming. MIA offers free printmaking workshops and hands-on activities.

We welcomed the Inuit Art Society and artist Billy Gauthier to tour the museum as part of their annual conference. Representatives from the museum discuss the museum’s progress, mission and plans for the future at the conference in Hamilton.

MIA completely overhauls its audio guide system and implements Quick Response (QR) codes throughout the museum. When scanned by a smartphone or tablet device, they link visitors directly with relevant audio tracks, photos, videos, maps and additional information relevant to the object.

We opened its exhibition The Unique World of Jessie Kenalogak and incorporated physical and virtual ways to ask the artist questions and begin dialogue about the artwork with other visitors.


We published its Inuit Art in Canada in softcover, as well as its Introductory Guide and Gallery Selected Pieces Volume 1  as eBooks.

MIA launched its new membership categories with overhauled benefits, responding to visitors’ needs for a more customizable system.


MIA partnered with the National Film Board Mediatheque in Toronto to celebrate the launch of Unikkausivut: Sharing Our Stories. MIA visitors and members are entitled to a 10% discount on the DVD, while visitors to the NFB Mediatheque who also visit MIA receive a complimentary copy of Inuit Art in Canada.

2011 was a great year for the museum and we are looking forward to 2012: it’s the International Year of Co-Operatives and our partnership with the NFB Mediatheque continues this month. Stay tuned for more updates!

Posted by: Alysa Procida, MIA’s Educational Coordinator