Tag Archives: programming

An Internship Farewell

25 Aug

Goodbyes are never easy, and this week at the Museum of Inuit Art (MIA) is no exception. The time has come for me to finish another summer of work here at the Museum of Inuit Art, and I must say, it’s just as difficult the second time.

As you can imagine, I’ve grown quite attached to the MIA. I never expected that I would get the chance to work here for two summers in a row, but I’m so grateful I did! Back in May 2014 when I started my first Young Canada Works position as Visitor Services Officer, I had a lot to learn about museum work. My knowledge has drastically increased since then, as I’ve had the opportunity to fill various roles during my time here, such as conducting a visitor evaluation, processing admissions at the front desk, giving tours and promoting MIA at local arts and culture festivals.

I would like to thank all the volunteers who helped out with all the out reach sessions we attended. It was so great to meet people who were interested in learning and sharing knowledge about art and history. It’s so inspiring to see community members giving back by lending their time and experience.

I would also like to thank all the visitors that came out to the programming – both on and offsite of the museum. It was great to put into practice what I had been developing behind the scenes. Through interactions and testing I was able to adapt some new activities and make them even better for the next group of curious museum seekers.

And last but not least I would like to thank MIA staff for welcoming me back, and for making this summer such a wonderful experience. I’ve learned even more about museum work and programming, and after venturing all over Toronto with our outreach team and special events volunteers, I’ve been able to see the museum from a different perspective. Bringing objects from MIA’s Educational Collection to Toronto Public Library branches and local events opened my eyes to the many outreach possibilities in the city, and I’m grateful to have been a part of that.

Even though I’m leaving at the end of another rewarding summer, I look forward to visiting the museum again soon – I’m especially excited for the Abraham Anghik Ruben exhibition this fall! I am so fortunate that I’ve been able to gain experience in my chosen field, and I couldn’t have asked for a better place to work. Thanks again, MIA!


Posted by Serena Y., MIA’s Community Engagement Officer

Get Up Close and Personal: Please DO Touch!

21 Aug

Over the past few weeks, Serena -the museum’s Summer YCW work intern, has been developing more interactive programming inside the museum. After brainstorming, researching, testing and training volunteers she was able to launch Get Up Close and Personal to share art works directly with museum visitors. Read about her experience creating the new program below.

Keeping museum pieces secure and safe from harm is a priority at any museum or art gallery. No museum is complete without a large sign or two saying “PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH”. However, if you’ve been to MIA in the last couple of months on a Thursday afternoon, you may have had the chance to participate in our new Get Up Close and Personal sessions.

These interactive sessions offer visitors the unique opportunity to touch objects from the MIA Educational Collection. Pieces in our Educational Collection are meant to be handled, so visitors can feel free to pick them up and learn more about the texture and material of each object.

I’ve been running these weekly Get Up Close and Personal sessions since July, and the results have been overwhelmingly positive so far. Visitors enjoy engaging in this tactile experience and trying to guess what material each piece is made of based on its texture.


Serena is all set to go for ‘Get Up Close and Personal’. You can join a session every Thursday from 1-2 PM in the museum.

It’s quite interesting to see how visual appreciation of the works in the museum translates to visitors’ tactile experiences – I often ask visitors to feel the porous texture of the antler doll in the collection and to guess what material it is made of. The most common answers are “bone” and “wood”, so most visitors are surprised to learn that the doll is made of antler, which caribou shed every year.

It has been especially rewarding to see how visitors make connections between what they have already seen in the museum and what they are holding in their hands. Once visitors find out that the carved ivory piece is a walrus tusk, many of them mention the narwhal tusk and the small ivory sculptures in the historical case at the museum.


Pieces from the museum’s Educational Collection that reflect the different types of materials and textures you can find in art produced by Inuit.

I’ve even encountered visitors who are familiar with Inuit art and have recognized different types of stone, pointing to Pudliak Shaa’s “Dancing Goose” and saying, “is that serpentine?”

These interactions with visitors are part of what makes working at MIA so fulfilling. I love contributing to visitor learning and watching visitors discover more about Inuit art. If you’d like to see (and touch) these objects for yourself, be sure to drop by the museum on Thursdays from 1-2 PM!

Posted by Serena Y., MIA’s Community Engagement Officer

Introducing Our New Community Engagement Intern!

14 May


Hello, my name is Tom and I am the new Community Engagement Intern here at the Museum of Inuit Art! I’ve been volunteering as a docent with MIA since August 2014. As a docent, I have had many wonderful opportunities to gain community engagement experience and I’m hoping to expand on that during my internship. Aside from my public docent tours that lead visitors through popular themes in Inuit art, stylistic differences across the Canadian Arctic, and the various types of material used to create the art, I’ve also assisted with several special events – you may have seen me during March Break and Winterfest! I’ve also had the opportunity to deliver MAP Family Saturday programing where I’ve visited Toronto Public Library branches and brought out museum artifacts from the museum’s Educational Collection for Hands-On sessions, played traditional Inuit games and led art activities so visitors could bring their own piece of art back home. I’ve also been attending a Museum Management and Curatorship program at Fleming College over the course of the past year. This program helped me develop a solid foundation of knowledge upon which to build my museum experience. While the program involved all sorts of work including care of collections and exhibition development, I’ve always had a strong interest in working with the public. When I needed to seek out a placement for an Internship for the MMC program, the MIA stood out to me both due to my cherished experience with the museum as well as the fact that I knew it had a lot of community programing coming up over the spring and summer. I was very happy that the Museum was willing to host my internship, and am excited to have the opportunity to develop my skills during my time here. I am really excited to be a part of the MIA team, thanks for having me! – Posted by Tom E., MIA’s Outreach Intern

Introducing Our New Programming and Outreach Assistant!

22 Feb
Caitlin 2

MIA’s newest staff member Caitlin H. with her favourite piece at the museum “Fire Spirits Rising” (2008) by David Ruben Piqtoukun (1951 – ) Paulatuk, stone, charcoal


My name is Caitlin Hudson, and I am the new Programming and Outreach Assistant at the MIA! I’m a graduate of the Applied Museum Studies program at Algonquin College, and over the past few years I’ve had the opportunity to work in museums, art galleries, and archives all across Ontario. I have worked in many different areas of museums (including collections, exhibitions, and programming), and I’m always looking for an opportunity to learn something new. I have little experience working with Inuit Art, so working at the MIA is the perfect opportunity for me to diversify my knowledge of art and art history.

I’m going to be working on a lot of different projects here, including developing new and exciting programming for visitors of all ages, and working on different outreach initiatives. I’m so excited to join the MIA team, and I look forward to meeting you at an upcoming programming event! Be sure to check out the museum’s events page to see what I’ll have in store you for this month for March Break and other special dates and programming.

– Posted by Caitlin H., MIA’s Programming and Outreach Assistant

Worldwide Knit in Public Day!

5 Jun

IMG_3376   MIA front lobby podium covered in crochet hexagons to celebration of Worldwide Knit in Public Day.

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.

Special community exhibition case be prepared for visitor contributions as a part of Worldwide Knit in Public Day celebrations.

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

Calling all Sewing Enthusiasts in Toronto!

24 Jan

Do you love to sew?  Would you be interested in volunteering your time to the creation of a community-generated art piece?


“Sewing” by Flickr user Mundoo. Used under Creative Commons License.

The Museum of Inuit Art is busy at work developing our public programming for Family Day during which we will be creating a collaborative art piece in the museum.  A wall hanging will be made by the public based on the theme of community and how family connects us. Individuals can contribute a textile piece to the wall hanging by cutting out a design from available fabric scraps. But to do this, we need your help!

We are looking for people to be onsite at the museum on February 16 to 18 from 10 AM to 6 PM to help sew and/or embroider public submissions onto the base of our wall hanging. This community-generated art piece will then be put on display in the museum for the remainder of Heritage Week (February 19 to 24)!  

This idea is inspired by an exhibition currently on display at MIA entitled Stories From My Grandmother: Irene Avaalaaqiaq, which showcases Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake) artist Irene Avaalaaqiaq’s personal and narrative style as demonstrated in her wall hangings, drawings, prints and beautiful amauti construction. Inuit wall hangings represent an authentic textile art form with an emphasis on inventive composition and expert technique.  Irene has stated that: Whenever I see my wall hangings they remind me of my life. I always remember my grandmother and the stories and legends she told me.

Did you know?
Wall hangings or neevingatah means “something to hang”. In traditional Inuit culture, women were highly regarded for their sewing abilities because survival of the entire family depended upon having expertly crafted clothing for the extreme Arctic weather. Wall hangings were created from leftover clothing scraps, using duffle as a base or background and felt pieces sewn on top to create a decorative design. Today, the tradition continues with skilled artists using brightly coloured fabric, beads and textiles to create distinctive and striking artworks.

We look forward to celebrating this art form through the completion of Toronto-made wall hanging!

To be a part of this exciting initiative, please email the date and time you are available to come sew at the museum to Lindsay Bontoft, MIA’s Volunteer Coordinator at miamuseum [at] gmail [dot] com.

Posted by Lindsay Bontoft, MIA’s Volunteer Coordinator


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