Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame partners with the Museum of History



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EDITOR’S NOTE: An article online Tuesday about Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame at Canada Olympic Park contained incorrect information indicating that it was closing. The Canadian Sports Hall of Fame will continue to operate, in partnership with the Musée d’histoire de Gatineau, Quebec, for special exhibits.


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Cheryl Bernard considers a joint venture between Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and the Canadian Museum of History a victory for all Canadians.

Call it teamwork at its best to ensure that our sporting history is accessible to all and preserved for future generations.

The two museums – the Calgary Hall of Fame and the other from the greater Ottawa area – have come together as part of the pan-Canadian initiative with support from the Canadian government.

“It’s a victory for everyone,” admitted Bernard, President and CEO of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. “The partnership will help the two museums tell the story of our sports history, and the partnership will allow the two museums to continue to build the collection together.”

Physically, this means that the Hall of Fame has moved part of the CSHoF collection from its WinSport location to the History Museum.


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That said, the Calgary Hall of Fame is going nowhere, continuing to see itself as a community builder – and doing so through the power of sport.

“Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame will remain here in Calgary,” said Bernard. “All of our educational programs will come out of here, all of our digital creation will come out of here. All of our exhibitions that will be immersed in the community will be created here. We will be running our organization from here. But the collection will be housed at the Canadian Museum of History.

“There will be artifacts here, as we will continue to loan some of them here so that we can continue to create exhibits and exhibits and use them for our educational programs. “

In particular, once Calgary Legacy imagines its new imprint in downtown Calgary and reopens after the pandemic, it will feature an Indigenous sports heroes exhibit, a possible Terry Fox exhibit, and an annual classroom locker room. of the Hall of Fame.


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“We will remain entirely intact in Calgary,” said Bernard. “It won’t budge from here. We are re-imagining what our physical footprint will look like. “

Meanwhile, relocating his artifacts to the History Museum helps them project into the future.

“The Museum of History – because it receives significant funding from the Government of Canada – has the enhanced ability to digitize and expand the collection so that the history of Canadian sport can be shared with more Canadians », Continued Bernard. “And then we will have access to the entire collection for our future exhibitions and for our education programs, but without the costs of maintaining, hosting and digitizing the collection of 110,000 artefacts. It’s incredibly expensive to do it ourselves, and we don’t have any financial support from the government. So this partnership basically provides that support.


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“We cannot afford to digitize – it would take another 100 years to do so. “

Three years ago, Bernard joined us to help realize a vision for the Hall of Fame – including that of Vice President and COO Janice Smith – to engage and impact more Canadians.

But it wasn’t until the pandemic hit that it changed the way it delivered the history of sport in Canada.

Rather than spreading the right word only to the 40,000 annual visitors who have passed through the Calgary Museum’s turnstiles, the story is now being told virtually so that it can reach 37 million Canadians.

“It’s a reinvention of the Hall of Fame, and it had to happen,” said Bernard. “Financially – hopefully – this country will go through this pandemic, but it will take years. So I think collaborations and joint venture partnerships are going to be valuable. Museums have always struggled and I think we need to get ahead of the curve.


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“For some, COVID has been so dismal, but for us it was really where we were forced to transition,” Bernard continued. “COVID has forced museums to seek unique ways to continue to be vital and to support the growth and rebirth of communities. I really think museums need to stop behaving like museums. We have always tried to attract the public to a building. And now I think we are growing beyond our four walls. And it really came from COVID. “

Bernard says the virtual movement has been influenced by the direction the Smithsonian has taken in recent years in creating digital content for global consumption.

“I am very proud of what the Hall of Fame has accomplished over the past 15 months with a very small but powerful team,” said Bernard. “With it all, we’ve expanded our education programs and we’ve moved them all to virtual, and now we’re reaching classrooms across the country.


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“We ran an amazing campaign called ‘We Will Be Better’ – and it raised awareness about systemic racism. We did vignettes on (CFL legends) Norm Kwong and (Michael) ‘Pinball’ Clemons and the racism they faced. We hosted a Virtual Indigenous Summit in October 2020, and it inspired a vision for our Hall of Fame that links sport and reconciliation. And out of that summit was born what I think is one of the most important initiatives our hall has ever launched, and that is our Indigenous Sports Heroes Education Experience – a seven-year digital multimedia exhibit. It’s a game changer aimed at educating, inspiring and healing by showcasing our 14 Indigenous Hall of Fame members.

“It’s part of our mission to reach all Canadians, and this closure has really pushed us towards this vision that we’ve been trying to achieve for three years.”

[email protected]

Twitter: @ToddSaelhofPM



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