Upon entering the gallery, the Arctic will be introduced through a multimedia experience using sound, light and images, developed by the museum in partnership with the National Film Board. Visitors then enter the wing, where they immerse themselves in the Arctic’s natural history and human connections through four broad themes: climate, geography, sustainability and ecosystems.Each section features specimens or artifacts, interactive games and activities, videos and infographics to share the relevance of each theme to the story of the Arctic. Timeframes range from the deep geological past, when the Arctic was much warmer than today, to the present, where animals and humans are facing the challenges of climate change.
Highlights include an assortment of “star” objects that represent the themes in each of the four zones. A projection of the Aurora Borealis, and a 3-D circumpolar map will anchor the geography zone, for example. A bowhead whale skull covered by lichens will lead into the sustainability zone, which examines how Arctic peoples have used, and continue to use natural resources-from interactions with animals and plants for food, clothing and tools, to the extraction of energy resources, to the continuing connections to the land.Five principal interactives or games will appeal to different types of learners. These include an Arctic Discovery Game about geography, a touchscreen experience to follow hunters during summer on the land, and a grocery game about food security, comparing prices in the Arctic to those in Ottawa. Two aquaria, one including Arctic Cod, will bring to life the Arctic’s marine food web. And 12 short videos called “People Capsules” will present first-person experiences of those who live or work in the Arctic.
While the museum has a legacy of Arctic research dating back more than 100 years, the museum has developed the gallery’s content with input from an advisory committee, in order to include perspectives of Indigenous communities and others who have experience in the North. One outcome of this input is the Northern Voices Gallery, a special exhibition space in the Hall to be curated by representatives of Arctic communities. Exhibits will reflect past and current responses of northern peoples to their environment and landscapes. The inaugural show opening June 21, 2017, “Inuinnauyugut: We are Inuinnait”, will be presented by the Kitikmeot Heritage Society, based in Cambridge Bay on Victoria Island, Nunavut.Partners that have helped achieve the vision of the Canada Goose Arctic Gallery include the National Film Board, ArcticNet, Oceans North, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Canadian Wildlife Service, Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and numerous Canadian universities. In addition to the signature sponsorship from Canada Goose, the museum has received additional financial support from The Salamander Foundation and The W. Garfield Weston Foundation. The design consultant for the gallery is GSM Project in Montreal.