Library and Archives hopes to boost profile with exhibits
The Librarian and Archivist of Canada wants the institution to have a stronger public presence in the national capital region once again, nearly four years after the public works department took over managing the ground floor at 395 Wellington St.
It has not regained its former exhibition rooms, but Library and Archives hopes the public will visit its lobby for Hockey Marching as to War, an exhibit it has created with the Hockey Hall of Fame about the impact the First World War had on hockey players.
“I have very strong feelings about having people in contact with the actual documents or artifacts,” said Guy Berthiaume. “It’s a very different emotion than just seeing it on the internet.”
He plans to have exhibitions in the lobby “all the time now,” he said.
Library and Archives also has a three-year arrangement to exhibit art from its collection in the National Gallery of Canada. It is also working with the Canadian Museum of History on its revamped Canada Hall, which is slated to open in 2017.
It will also be providing exhibitions that can travel across Canada.
It wasn’t long ago that historians and the public were feeling shut out of 395 Wellington Street. Library and Archives used to put on exhibitions in rooms on the first floor, but that space turned into meeting rooms when Public Works and Government Services took over management of the space in January 2012.
Berthiaume’s appointment in 2014 was lauded because he is a historian, whereas his predecessor was not. Daniel Caron resigned amid controversy after overseeing cuts to inter-library loans and funding cuts that also brought controversy.
Library and Archives employees are enthusiastic about sharing their work with the public, said Berthiaume, adding they are planning for Canada’s 150th birthday.
“If I have my way, we’re going to have something major for 2017,” said Berthiaume, “And we would show the best of our portraits and our collections, so that would be really neat.”