Canadian Museums Association

One of my favourite pieces of art, Louise Bourgeois' famous spider sculpture, Maman, outside of the National Gallery of Canada. "The Spider is an ode to my mother. She was my best friend. Like a spider, my mother was a weaver. My family was in the business of tapestry restoration, and my mother was in charge of the workshop. Like spiders, my mother was very clever. Spiders are friendly presences that eat mosquitoes. We know that mosquitoes spread diseases and are therefore unwanted. So, spiders are helpful and protective, just like my mother."
- Louise Borgouise 

I’ve been busy attendind the Canadian Musuems Association annual conference in Ottawa.  Part of my job was to help host the 2013 CMA reception as we’re hosting it here in Whitehorse next year and to promote the Knitting for History Project.  So many knitters and cultural workers were thrilled about our project combining art, science, transportation and yarn.  I hope I was able to convince a few to create some yarnbombs and help out.

I atteneded a great course, titled, Science Technology and Grandeur.  Part 1 was a tour of the Sciene and Technology Museums Corporation collection.  Part 2 was a behind the scenes look at the education and outreach of the Parliment.   Not many people know that  Parliament has curatorial, archival and public programming activities to manage, preserve and interpret its heritage and material culture in the context of a working legislature.

Not for public viewing, is the rare book collection and archives in the basement of Parliment.

The first part was a guided tour with the museum experts of the artifact storage building to admire the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation massive and extensive collection, which is not usually accessible to the public. Only 2% of the collection is on public display! Technology and scientific instruments including locomotives, automobiles, aircrafts, photographic equipment, music boxes, clocks, printing technology presses, horse-drawn carriages, chain saws, agricultural equipment, and much, much more.

Dining car for Queen Elizabeth's train tour of Canada

For a museum/gallery nerd like me, it was intersting to see such a large collection, which is mostly in storage.  I asked how they engage the public about the wealth of their collection and conservation efforts.  They have behind the scenes tours and always participate in their local Doors Open event.  That’s one of the main reasons I love Doors Open, getting to view the mostly hidden or private buildings and collections in your town.

Antique wool carding machine

There was lots of disucssion on conservation of machinery and history of transportation.  Conservation is something we here at YBY take very seriously.  We’ve been working with conservation officers on a local level and with the Canadian Conservation Institute, to ensure that our yarn bombing of the DC-3 won’t cause any damage.   Transportation museum collections & conservation are often misunterstood by the general public.  People think that these are just machines, which are used to being exposed to the elements, having lots of wear and tear and gnerally a rough life of industrial use.  Howver, they, just like any other musuem piece, must be well cared for and preserved, even if they are outside and exposed to the elements like our DC-3.  I’m hoping to have a blog post from a few of our local conservators that we’ve been working with to explaine the conservation process for this project.

What you can't see in this bubble, is antique farm machinery being disinfected from bugs and chemicals.