By Bob Pearson, Adult Public Programmer
"I thought all the activities would be for kids. I had no idea the entire family could be involved! We ALL had a great time at Glenbow Museum!" That's one more satisfied family, thanks to Glenbow's family programmer Stacey Bozak and her team of interpreters. They create all the fun learning experiences in the ARC Discovery Room. The team is always going beyond the ordinary, to ensure, families come again and again.
This year, those same families voted Glenbow Calgary's Best Museum. Glenbow is thrilled to receive this distinction as part of the 2008 Calgary's Child Magazine Parent's Choice Awards.
Drop-in visitors of all ages enjoy art activities related to Glenbow's collections and exhibits. During our recent Emily Carr: New Perspectives on a Canadian Icon exhibition, youngsters and parents delighted in the chance to sketch and paint west coast forest scenes, hook wool rugs and put pen to paper to do some journaling. All of these activities are similar in nature to the type of work Emily Carr undertook. This authenticity of experience is a thread that runs through all the family activities and programs. There's always something new and surprising to do in the ARC Discovery Room!
On weekends, Glenbow offers Family Fun programs. Guest artists and performers lead participants in a wide variety of activities. Some of these are classics and are offered regularly. Each year at Easter, families eagerly take part in the decorating of Pysanky (Ukrainian Easter eggs). Another spectacle, that always draws a crowd is the re-enactments of medieval combat, combined with the chance to try on some replica armour. Other activities have included drawing cartoons with Emily Carr, played by local actor and artist Chester Lees. Like the activities offered in the Discovery Room, these are free with the price of admission.
On Thursday and Friday mornings, at selected times throughout the year; Glenbow offers Discoveries Big and Small. This is a program for younger visitors, ages four through seven and eight through twelve. Although both groups are introduced to the same activities, the skill of the interpreters and visiting artists who deliver the program, ensure that the challenges fit the age level. The program always includes a story time and activity in Glenbow's exhibition galleries. When Glenbow opened Mavericks: An Incorrigible History of Alberta, Discoveries Big and Small participants made cardboard and paper airplanes, little replicas of the Curtis Jenny that can be seen in Mavericks.
Glenbow's permanent galleries feature elements suitable for all ages and learning styles. The Warriors Gallery showcases scale models of battles as well as a number of interactive audio-visual displays. Mavericks: An Incorrigible History of Alberta also holds interest for the technologically inclined as well as many low tech sensory experiences. Touch the beaver pelts at the fur trade counter or sniff the scents trappers would have smelt during their hunt. Play a board game that demonstrates the hardships of the early days of the North West Mounted Police and push the plunger that sets off a charge of nitroglycerin. In Nitsitapiisinni: Our Way of Life (Blackfoot gallery) listen to the powerful stories of the Blackfoot people, told in their own words.
Yes, there's something for everybody at our museum. That's why local families have voted Glenbow Calgary's Best Museum!