The Galt Museum has been recognized nationally for its work to share Indigenous voices. It won an honourable mention in the social impact category of the Canadian Musuem Association (CMA) awards this year. It recognizes the significant contributions of a museum advocating for advancement of important social causes, such as reconciliation, sustainability, climate action and inclusiveness, according to the CMA.
“We really focused on the reconciliation aspect of it,” said Darrin Martens, CEO of the Galt Museum and Archives. “It sends an important signal to us that we are on the a good path and the right path and also it really shows our respect for the Indigenous community and putting their voices first when it comes to this content.”
Through the pandemic, the museum looked to the internet to engage audiences. Martens said this led to creating a series of videos sharing Blackfoot culture and history, which can be seen on the museum’s website and YouTube channel.
“We asked what can we do and how could we really meet the moment? What came forward was a number of short and long ideas for videos,” he said. These range from a few minutes, to longer, 45 minute videos. “Understanding that audiences have different interests in the content, in Blackfoot history and culture, we thought it was important to create a variety of different times and different themed subjects.”
Martens said winning the honourable mention was humbling and a validation of the goal to focus on reconciliation at the museum.
“We thought we had a fairly good submission because part of our strategic plan is really rooted around reconciliation, it’s one of the pillars of our strategic plan and providing that opportunity for Indigenous voices to tell their stories, from their perspectives, the way that they want. We really sort of step back and just provide a platform,” he said.
He added it gave motivation to continue doing the work, including working towards longer feature documentaries.
“Making a notable effort to reimagine the role of museums as the keepers of knowledge, the Galt Museum’s digital content initiative, Voices of the Land, is a skillfully produced addition to its collection,” reads a CMA news release about the award.
The winner in the social impact category was the Winnipeg Art Gallery, one of Canada’s largest museums, with its Inuit Art Centre. It is home of the world’s largest collection of contemporary Inuit art, with 14,000 pieces.