MOD Launches New Exhibit Comparing Historical Events to Today | bloginfo(‘name’); ?>
October 22, 2021 0 comments
By Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative reporter
The story may be repetitive, but how does it compare over time?
The Museum of Dufferin (MOD) has launched a new main exhibit called “Through the Looking Glass”, which allows visitors to explore how events and everyday happenings of the past compare to those of the present.
The exhibit features 21 unique topics including marriages, agriculture, child care, film and television, with exhibits of historic Dufferin County artifacts. A “look here” feature is like a magnifying glass allowing visitors to see specific items up close.
“When people hear it’s an exhibit once in a while, they’re going to look at artifacts and think about how different things are now, but the other part of it is sometimes you realize how much things haven’t changed that much,” Sarah said. Robinson, curator of the MOD.
The “Through the Looking Glass” exhibit has been in the works for the Dufferin Museum since 2019 and was scheduled to open in April 2020. While working to reconfigure the exhibit’s interactive components, the museum added two new screens to the place of the COVID-19 pandemic and the historic Black Lives Matter marches.
“It’s amazing what can happen in two years and as things progress we decided we need to change a few things with us as well,” Robinson said.
In the midst of a global pandemic, the MOD begins the exhibition with an exhibit focusing on the history of pandemics; specifically the 1918 Spanish flu. The display notes comparisons of the restrictions to the closure of schools, churches, libraries and all public gatherings in 1918 and 2020. Medical artifacts reading ‘chloroform lozenges’, ‘medicinal essence cinnamon concentrate” show the growth of drugs.
Moving forward in the exhibit, a mental health exhibit shows how treatment has changed over the decades. A look back at century-old prison records lists “madness” as a cause of imprisonment.
“We weren’t prepared as a county from the start to deal with mental health as we think about it now,” said MOD archivist Laura Camilleri. “We had a prison, which unfortunately served more of our local social services.”
One display that Robinson says she likes to give as an example of comparing yesterday and today, is the case of communication. Displayed with an old rotary phone, she says it gives a visual understanding of the advances in technology that now allow us to have phones in our pockets.
While the “Through the Looking Glass” exhibition explores a wide range of topics, each one was chosen based on the curiosities of visitors from the past. Robinson said she noted over the years, as visitors entered the MOD, what they found interesting about the story.
Based on these interests and the artifacts the local museum has in its collection, each display case was assembled.
“The majority of our collection is donated by community members and each year we receive hundreds of artifact donations to our archives and artifacts collection,” Robinson said. “Our mandate is that the artifact must relate to the history of Dufferin County. What makes the exhibition are the stories linked to the artifacts.
The Dufferin Museum recently reopened to the public and take advantage of visits to learn more about the history of the community.
The “Through the Looking Glass” exhibit is set to remain the MOD’s main exhibit until the end of 2023.