toronto museum

Toronto is getting its own museum (sort of)

Toronto is finally getting its very own museum. Well, "Myseum," actually. It won't have a physical space (initially, at least,) but the group of private citizens at the core of the organization hope the city will embrace the idea of a mobile, partly digital initiative.

The Myseum of Toronto isn't affiliated with the city's own heritage-focused organizations, like Heritage Toronto, the City of Toronto Archives, or Museum Services, but the Myseum's board of directors, which includes former mayor David Crombie, expects to work closely each one, as well as local historical groups.

The idea is essentially this: instead of securing a building and spending time filling it with artifacts and exhibits, the directors and staff of the Myseum will first focus on creating the infrastructure of a museum (building a collection, fostering community partnerships, and sourcing ideas) with perhaps a view to slotting it in to a permanent location at a later date.

"We're more excited about this approach because you can have a museological experience without going to a building and looking at an exhibit," says Karen Carter, the Executive Director of the Myseum of Toronto. "Even if that exhibit is engaging, it's sending you to one place. And we really want the city and visitors to the city and people in the region to get to know the city more holistically. To get to places they might not otherwise have."

The Myseum plans to kick off with a mobile, Antiques Roadshow-like event that will appraise and log items owned by members of the general public. That box of old Kodachrome photos stashed in the attic crawl space, those Blue Jays ticket stubs from opening day at Exhibition Stadium, maybe that old streetcar roll sign salvaged from a dumpster could become part of future pop-up exhibits.

"We're really hoping people embrace the idea of looking through their basements, and their garages, and under the bed," says Carter. "What would you bring to say say: 'This is personal to me, do you think has some significance to Toronto's history?' The Toronto we have right now is really diverse, so we really need to look at the artifacts and the cultural stories and narratives that reflect that diversity."

It's all a bit nebulous at the moment, but Carter says the precise details of the Myseum's first event and the concept as a whole will be hammered out in the coming weeks.

"Honestly, it's not completely defined. But for us, it's just letting people know if you start with them looking for stuff, the rest will come."

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.


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