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A medieval velum (calfskin) manuscript. Photo: Colin Noden/Apt613.

Exhibition: Medieval Europe at the Canadian Museum of History—until 01.20.19

By Colin Noden on June 11, 2018

Canadian Museum of History Director Jean-Marc Blais introducing British Museum Deputy Director Joanna Mackle. Photo: Colin Noden/Apt613.

The Canadian Museum of History’s Medieval Europe display is busting out of the showcases and into your hands this June.

The British Museum has loaned over 200 medieval artifacts to the Canadian Museum of History for this exhibit which will run until January 20, 2019. But this June is when all the fun is happening.

Bring the kids on June 9th to 16th. Families get to put on medieval costumes and build their own castles. On Thursdays, until Aug 30th, you can learn calligraphy as well. Kids-Bricks-Quills-Ink-Costumes…What could possibly go wrong? No worries. The people in the museum’s Imagination Space are amazing at keeping everything organized. The happiest kids in town are usually found in their care.

Adults can get a little “me time” during the adult only Medieval (K)night at the Museum (June 14th) which will be part cocktail party, and part master class. This is one of the most enriching ways to experience the exhibit, as you get an exclusive tour with access to the curator and team members. Their passion transforms an interesting exhibit into an amazing discovery.

Some of the artifacts on display. Photo: Colin Noden/Apt613.

And of course, you have to have Knights in a medieval exhibit. From June 14—23, you will have a chance to throw down the gauntlet. Not really, the museum staff would freak out, but you can wear one. You can slip on the chainmail and try to get it off without losing an ear. Squeeze into a helmet and get a real perspective of what it might have been like on a chaotic battlefield. This is a literal hands-on experience. There will also be experts there to further immerse you in the experience by explaining the armor, the heraldry, and why this aspect of medieval Europe still holds so much personal emotion within us.

This exhibition, developed through a collaboration between The British Museum and the Canadian Museum of History strives to entertain and inform at every level. The exhibit tour finishes off with an interactive video tour which addresses the question, “What does all this mean to me today?” It’s a thoughtful way to end a fun visit.


Medieval Europe: Power and Splendour is on display until January 20, 2019 at the Canadian Museum of History (100 Laurier Street, Gatineau). Visit historymuseum.ca for more information about special events being held on select dates until October 20, 2018.


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