Permanent ExhibitionsEconomics, History

Bank of Canada Museum

Location
Ottawa, Canada
Client
Bank of Canada Museum
Surface area
8000 sq ft
Completion date
2017
Overview

In 2017, the Bank of Canada moved its permanent visitor centre into a new home, and with it, into a new identity. Formerly the Currency Museum, the new Bank of Canada Museum in downtown Ottawa has reopened its doors with a brand new mission. Today, it goes beyond the collection to bring the work of the Bank to Canadians of all ages by demystifying its key functions and interpreting Canada’s monetary heritage.

GSM Project was mandated to oversee the design, interpretive planning, and build of the brand new permanent exhibition. To do this, we began with one clear mission: to create a visitor experience that would explore three simple questions — What is the Bank of Canada? What does it do? And why does it matter to me?

GSM Project
Making economics exciting for young people

Primarily targeting youth aged 15 to 25 years old, the exhibition explores the four key functions of the Bank of Canada — setting monetary policy, promoting a sound financial system, issuing Canada’s bank notes and acting as fiscal agent for the Government of Canada. But how do you make macroeconomics relatable and appealing to young people? You make it about them. Visitors are placed at the centre of the museum experience, first discovering their unique role within the economic system, and later developing a greater understanding of Canada’s place in the global economy to see how the Bank of Canada helps to ensure it all runs smoothly.

GSM Project
GSM Project
We are the economy

Our creative team collaborated with the Museum and the Bank of Canada’s experts to bring this complex story to life in an approachable, human and transparent way. Through a variety of means, from colourful data visualizations, documentary videos and animations to mechanical and digital games and a multimedia show, visitors discover all kinds of bite-sized content over the course of their journey.

GSM Project
GSM Project
GSM Project
GSM Project

“Whether you buy a chocolate bar, put money in a piggy bank, or use a credit card in a purchase, we’re all part of the economy, and together we make it move and make it happen.”

Paul Berry

Chief Curator, Bank of Canada Museum

GSM Project
Stepping into the heart of the system

The exhibition is highly interactive and employs the latest technology to approach subjects like inflation and supply and demand in playful ways. Visitors begin by creating a digital avatar that follows them on their journey across a series of games and content, encouraging them to reflect on their daily lives to see how things like spending and saving habits ultimately contribute to Canada’s economy. Other highlights include a video game that challenges visitors to fly a rocket ship through a galaxy of inflationary and deflationary forces and a design station where museum-goers can create their very own bank note.

GSM Project
GSM Project
GSM Project
GSM Project

“I am so proud of this new Museum. It immerses Canadians in the economy and the work of the Bank of Canada in ways that people of all ages can understand and enjoy.”

Stephen Poloz

Governor of the Bank of Canada

GSM Project
Always up to date

Central to the design of the exhibition was the need for tools that make it possible to update content on the fly. 1400 artefacts from the Currency Collection are up on display and visitors can consult a digital kiosk to see the objects up close and to learn more about them. Using Expo Manager, a content management system developed by GSM Project, the Museum staff can update these digital labels whenever necessary.

GSM Project
GSM Project
GSM Project

Summary

The Bank of Canada Museum is an interactive experience that makes the work of the Bank and economics in general exciting and relatable for Canadians of all ages. GSM Project was mandated to design and build all aspects of the permanent exhibition.