Permanent ExhibitionsHistory

Canadian History Hall

Location
Gatineau, Canada
Client
Canadian Museum of History
Surface area
40,000 sq ft
Completion date
2017
GSM Project / Natalie Gadoua
Overview

In 2013, the Canadian Museum of History mandated GSM Project to rethink its iconic Canada Hall. The objective was not only to showcase the content and bring it up to date, but also to create an installation that would offer visitors a fluid path through the space while ensuring a new standard of universal accessibility. The team took up the challenge of telling the country’s story in a modern and comprehensive way, without shying away from any aspect of it.

GSM Project / Natalie Gadoua
GSM Project
GSM Project
GSM Project
An iconic gallery transformed

The original Canada Hall had been a visitor favourite at the museum for 25 years before it was closed in September 2014. The previous year, GSM Project had been named as principal designer for the new project and given the task of presenting the museum’s impressive collection and telling Canada’s story in a way that visitors would find novel, authentic, and thought-provoking.
More than 40 members of the GSM Project team were involved in the project over four years. Working alongside dedicated personnel from the Museum of History (formerly the Museum of Civilization), as well as a large team of architects, engineers, fabricators, and media producers, GSM Project delivered a new exhibition that tells the story of Canada from the last ice age to the present day. The new Canadian History Hall opened its doors on July 1, 2017, 150 years (to the day) after Canada's confederation. The exhibit’s rich content gives visitors the chance to discover history from different points of view; in particular, the stories of Canada's indigenous peoples were thoroughly explored, putting a spotlight on the experiences lived by First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people from coast to coast to coast.

GSM Project
GSM Project
GSM Project

"The Canada History Hall is the biggest project undertaken by the Canadian Museum of History since it opened in 1989. We are very grateful to all those who contributed to its development, especially GSM Project for working hand in hand with the Museum’s team and with head architect Douglas Cardinal to come up with a rich, contemporary concept that covers 15,000 years of history, and stays true to the building’s emblematic architecture."

Chantal Amyot

Director, Canada History Hall

GSM Project

In the past, I steered friends and relatives visiting Ottawa away from the [Canadian Museum of History] . Not anymore.

Ian Austen

New York Times

GSM Project
GSM Project

Summary

This huge four-year project saw GSM Project collaborate with the Canadian Museum of History to create the largest exhibition on the history of Canada, and one that explored that history from the viewpoints of the real people who lived it. A challenge successfully met: not only was the layout of the gallery rethought and updated but the space now presents Canada’s history in a truly authentic way, documenting the highs, lows, and everything in between.