GATINEAU, QC, Canada – The exhibition Canada’s Titanic – The Empress of Ireland, produced by the Canadian Museum of History received the Prix d’Excellence – Groupe institutionelle 1 from the Société des musées québécois (SMQ) during the annual SMQ conference in Lévis, Quebec on September 30.
The SMQ awards are aimed at recognizing, stimulating and rewarding excellence in museum practices throughout the province of Quebec. They honor work by its members that has contributed in a significant way to the advancement of Quebec museology.
On May 29, 1914, two ships collided on the St. Lawrence River. The Empress of Ireland sank in less than 15 minutes, taking 1,032 people with her. Although to this day the sinking is the greatest maritime disaster in Canadian history, its story was overshadowed by that of the Titanic and soon eclipsed by the outbreak of the First World War.
“The Museum of History is honoured to receive this award,” said Jean-Marc Blais, Director General of the Museum. “We are especially proud since this is the first exhibition developed under the Canadian Museum of History’s new mandate. As Canada’s national museum of history, it was our role to highlight this largely forgotten historical event and give it the place it deserves in our collective memory. The exhibition team can be proud of what they accomplished.”
This remarkable exhibition marks the centenary of the sinking of the Empress of Ireland and transports visitors into the heart of the tragedy. Through artifacts, which came in large part from the wreck itself, historical documents and first-hand accounts, Canada’s Titanic – The Empress of Ireland has brought new life to accounts of the devastation, rescue, despair and courage that marked the sinking, thus exploring the profoundly human aspects of this catastrophe.
Presented at the Museum of History from May 29, 2014 to April 6, 2015, the exhibition was a huge success, attracting more than 265,000 visitors. It was developed in partnership with the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, where a modified version of the exhibition will run from November 23, 2015 to November 13, 2016.
Located on the shores of the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec, the Canadian Museum of History is Canada’s largest and most popular cultural institution, attracting over 1.2 million visitors each year.
The Museum’s principal role is to enhance Canadians’ knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the events, experiences, people and objects that have shaped Canada’s history and identity, as well as to enhance Canadians’ awareness of world history and culture. Work of the Canadian History Museum is made possible in part through financial support of the Government of Canada.