CBC Museum in Toronto shutting its doors

Vintage microphones, cameras and other equipment moving to Ottawa

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The CBC Museum is closing its doors Friday. Many of its vintage microphones, cameras and other broadcast equipment will be moved to Ottawa. (Grant Linton/CBC)


The CBC Museum in the network's broadcasting centre in Toronto will be shutting down on Friday and converted into a new studio for kids programming.

Many of the hundred-plus items on display — microphones, cameras and other equipment — will be relocated to Ottawa. A small theatre which shows old CBC programming will also be closed. 

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The museum opened in 1994, but has been 'showing its age,' according to network executive Soo Kim. (Grant Linton/CBC)

The move was "grounded in our concern about our need to preserve the stuff that's in the museum," said Soo Kim, executive director of media operations, English services.

"I didn't think we were doing a very good job of running a museum, to tell you the truth," she added. 

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Costumes and the famous Tickle Truck from the popular CBC series Mr. Dressup. (Grant Linton/CBC)

Kim also said she wanted to start revitalizing some of the building's spaces.

"We wanted to showcase the stuff we do and we thought CBC Kids would be a great thing to put there." 

The museum opened in 1994. Many of its items, which date back decades, will be transferred to Ingenium, an umbrella group that oversees three museums in Ottawa, over the next year. It's not known which site will get the items, though the Canada Science and Technology Museum already houses some 600 other objects from CBC. 

One last look at the CBC Museum in Toronto 0:38

The new location will "more fully represent the technology the corporation used over its many years of broadcasting activities," said Bryan Dewalt, director of the curatorial division of the Ingenium.

"It's extremely important [because it reflects] the impact communications technology has had on Canadian society, culture, even the Canadian economy," he said.

"Technology has a role in both shaping our identity and we, as Canadians, can have an impact on how they're used and how they're modified." 

Kim said museum attendance was "kind of dismal" and "we haven't had a chance to invest," in it. The museum is on the ground floor, next to the also-closing Graham Spry Theatre, though some other displays are all but hidden in another part of the building, behind a pair of escalators.

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The Sesame Park Muppets. (Grant Linton/CBC)

The museum "was showing its age," Kim said. 

The list of items being moved to Ottawa is still being determined. Kim said the items that stay in Toronto will likely still have a place somewhere else in the broadcast centre. 

Construction on the CBC Kids studio will wrap up by early May.

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