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Cultural Institutions: October 2012 Archives

New Museum of Canadian History might be "boring"

desmondmorton.JPGThe Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau is Canada's biggest and popular museum. It draws around 1.3 million visitors every year. 


The Museum will now be known as the Canadian Museum of History, and it will take a more narrow focus on  "national achievements and accomplishments that have shaped our country, " according to a government press release.

Desmond Morton is one of Canada's most prominent historians. He is a professor emeritus at McGill University and the author of 41 books on Canadian history.
 
"The government does have the right to make this kind of name change, but it does reflect a lot about this government and about the kind country they want us to be," says Morton.
 
"One of the reasons we don't pay much attention to history is how boring it's become," he says. "I rather like the broader interpretation, because as a historian I find the exciting things are not the traditional preoccupations, but they are the concerns of individuals."
 
"Canadians will find in the version of history that is imposed [in the museum's new focus] the boredom that they felt in school when history came up," predicts Morton.
 
Listen to Desmond Morton's conversation with Jeanette:
 
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(Picture, l-r: Gail Morton, Desmond Morton, Jeanette Kelly. Photo by Tanya Birkbeck.)