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Chimczuk Museum in Windsor Opens in Time for Black History Month

February 25, 2016

February is Black History Month in Canada, the US and the UK: a time to celebrate prominent individuals, notable events and unique cultures of Black communities both globally and locally. Although Black History Month is a mere 20 years old in Canada, Canadian Black history extends far earlier than the 1990s.

The City of Windsor’s Black history runs particularly deep. Located on the border between the US and Canada, it meant freedom for many escaping slavery in the United States and was home to many abolitionist and civil rights leaders. At Museum Windsor, there’s plenty to discover about Black History. Explore the history of the Underground Railroad—listen to spiritual songs that held hidden messages about meetings and directions, and see if you can figure out the codes on your own. Find the moss growing on a tree that would direct freedom seekers northward. Meet Mary Ann Shadd and learn about the anti-slavery newspaper titled The Provincial Freeman that she established in Windsor in 1853, as well as her other achievements as an abolitionist, teacher and civil rights leader.

Black History Month is also a time to recognize the enslavement and discrimination experienced by Black individuals and communities all over the world. Museum Windsor does not shy away from this, acknowledging slavery of Blacks in Canada prior to 1834 and noting that Windsor’s prominent founding families were slave owners themselves. It also explores Windsor’s role in the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-20th century and the efforts of individuals and groups to achieve racial equality. Attempting to reconcile a past filled with injustice and persecution is a critical element of moving forward, and Museum Windsor plays an important role.

The new Chimczuk Museum officially opened on February 18, 2016. Located at 401 Riverside Drive, together with the revitalized Maison François Baby House at 254 Pitt Street West and the Interpretive Centre at the Duff-Baby House in Sandwich, it makes up Museum Windsor. In addition to Black History, the Museum explores other communities that are key to Windsor’s past and present, including Indigenous, Francophone, and immigrant groups. Visitors can also learn about Windsor’s prehistoric beginnings, its role in the War of 1812 and other conflicts, its industrial and agricultural history, natural features, and much more. Stop by and experience Windsor’s history and living cultures for yourself!

Lord Cultural Resources has worked with Museum Windsor since 2011, when it was engaged to develop a Feasibility Study for the Museum’s expansion. In 2014 Lord was re-engaged with a team including Hariri Pontarini Architects and Holman Exhibits to implement the recommendations, and was responsible for Interpretive Planning, Concept Design, and Content Development for the new Chimczuk Museum and the Maison François Baby House.

 

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Lisa Wright

About The Author

Lisa Wright is a Senior Consultant in Exhibitions at Lord Cultural Resources.

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