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Museum London Is The HeArt of the Community

People think of museums like a senior’s home for where art, artifacts, old bones and relics go to hang their hat for their final days or years of existence. There they sit on display for the musings and ogling of passers-by to gleam some form of education, enjoyment and evoke thought from exhibits.

Museums can be large and boring places where you feel as if you are in a maze looking for buried treasure. The experience could end up being the worst 4 hours of your life. Time you will never get back and learned the square root of zero from the supposed adventure hailed by friends as a place you won’t regret visiting.

Museum London shatters those perceptions of museums who display historical relics and dust from yesteryear with the same exhibits for decades which gives these places a bad rap.   

Nestled at the forks of the Thames River, in the thriving metropolis of London Ontario, Museum London is home to many exhibits, displays and artifacts that typically don’t overstay their welcome of more than 4 months to a year at any given time. Not enough time for the dust to settle for some displays, but enough so many are able to harvest an enjoyable, enlightening and exciting experience.

It wasn’t always this way as the Museum itself was housed in the London Public Library from 1940 to 1980. Renowned architect Raymond Mariyama was commissioned to design its current home. Mariyama has designed such breathtaking places as the Canadian War Museum, Science North, and the Bata Shoe Museum to name a few.

Once the building was completed it provided a new and breathtaking experience for those wishing to forgo going to antique stores to see exhibits from their ancestors. In fact, the new building was such a success and with room for additional displays, the London Regional Art Gallery was welcomed in 1989 creating what is known today as Museum London.

Many areas were included in the design and construction to make it more inviting for exhibits and patrons, but also a place where you can host any sort of event making it more diverse to many individuals, groups, organizations and businesses. It was like a gift from Santa who knew what was needed in the community of London.

The new building, which overlooks the fantabulous Forks of the Thames River, has many areas available for rent. The Lorraine Ivey Shuttleworth Community Gallery is surrounding by world-class art which could be a memorable location to say your “I do” at your wedding while standing next to a ‘Group of Seven’ piece of timeless art.

The Centre Gallery is the gateway to many exhibits in Museum London that provides an ideal setting for a gathering of 150 people. Could be the great place to launch your next bestselling novel.

Need to host a lecture or show pictures from your latest excursion to the Amazon Rainforest, the Lecture Theatre at Museum London can house 150 of your friends, colleagues or business associates.

Should you find yourself looking for a place to hold a private meeting away from the office, there is even a Boardroom at your disposal.

After you have held any one of your events there is The River Room Restaurant at Museum London where you can dine in comfort in one of the best views in the city.

If you prefer something a bit lighter to delight your palate there is also the Rhino Lounge Bakery and Coffee Shop. Don’t worry the Rhino doesn’t bite but does offer some scrumptious and tasty treats.

In continuing to move forward as an integral part of the community Museum London is launching an addition to the popular hot spot of downtown by putting in a wheelchair accessible connection or catwalk which connects the Centre Gallery to the second floor. This is in efforts to bring London back to their roots by the Thames River.

Museum London acknowledges that it operates within the traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Attawandaron and Wendat peoples. This territory where Museum London resides is the homeland of the Chippewa of the Thames First Nation, Oneida Nation of the Thames and Munsee Delaware Nation.

Museum London fully recognizes the contribution and moulding of London and area as a community and to the province and country as a whole.

There is even a Gift Shop on site to purchase an item for someone special. They have a large selection of cards, ceramics and glassware. In fact, if you are so inclined you can rent a piece of art for your own personal perusal and admiration in the confines of your own home.

Now does this sound like a stuffy old museum to you?

There is also a myriad of events, programs and displays for families too. Camps for kids where they can design their own piece of art or other creative collages. But what about adults and teens? Museum London, for years, has put together a wide array of programs for those of any age, so yes there are always activities available for the young at art.

The staff also have programs and activities that are geared or tailor-made to meet the increasing interest and thirst for knowledge which can only be delivered by a visit to Museum London.

In 2008 they took this one step further by providing Outreach Programs which takes Museum London to the classroom with an interactive curriculum and in classroom art projects instilling positive growth and inspiration only delivered by a museum. Approximately 800 elementary students take part in the Art Outreach Program each year. Teachers are particularly appreciative of the ongoing opportunities for students to learn about art and history. In many cases, the in-class programs have been followed by a field trip to Museum London.

Exhibits do change on a regular basis to keep the experience new and fresh to those who walk through the many areas of displays. In the past such exhibits as ‘Guilty Pleasures and Bad Habits: Alcohol, Caffeine, Tobacco and…, or Canada and London: 150 Years of Growing Together, London’s First World War, Unsettled: The Relationship Between First Nations and London’s Early Settlers and Out With The Old? Creating a Throw Away Society have garnered the halls and galleries with many memorable moments and throngs of patrons paying homage to our past.

Museum London has carved out a niche in our community and continue to engage people and potential patrons with new exhibits of interest. Keeping their exhibits new, fresh, on a rotating basis, as not to become stale, meets the needs and thirst of the community for knowledge and an appreciation of art and events of the past is what his building at the Forks of the Thames delivers.

Unlike days gone by where many of us grew up with were dragged to the museum to look at dusty old artifacts which turned into a yearly family outing and about a boring as watching paint dry. Some of the museums of today have broken the mould and the old stereotypes and made the journey to the museum engaging, exciting, enticing, enlightening, hands-on, informative and a joy to take our children where they also get something out of it.

Museum London has moved forward and broken new ground as to the definition of a museum used to be. They have the right stuff and the correct ingredients to break away from the doldrums to what museums used to be like. They are a key component to London and surrounding area being connected with people through conversation and their presence but also through social media by having an active presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Their newsletter keeps those who wish to be informed and up to date with events are sent out on a regular basis.

Museum London has woven itself through the very fabric of our diverse and growing community touching many through technology to engage new and existing lovers of Museum London. They are in the community, a hub of the city, a meeting place, a timeless classic where culture, history, art, workshops, knowledge, admiration and enjoyment are working together in tandem to provide and deliver a memorable experience to all who enter the doors.

However, be wary of the metal rhino sculpture out front, as it has been known to move or lunge harmlessly at those entering Museum London. After all isn’t it time you experienced a new adventure?