December 2011

Posted by: Hanna Cho on December 23, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Originally slated to close on October 23, 2011, the coming close of on January 1, 2012, is bittersweet.  As one of the longest running exhibitions at the MOV, we'll be sad to see this beautiful and rich feature, disassembled.

Launched on May 5, 2011, Vancouver’s Bhangra Story was the culmination of over two years of collaborative research, a mini exhibit (April 2010), two community consultations, and hundreds of hours of primary research. was a collaboration with the Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration, and was co-curated by community researcher Naveen Girn and MOV's Curator of Contemporary Issues Viviane Gosselin

Beginning with an unforgettable opening party on May 4, 2011 where over 500 people joinedVancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson plays the dhol special guest performers - including Mayor Gregor - in a vibrant celebration of this groundbreaking exhibition.

The research and collecting phase helped generate the first historical interpretation of Bhangra’s significance in Vancouver, and demonstrated its role as a cultural tool for inter-cultural bridging during labour disputes, challenging gender roles and re-imagining the definition of Canadian identity.

What the research, design, and curatorial team hoped to accomplish, was not just mount a beautiful exhibition displaying artefacts, but to use the exhibit itself, and related programming in order to catalyze new understandings about intercultural relations, hybrid identities, and strengthen community ties with(in) the South Asian community in Vancouver.

We're honoured to have Bhangra story mapworked with such amazing people, met so many great Bhangra fans, and we look forward to continuing to see, hear, and share Vancouver's bhangra stories on the Storymap!

For those of you who haven't seen the beautiful touchscreens inside the exhibition, this is one piece of the exhibit, that will live on, indefinitely.  We invite you to add your story to the map, by uploading a photo, anecdote, to what we hope will become the next natural gathering place for Bhangra fans around the world!

Representing another first for the Museum of Vancouver, this hybrid Drupal/Silverlight powered storymap was a collaboration made possible by a community sponsorship from Microsoft Canada, in particular the Open Platforms crew, lead by Nik Garkusha.  A neat mobile version of the storymap was developed for W7 Phones by Redbit.

In all, with just a week left in what has been a truly remarkable journey, we hope you'll come check it out here at MOV, listen and dance, tell us what you think, and continue the conversation online.

Balle balle!

Posted by: Gala Milne on December 20, 2011 at 5:37 pm

MOVments: current events in Vancouver by the Museum of Vancouver

It’s five days before “the big day” and you’re traveling home, cooking feasts, and franticly overspending on the perfect gift. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were some kind of alternatives?Vancouver tool library

Folks in New York are sharing a few thrifty secrets with us: toy-sharing, tree-loaning, and tool-lending  are all the rage this year. Luckily for you, Vancouver has it’s own tool library.

Never really warmed up to the idea of tofurkey? Still looking for a holiday-bird alternative? Some careful digging on The Tyee tells us that 2012 might be the year we look forward to Schmeat, meat of the future. Once you realize how tasty it is you’ll be saying…

“All I want for xmas is my two front teeth!” However, the Federal government has just announced an early gift to Canadians: reduced health care transfer to the provinces! Ontario claims this will remove $21 billion in health care funding over the next 10 years and 8.2bn for Ontario alone. Maybe we’d better stay away from those shortbreads for a while.

For those of us who aren’t skipping town this week, this fantastic 1960’s Vancouver tourism video will have you know that Vancouver was the most happenin’ place for a date. On the other hand, maybe you’re stuck with a household of sibling rivalry this winter. In which case we’ve selected a podcast on “Nemeses” from This American Life to stick under your tree.

From the MOVeum: All the best and see you in the New Year!

Posted by: Gala Milne on December 14, 2011 at 12:12 pm

MOVments: current events in Vancouver by the Museum of Vancouver

Moon cycleChocolates and shortbreads aside, we’ve selected a few tasty stories for you to chew this week as many of us prepare for winter hibernation in Vancouver. Unless, of course, you’re one of the many who aren’t so keen to kick it in this increasingly unlivable city. Vancouver is now deemed the 22nd ‘most livable’ city in Canada in ratio to family income. With the giant sea turtles washing ashore in Tofino and bears getting caught in our urban spaces, it seems even our wildlife can't survive long in the city.

Last refuge: space! For those of us awake Saturday morning at 5am, you might have been lucky to catch a glimpse of the lunar eclipse.

As forewarned, bright and early Monday morning, Occupy The Ports was carried out to varying degrees from Oakland to Portland to Vancouver, without the support of labour unions, and without much disturbance to regular port traffic in Vancouver

Calling all birders. Bird photographers are out in force and capturing their imagination is the impressive number of snowy owls that have made their appearance at Boundary Bay. Some 18 have been spotted at one time perched on logs and in the grasslands. It’s tough to see snowy owls any time of the year, let alone 18 in one place. They’ll be around all winter, but better to catch them now while they’re being seen.

Near the MOVeum: Migrating birds dropping in on Vancouver are at their height in December. A walk around Vanier Park (in Kitsilano) or Stanley Park will offer a lot of diversity, more so than any other time of year. Come visit the last weeks of while you're in the neighborhood, and maybe you'll spot the eagle that enjoys sitting on our roof!

[photo credit: "9//365", by Jeremy Saunders; "Winking Snowy Owl", by Pandamon via flickr]


Posted by: Gala Milne on December 8, 2011 at 4:48 pm

"All good things come to an end..." or do they?

The interactive storymap project has marked exciting new directions for the Museum of Vancouver in realizing the multiple ways in which we, as a community, can deepen our connections to one another.

For government, arts and culture organizations, and technologists alike, the challenge of storytelling has become more complex as we transition from the town square and into a web-based world. After the colourful walls come down at the end of December, wrapping up an extremely successful 7-month exhibition, the interactive storymap means that we are able to continue sharing personal tales of bhangra culture in Vancouver.


Borne of a conversation between the MOV's curator of audience engagement, Hanna Cho, and Nik Garkushka from Microsoft, a strong desire was hatched to bridge new forms of web-based and mobile tools with civic conversation around bhangra history in Vancouver. From there, the challenge would be developing the resources, knowledge and connections necessary to bring the storymap to life.

Lucky for us, Nik had a strong interest in using (excuse the jargon) MSFT tools around Silverlight to be inter-operable with Drupal and Open Source platforms, and commissioned Mark Arteaga of RedBit, and Aaron McGowan to create the customized map. Wildly exceeding our expectations, they not only created the online interface that drives, but they also developed the standalone mapping application that has been displayed inside the built exhibition space.

We are sincerely thankful to Nik, Mark, and Aaron for their finely tuned dedication to this project as well as the donation of the two touchscreen monitors that have been mounted in the exhibition.

The art of storytelling: revitalized

The next part of the storymap was completely up to you, as participants, to share your tears, laughter, and secret dance moves with the rest of the world. And you did! From mobile videos to written stories, photographs and slideshows of your personal moments with bhangra culture throughout its interesting history in the Northwest, we saw an entirely new form of social and historical connection take place at the Museum of Vancouver. A connection which saw you, the museum-goer, as directly involved in the make-up of the exhibition, as well as part of the greater cultural landscape that makes Vancouver so unique.

The MOV's first ever exhibition on the history of south-asian folk dance may be coming to a close, but your ability to share reflections, romances, and realities on your personal history with bhangra will continue to live on through the interactive online storymap.

Posted by: Gala Milne on December 6, 2011 at 7:17 pm

MOVments: current events in Vancouver by the Museum of Vancouver

Enbridge mapWith the controversy surrounding the Gitxsan First Nation and the non-unanimous handshake with Endbridge in Northern BC, our thoughts this week at the MOV have a key focus on environmental justice.

As the Gitxsan community outlines, more frequently the language of apathy is turning to the language of uproar when it comes to the environment. As Hanna pointed out, teachers are speaking out against the “Catch $25” wherein public schools are increasingly financially immobilized by BC’s carbon neutrality goals in ways that local government, the private sector, and corporations are not.

Even The Muppets (yes, Kermit and Miss Piggy), are having their say on our global oil addiction in their latest movie, much to the chagrin of US FOX news broadcasters who state the Muppets are ‘brainwashing’ your kids with their liberal agenda!

All this action makes for exciting times, and in case you need some extra encouragement, here is a well-articulated TEDx talk about the Antidote to Apathy. Ultimately, this video asks us to stand up, and speak out – which is exactly what Michaelle Jean wants women to do in the effort to end violence against women on this 22nd anniversary of the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.False Creek map

Concrete jungle – be gone! The City of Vancouver announced winners of the re:CONNECT urban viaduct design contest last week with entry no.71, a parks-and-public-places entry, as the most popular choice.

At the MOVeum: You’re invited to participate in the MOV’s public forum on food resiliency this Wednesday. In partnership with Vancouver Food Policy Council and Village Vancouver Transition Society, From Here to There: Food, Energy, and Resiliency in Vancouver starts at 5pm!