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Craigleith museum wins award for documentary film series

The Craigleith Heritage Deport won an award from the Ontario Historical Society for the REEL history series featuring four short films and two virtual reality films about local history


The Ontario Historical Society is pleased to present the 2020-21 OHS Dorothy Duncan Public History Award, which recognizes an outstanding public history project delivered in Ontario, to Craigleith Heritage Depot for their documentary film series entitled REEL History which included four short films and two virtual reality films.

The Craigleith Heritage Depot put community voices and their own primary resources to work, creating a collection of accessible historical documentaries and virtual reality (VR) films. Two of the six films are VR, taking viewers on a dive to an 1872 shipwreck, and guiding them on an escarpment walk with an Ojibway-Saugeen elder. The project generated a great deal of public interest in regional history, both locally and around the world. 

The project provided opportunities to share new technologies and provide access through virtual reality to physical areas in the community that many people would never be able to visit. Craigleith Heritage Depot worked closely with many First Nations, local businesses, archaeologists, historians, and local government. The reach of their cooperative partnerships is truly impressive, and is evidenced in the quality of content produced. The project is a fantastic example of how museums and heritage organizations can build trust with the community by engaging a multitude of voices and experiences in the process of creating new programming.

Visitorship at the museum has increased from roughly 900 visits prior to closure to over 16,000 in-person and remote experiences. The project has dramatically increased local engagement with history and culture, while providing an opportunity for people across the world to enjoy learning about Ontario’s history.

The Honours and Awards Committee is proud to present the 2020-21 Dorothy Duncan Public History Award to the Craigleith Heritage Depot and all of its partners.

Founded in 1888, the Ontario Historical Society is a non-profit corporation and registered charity dedicated to the preservation and celebration of Ontario’s history for people of all ages and cultural backgrounds. To learn more about the OHS’s Honours and Awards Program, or to submit a nomination, visit the historical society website here.