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Oct. 16, 2021 | Saturday
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Museum uses social media to connect with public
Shawna Butts, acting curator of the Niagara Historical Society and Museum. (Brittany Carter/Niagara Now)

The Niagara Historical Society and Museum is reaching out of the past and into the digital era by joining in on a seven-day #MuseumWeek social media campaign.

Boasting a new theme and corresponding hashtag for each day of the week-long campaign, which runs from May 13 to 19, staff will publish posts and encourage visitors to do the same while using specific daily hashtags, which can be found at

Part of an international marketing strategy with the emphasis this year on women in culture, Museum Week aims to boost awareness about the significance of cultural institutions around the world while also connecting with the public.

With the spotlight on women, the Niagara museum will focus on historically important women from town during the online campaign, said Amy Klassen, acting managing director and society administrator.

“For women, we might highlight someone like Janet Carnochan, who founded the museum, or we might highlight someone like Laura Secord, or women who have contributed to the history of the town that people may not know about.”

Museum Week falls under the broader Museum Month, which the Ontario Museum Association has been advocating for all municipalities to officially recognize. During the April 8 council meeting, the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake approved a motion to declare May as Museum Month.

As May also is the start of the summer tourism season, it’s an appropriate time for promotional awareness of Ontario’s culture and heritage, said Michela Comparey, conference and communications co-ordinator of the Ontario Museum Association.

Marie Lalonde, the provincial association’s executive director, said in an email that Ontario’s museums are vibrant and vital parts of communities across the province.

“They hold relevant and meaningful collections that tell stories of the past, present and future. May is Museum Month (and) is an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of museums to their communities and to kick-off the summer tourism season.”

The Niagara museum is ready for the exposure the month will bring with a new exhibit. From Head to Toe will run from May 16 until Oct. 31, highlighting the fashion collection on location. Up to 30 pieces of men’s, women’s and Indigenous clothing will be on display, spanning from the late 1790s to the 1950s.

All pieces, except for the Indigineous garments, come from the museum’s curated collection, said Shawna Butts, acting curator of the museum.

“Since we are only able to show historic dress as isolated pieces, without any accessories, we have also decided to display some portraits, both painting and photography, from our collection to show visitors how individuals actually dressed. Some of the portraits also feature a few of the dresses on display,” Butts said in an email.

On International Museum Day, May 18, the Niagara museum will offer free admission, providing a “great opportunity for locals to see the new display,” said Klassen.

The museum is located at 43 Castlereagh St., and will be  open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily from May to October.