Where I’ve Been: A Bring Your Thing Pop-up Museum

Where I’ve Been, our latest pop-up museum, was hosted at the Kingston Military Family Resource Centre. Between the people and museums that came out, the many activities and the fascinating items, you can be sure we had a great time!

The Military Communications and Electronics Museum and Fort Henry both brought in incredible items from South Korea and Washington, DC, respectively. The Royal Military College (RMC) paid a visit as well as the Douglas library’s W.D Jordan Special Collection. All together they helped make our event successful !

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Under the theme of Where I’ve Been the main feature of this pop-up museum was an interactive map. Together, guests and volunteers were asked to reveal the farthest or the most interesting places they had been to.Each string colour used signifies a different type of travel. The yellow string was used for vacations, the blue string for moves/relocations and the purple for work trips. The interactive map was a hit and provided everyone with interesting conversation-starters and unique insights into different places around the world.


The guest speaker for the next Bring Your Thing: Remember When, John Fielding, event shared a mesmerizing story about his move to an Australian military base, while this event’s special guest, Violette Hiebert was the only person to have their string reach South America (Paraguay).

Special Guest, Violette Hiebert
This edition of
Bring Your Thing’s special guest was Violette Hiebert, the Director of Tourism Kingston. As mentioned earlier, Violette is from Paraguay and brought in two tumblers, one from Paraguay and the other collected during her travels to San Francisco. Hiebert explained that the tumblers were important to her because they make her feel closer to home and remind her of their significance in her family growing up.  


Japanese box & Copy of a WWII map from Russia

This map of Nova Scotia, dating back to World War II, is more interesting than you might think. It is written entirely in Russian! Sara Bushey, its owner, says that she purchased it while travelling overseas. Bushey also brought in a unique object from Japan. This  jewelry box and its contents were a wedding gift to Mrs. Bushey. Indeed, these items highlight the wide variety of items and places everyone had been to at this past pop-up museum!

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Vegemite and Crackers

Hannah Ardnt, a Bring Your Thing guest, brought in Vegemite and crackers as it reminds her of family. Ardnt’s parents were born in Australia and her grandparents send them Australian snacks and food. Made from yeast extract, Vegemite, is a food spread that has vegetable and spice additives. Vegemite is as important in Australia as maple syrup is to us here in Canada.


Feel free to check out more of the cool items people brought on our Facebook page!

Thanks to the many unique and personal items brought to our event, Where I’ve Been was a resounding success! Our events was filled with wonderful storytelling and great conversation. Be sure to mark your calendars for next week! This Bring Your Thing: Remember When? will be hosted at the Seniors Centre (56 Francis Street) on Tuesday April 18th.

What’s Your Story: A Pop-up Museum

Our second pop-up museum “What’s Your Story,” hosted at the Isabel Turner Library was a great success. We saw many new faces, a few familiar ones and some incredible items!

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The Marine Museum showcased a St. Lawrence Seaway plate featuring the opening of the interior of Canada connecting American and Atlantic shipping.

W.D. Jordan Special Collections was also there and brought along some unique finds. The first was a book with a fore-edged image of Kingston said to have been based off of a W.H. Bartlett print. Also of interest was a book of gems, filled with family shields allowed visitors to look up their own families and shields!

If you are interested in learning more about your family and genealogy check out the program at the Isabel Turner Library.

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Maple Syrup:

What’s the story behind this bottle of maple syrup, you may ask? Well in 1811, Augustine Henry Walt, born in 1754 America, moved to Canada in search of land.  After petitioning and being granted land ownership they began producing maple syrup, hence the bottle of maple syrup.



This red and white handmade quilt was stitched specifically for Margi McKay’s father in the early 1920s and has been in their family ever since. Each square has a different image inspired by advertisements from the time period. This quilt is even more interesting because of the Redwork embroidery used, which was an inexpensive, fast and very popular quilt practice in the early 1900s.

Autographed Books:

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What make these autographed books brought by in Karen Bryson truly interesting is not that they were signed by celebrities (i.e. Charlie Chaplin, Frank Hines), but that they were also signed by members of her family. Exchanging autographed books between friends and family was very popular practice at the time. Did you know that as early as the 15th century people were exchanging autograph and friendship books with drawings, personal messages, poems and other notes inside?

Special Guest and Performance:

A highlight of our event was special guest Selina Chiarelli, who lead a discussion on the best ways to share our stories, but also her father, Charly Chiarelli who shared his harmonica story.


Be sure to mark your calendars for our next event happening this week on March 9th at Kingston Military Family Resource Centre (KMFRC). The theme of our next event is, “Where I’ve Been.”

Returning to the heart of campus: exploring our sites and museums part two

In the second half of our series on the Kingston Association of Museums (KAM) sites situated on Queen’s campus we visit the W.D. Jordan Special Collections (located on the second floor of Douglas Library), the Queen’s University Archives, the Museum of Healthcare and Murney Tower.

W.D. Jordan Special Collections: (613) 533-2839 | Union Street and University Avenue

The W.D. Jordan Special Collections contains a wide range of resource material spanning from a Latin Bible (1592) to a Greek lexicon (1821) and even a copy of Locke’s Essay concerning Human Understanding (1760) in two volumes.

For those interested in exploring further there is a reference area designated for public use and a bunch of books waiting to be discovered!

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Queen’s University Archives: (613) 533-2378 | Kathleen Ryan Hall, Medical Quadrangle

Whether you visit their physical building on campus and request archival material or you visit their online exhibits, the Archives is a great resource to learn to more about Kingston, Queen’s University and so much more!

Online exhibits of particular interest include the STONES Kingston interactive map and walking tours. The themes of these tours range from The Stories and Accomplishments of Some of Kingston’s Early Black Citizens, 1780 to 1950 to The Jewish History of Kingston and even Indigenous Kingston and Francophone Kingston.

For more exhibits and stories specific to Queen’s University the Archives also has virtual exhibits on topics such as the history of CFRC, Queen’s Remembers (World War I and II), and the Royal Charter and so on!


Museum of Healthcare: (613) 548-2419 | 32 George St, Ann Baillie Building National Historic Site

This interactive museum is the perfect place to explore and spend the afternoon. With exhibits ranging from the history of healthcare uniforms and graduates in Kingston all the way to Vaccines and Immunization there is something for everyone!

An exhibit of particular interest called “Trench Menders: Health Care in the First World War,” approaches the familiar topic of WWI from a different perspective, allowing visitors to understand the role of doctors and nurses as well as the true effects of war on the human body.

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Murney Tower:  (613) 507-5181 | King St. West at Barrie St.

As one of four Martello tower fortifications in Kingston, Murney Tower holds a large collection of 19th-century military and domestic artefacts and is home to a 6000lb cannon. Although this site does not open until May 2017 Murney Tower still has a lot to offer. Especially considering their recent laser scanning of the Tower, now visitors can see what the Tower actually looks like beyond all the stone!

While this series only visited the museums and galleries located near or within Queen’s campus, we encourage everyone to visit our other sites.

In the heart of campus: exploring our sites and museums, part one.

Located at the heart of or just outside of the University district, the Kingston Association of Museums (KAM) has seven sites ranging from galleries to geology and so much more. We are sure that there is something for everyone!

In this two part blog series we will take you on a virtual tour of current exhibitions and shamelessly encourage you to explore them all.

Agnes Etherington Art Centre: (613) 533-2190 | University Avenue at Bader Lane

With a wide variety of exhibits on display until April, the Agnes currently has seven exciting exhibitions! Two exhibits of particular interest are Key Works Unlocked: Peel and Suzor-Coté and The hold: studies in the contemporary collection.

Key Works Unlocked explores two paintings, one by Paul Peel and one by Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté. In this unique exhibition visitors are invited to investigate the artistic process of creating art, from start to finish.

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The Hold Studies in the Contemporary Collection is perhaps one of the most unique exhibits housed in the Agnes this term. This interactive exhibit is both inspired by and for the purpose of research and creativity. Designed with students in mind, this exhibition is actually a study space open for the public.

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Miller Museum of Geology: (613) 533-6767 | Miller Hall, Queen’s University, 36 Union St

With an extensive collection of crystals, fossils, gems and minerals, the Miller Museum is sure to capture your attention. Items and exhibits of note include their section on dinosaurs and specifically their exhibit on the Geology of the Kingston Area.

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Union Gallery: (613) 533-3171 | Stauffer Library Building, Queen’s University

This student driven gallery, dedicated to creating and connecting the community and campus, is currently running Striking the line. This unique exhibit explores and investigates the relationships between space and place and the meanings held in both.

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Be sure to drop by on your way through campus, between classes, or if you can, spend the day exploring everything these sites have to offer.


Made in Canada: A Pop-up Museum

Bring Your Thing is a series of free pop-up museums running throughout 2017 to celebrate Canada 150th anniversary.

The first pop-up museum, held on January 21at Artillery Park Aquatic Centre, invited people to bring any objects which fit the theme Made in Canada  and to share their story.

Of the many objects that were brought and the museums who came out—the Royal Military College (RMC) Museum, the Marine Museum and the MacLachlan Woodworking Museum—here is a few of the items that were shared.

Melissa Eapen, co-founder of Improbable Escapes and the Kingston Collective, brought a glass pineapple as her object. While setting up their business in Kingston, Eapen came across a quote for success which said “wear a crown and stand tall like pineapple”. Taking this quote to heart, when she saw this pineapple, she bought it as a reminder to herself of how she can be successful.

KCVI shared a handmade Canadian flag first flown on February 15, 1965 at the school, the same time that the newly designed Canadian flag was flown in Ottawa. This flag holds a place of honour at KCVI and has been signed by Arthur Martin, the Principal of KCVI at the time, John Matheson, a co-designer of the Canadian flag, Peter Miliken, former Speaker at the House of Commons and KCVI head boy, and Kay Shand, the creator and Home Economics teacher. This year KCVI celebrates its 225thanniversary and invites all of Kingston to celebrate with them in September.


Christel Klocke, a master gold and silversmith, gemmologist, appraiser and jewellery designer, began designing and selling jewellery in 1966: and continues to do so today. The items she displayed was the first gold piece she ever made in 1957 and a necklace with an emerald from Columbia.

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The Kingston Heirloom Quilters brought several items that tell a story of Canada. This quilt square was inspired by Canadian composer and piano player, Frank Mills, who is known as “Music Box Man,” the name of one of his songs. The Quilters showcased some of the squares from their Canada 150 challenge quilt, which when completed, each block will be dedicated to the accomplishments of a Canadian woman.

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Be sure to stay tuned for our next pop-up museum located at the Isabel Turner Branch of KFPL on February 21, 2017 from 5:30pm – 7:30pm. Our theme is What’s Your Story?

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Winter Weekends in Kingston

With the cold winter weather now enveloping Kingston it is the perfect time to grab some coffee or hot cocoa-to-go and enjoy the numerous indoor activities in the many attractions of this amazing city! Most events listed below are available on weekends so you don’t have to wait until school ends to have some awesome family experiences.


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Military Communications and Electronics Museum

Come check out one of Kingston’s largest museums! This museum not only has some interactive portions for kids but also displays full scale military equipment. More importantly PETER BERG PRESENTS: “The Enigma Story: Technology, Turing, Trondheim, Toronto” on Dec. 2rd! It will be a constructive opportunity to learn some important technology history. – normally reserved for military members is now available to the public

Date: Dec. 2nd   

Admission: By donation

To register please contact  Sandra.Walsh@forces.gc.ca

Regular hours: Mon-Fri 11-5pm

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Agnes Etherington Art Centre

Looking for the perfect Christmas gift? Look no further than the Big Book Sale! Funds raised through the sale will help support the Graduate Visual Culture Association’s activities and gallery programs.

Date: Nov. 30th – Dec 4th

Admission: Free

Regular hours:

Tuesday–Friday, 10 am–4:30 pm
Thursday, to 9 pm (September–April)
Saturday and Sunday, 1–5 pm
Holiday Mondays, 1–5 pm (May–September)

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Modern Fuel

Modern Fuel presents: Modern Fest: Member’s show and sale! This event will feature two opportunities to show and see work with Modern Fest featuring work in both galleries and What is Modern? works in their window space. Be a part of opening night Dec. 3 @ 8:00pm with live music presented by local artists Anna Sudac and Jesse MacMillan and a dance party with local DJs DJ Aquamarine (Ed Vey), DJ LK (Elle Kay) and DJ Flamingo (Wendy Huot). Reception tickets are $10, or $5 for students.

Show and sale: December 3 – 17, 2016

Admission: By donation, suggested $10 (or $5 for students)

Regular hours: Tuesday-Saturday 12-5pm

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Window Art Gallery

WAG is a great place to view and purchase the work of local Kingston artists! Come and view the works created or begun during Paint the Town! Which will be available for viewing and for sale in the Window Art Gallery. Also, meet the artists at a reception on Sunday, Dec. 4, from 3 – 5 p.m!

Date: Dec. 1st – 8th

Admission: Free

Regular hours:

Mon-Tues 9am-12pm; Wed-Fri 9am-4pm; Thur 9am-8pm; and Sat-Sun 12pm-4pm

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Original Hockey Hall of Fame

Another fascinating to spend your weekend would be to explore the interesting evolution of hockey and Kingston’s prominent role in it! Come view engaging features including the Don Cherry Collection, Canada’s first Olympic gold medal, hockey’s oldest jersey and the square puck used in the first game in Kingston in 1886.

Date: Thursday to Sunday 12 pm – 6 pm

Admission: by donation

Regular hours:

Thurs-Sun 12pm-6 pm

Remembrance: A Walk Through the C & E Museum

Canadian military efforts are a big part of Kingston culture and an especially important topic around this time of year. In light of this year’s upcoming Remembrance Day I wanted to search for a place where I could enlighten myself on the history of Canada’s relationship with military power.

Kingston’s Military Communications & Electronics Museum is a valuable resource when wanting to learn more about Canada’s involvement and contributions throughout the various modern wars throughout history. In a vast open space of 10,000 sq. ft. the museum displays military communications equipment and memorabilia ranging from the mid 1800’s to the more present conflicts which include the UN and NATO.

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The whole museum is organized in such a way that you are led through time and are able to see the evolution of Canadian innovation. The curators have gone to great lengths to present you with a more realistic view of how certain items would have be used and in what context they would have been used in.

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Mannequins are dressed in authentic style clothing from the periods they are representing. Different artifacts are also displayed together in scenes so that it feels the viewer is capturing an actual moment taking place in history. There are also interactive portions which are perfect for keeping the interest of kids.


In the theme of Remembrance Day this is a perfect place to visit for an in-depth look in Canadian military history. On November 11th the public is also invited to attend the Remembrance Day Ceremony at the Vimy War Memorial located across the road from the C&E Museum.

Exploring a UNESCO World Heritage Site at Miller Museum of Geology

Mistaken Point in Newfoundland was recently listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This totals 18 sites in Canada thus far, including Fort Henry and The Rideau Canal right here in Kingston. Mistaken Point is infamous for a unique collection of fossils that have been unusually preserved. These types of fossils have never been discovered anywhere else in the world.

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Le Musee Pénitentiaire du Canada: Détenus Innovants

L’année est 1998 et vous vous-avez obtenu une couchette dans l’endroit de Cellules de Dissociations dans l’Institution Stony Mountain de Manitoba. Vous avez été donné une brosse à dent et d’autres nécessités de bases. Alors qu’utiliser votre brosse à dent pour sa vraie utilité est une option… vous pourriez aussi utiliser les débris d’une variété d’objet d’a l’entour de la prison et concevoir une arbalète. Un détenu de l’Institution de Stony Mountain a décidé de prendre la dernière option.

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Matériaux Utilisés : 10 brosses à dents, briquet, stylo à bille, pince de cuisine, gants en caoutchouc, cintre, corde, vis, Q-Tips, Rubans Adhésif.

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Canada’s Penitentiary Museum: Innovative Inmates

The year is 1998 and you have landed yourself a bunk in the Dissociation Cell area of Stony Mountain Institution in Manitoba. You have been given a toothbrush and other basic necessities. While using your toothbrush for its rudimentary purpose of brushing your teeth is an option…you could also source remnants of various household items from around the prison and engineer a crossbow. An unknown inmate from Stony Mountain Institution decided to go with the latter option.

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Materials used: 10 toothbrushes, cigarette lighter, ballpoint pen, kitchen tongs, rubber gloves, coat hanger, string, screws, Q-Tips, masking tape.

This crossbow is just one example of the impressive creativity exhibited by inmates in penitentiaries. Canada’s Penitentiary Museum contains a significant amount of contraband items that have been seized by prisons across Canada. The various materials used to create weapons illustrate the resourcefulness of inmates. Not only did inmates craft dangerous weapons, they also designed tools including tattoo machines , guns, fans and even distillery devices.

Canada’s Penitentiary Museum formerly housed the wardens of Kingston Penitentiary. There is eight display rooms that each outlines a particular theme including: Correctional Service Canada (CSC) officers, confiscated contraband, punishment and rules, and artistic expression. The extensive collection of artefacts and photographs chronicle the practices employed in penitentiaries from punishment to rehabilitation.

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The emphasis on rehabilitation in the Penitentiary is evident in the art that was created by inmates. Inmate artistic talent is display throughout the Museum ranging from painting, sculpture, carving, ship models and more.

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Painting by inmate

Canada’s Penitentiary Museum is a unique destination that gives context to the incredibly popular Kingston Pen Tours. The self-guided tour is an insightful experience that is a must see for everyone!

Extended hours are listed on the website! http://www.penitentiarymuseum.ca/default/