Vancouver Maritime Museum: Exciting new activities and floating installations



There’s a lot that’s new at the Vancouver Maritime Museum since I last visited with my two little boys, some 30 years ago.

I got re-introduced to VMM through Winter Wander in January. During the Winter Wander, kids visit all venues at Vanier Park for free; adults can enter all for $5 for the day. Revisiting with my son had us both proclaiming: “Wow!” We had thought we’d just do a quick tour of St. Roch and head out to more interesting spots. Instead the grand kids got quite absorbed in all the displays and activities. I have a “make art not trash” button to prove it.

So then I headed back, sans grandkids, for the Family Day Debridement Project sponsored by VMM and the Community Arts Council of Vancouver. There were workshops on face-painting, ocean pollution awareness by OceanGybe, creating sea creature effigies and, yes, button making with images of endangered marine animals.

Kay Slater was a key part of this project. She was contracted originally to facilitate a workshop at Henry Hudson’s French Immersion class. She wound up doing three workshops, designing the promotional materials, coordinating volunteers, designing and preparing the sea creature effigy installation and creating an ocean pollution maze to highlight the dangers sea-life encounter from plastic pollution. Someone asked me: Which person is Kay? I answered: If you see a whirlwind of energy moving very quickly with a smile on her face, that would be Kay.

I asked Kay, “Why the term “effigy”?” She replied: “I defined the word for the classes explaining that they were making representations (not abstractions or fantastic creatures) of creatures affected by ocean pollution. I wanted to try and encourage empathy.” Clearly it’s definition #1 at the online free dictionary, not #2!

There are notes written by the kids in the two classes from Henry Hudson Elementary School about what they will commit to doing. One of my favorites is: “I’m going to tell my sister not to pollute!”  I love seeing glimpses of the environmental leaders of the future. Don’t just do it – tell others to do it! Tahina Awan led one of the workshops at Henry Hudson. This installation is moving to Henry Hudson for display there.

There are also two floating installations in the Heritage Harbour; one by Tiki Mulvihill and Fae Logie of Art is Land Network who had a major exhibition at Granville Island during Vancouver Fringe 2011 and one by Ron Simmer and Kevin Curry on the theme of orca fins. Jamie Purves, Education Director at Vancouver Maritime Museum, says these installations will remain up for another month, so go down and check them out.

Meanwhile Late Nights Thursdays will continue at the Vancouver Maritime Museum. From  5pm to 8pm, it’s entry by donation. If you have never been to VMM or haven’t visited in a while, now is the perfect chance to come by and explore.

Vancouver Maritime Museum, 1905 Ogden Ave ., (604) 257-8300,

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Last modified: March 7, 2013

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