7 Things in 2017 at OMAH!

2017 was a monumental year for Orillia and Canada as the two celebrated their sesquicentennial, but it was also a year that established growth for new and exciting endeavours at the Orillia Museum of Art & History. Here are just some of our highlights from the past 365 days.

Orillia Portraits

In the spring of 2017, OMAH launched Orillia Portraits: The People Who Shaped Our City. The ongoing project focuses on collecting information about individuals from Orillia’s past and present with the idea that everyone has a story. If you are interested in participating or volunteering with this project, contact Hope McGilly Mitchell at collections@orilliamuseum.org


Orillia150 Coin

In a continued celebration of Canada and Orillia's 150th anniversary throughout 2017, OMAH worked with local artist, Tony Bianco, who has created over 50 designs for the Royal Canadian Mint, in designing a beautiful Orillia 150 Commemorative Coin. In addition to offering the coin, art prints of Tony Bianco's full design with the embedded coin were also available. Coin fever spread with sales coming in from around the country – reaching as far as Scotland -  as people with roots in Orillia took the limited opportunity to own a piece of history. 


Conserving Creativity

Funded by the Ontario150 Community Celebration Program, in partnership with the Couchiching Conservancy , Conserving Creativity intended to bring awareness to the 17% Pledge for our provincial and federal governments to have committed to bring at least 17% of the landscape under conservation by 2020. Through a series of free site-specific art workshops, plein-air painting and sculptural installations at Grant’s Woods, participants and visitors were encouraged to experience our local landscape in a new way and learn about the importance of these conservation efforts.


Orillia150 Collection

As part of OMAH’s Orillia150 activities, a group of local artists were invited to visit OMAH’s permanent collection to see if they could connect with objects that would inspire them to create a new work of art. Some artists came with an idea of the type of artefacts they were seeking; others had a theme they would work toward; still others came with little notion of what might inspire them. An exhibition of new work was presented alongside the artefacts to showcase a deeper understanding of why a museum collects and is the keeper of the collective memory of the community. By holding up an artistic lens to objects in the collection, this project provided a new learning opportunity for citizens and visitors.

In addition to the display, each artist provided an adaptation of their art to be sold in OMAH’s Shop. From aprons to jewellery to cards to prints, visitors can take home a piece of history reborn in art. Become an OMAH member to receive 10% off all OMAH Shop purchases.


Ask A Curator

On September 13th we celebrated #AskACurator Day on our social media platforms where users were invited to ask questions regarding our exhibitions and collections. Ninette Gyorody was on hand to speak about the Camps on Couchiching exhibition and Hope McGilly Mitchell spoke about Elemental Mariposa: The Main Street. It was OMAH’s first time participating with an excellent response. See the full conversation on our Twitter page.


2017 OMAH History Awards

Recipients and nominees were celebrated at the 2017 OMAH History Awards Gala on Thursday, November 9, 2017. These awards are offered biennially (starting in 2015), for historical research or heritage presentation involving Orillia and area.  Orillia and area includes: Chippewas of Rama First Nation, City of Orillia, Townships of Ramara, Severn and Oro-Medonte.

Recipients were awarded in the categories of General Heritage Preservation, Historical Publication and/or Research, Heritage Performances and Events, Historic Reconstruction, Judges Sesquicentennial Recognition, and Life Time Achievement. A Special Sesquicentennial Honour was presented to Gordon Lightfoot by the History Committee of the Orillia Museum of Art and History in grateful recognition of his contributions to the legacy of Canadian History as expressed through music.

See the full list of recipients here.


Sir Sam’s Society

Those who wanted a little bit more from their OMAH experience had the opportunity to become part of the newly launched Sir Sam’s Society.  This new membership opportunity offers the benefits of an OMAH’s couple membership plus invitations to VIP events, a $300 tax receipt and participate in an annual art loan party. Interested in becoming a Sir Sam’s Society member in 2018? Contact Ninette Gyorody at executivedirector@orilliamuseum.org


All of us here at the Orillia Museum of Art & History are looking forward to another prosperous year in 2018 and we appreciate all of the ongoing support from our members, volunteers and community partners to help continue inspiring creativity and celebrating history.