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Photo: National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.

For immediate release

National Gallery of Canada’s Our Stories interactive learning centre wins gold at the 10th annual International Design Communications Awards

OTTAWA, November 21, 2017 – The National Gallery of Canada (NGC) won the International Design Communications (IDC)’s prestigious award for Best Scenography for a Temporary Exhibition. The Gallery’s special interactive learning centre, titled Our Stories, was created as part of the 2017 summer offering Our Masterpieces, Our Stories. The top prize was awarded on November 8, 2017, during the 10th Annual IDC Awards gala held in Los Angeles. The IDC Awards celebrate excellent design and communication initiatives across the art world.

"We are extremely proud recipients of this prestigious international award, especially as it reflects the positive responses garnered from visitors to the Our Stories interactive exhibition” said the Gallery’s Deputy Director, Advancement and Public Engagement, Jean-François Bilodeau. “Visitor and industry recognition has only strengthened our desire to create more interactive and dynamic experiences at the National Gallery of Canada.”

Our Stories, on offer from June 14 to September 4, was a dedicated 6, 200 square foot-space designed to deepen the visitors’ engagement by providing context for the artworks on display in the Canadian and Indigenous galleries. The latter told the story of art made in Canada from ten centuries ago to the present through three major presentations: Canadian and Indigenous Art: From Time Immemorial to 1967, Canadian and Indigenous Art: 1968 to Present, and Photography in Canada, 1960-2000. The displays featured the largest collection of Canadian and Indigenous Art ever presented at the National Gallery of Canada.

The development‎ and design of the interactive learning centre was led by Stefan Canuel, the Gallery’s Senior Designer, Marketing. Content was researched and created by the Gallery’s Education and Public Programs division. The winning exhibition was based on the results of a market research study commissioned by the Gallery, and audience surveys that indicated visitors wanted to know how artworks are made, the stories behind them and their history and style.

Engaging, interactive, and responsive to multiple learning styles, the learning centre helped visitors make connections to the many exhibition offerings on view. Spread over five gallery spaces, it consisted of eight sections, including:

  • a display titled How It’s Made, featuring objects, tools and videos allowing visitors to explore how artworks are made;
  • a giant interactive map of Canada showcasing artworks from each region of the country, surrounded by a time line (text and images) from time immemorial until the present printed on the gallery wall;
  • a life size re-creation of the drawing room featured in the painting The Woolsey Family, made in 1809 by William Berczy, a favourite among visitors who were invited to step into the salon and take their photos;
  • iPad stations for visitors and aspiring artists to unleash their creativity as footage of the Canadian landscape was projected on the gallery wall;
  • a section titled Art Can, offering visitors examples of artwork images designed to encourage them to refine their own definitions of what art can be and do;
  • a video section featuring an interview with the National Gallery of Canada Director and CEO, Marc Mayer, on the Five Fallacies About Art;
  • a personality quiz for visitors that revealed a work in the national collection that corresponded to their character; and
  • four self-guides that targeted specific audiences or visitor motivations including families visiting with young children, people who wanted a reflective experience in the gallery spaces, tourists who wanted to see Gallery highlights and visitors who wanted to learn how certain artworks were made.

Our Stories was made possible through the generous support of the National Gallery of Canada Circle Members, the Distinguished Patrons of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation and the Canada 150 Patrons who contributed to the Art for the Nation 2017 initiative.

About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian art. The Gallery also maintains Canada’s premier collection of European Art from the 14th to the 21st centuries, as well as important works of American, Asian and Indigenous Art and renowned international collections of prints, drawings and photographs. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its principal missions is to increase access to excellent works of art for all Canadians. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @NatGalleryCan, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.


For media only:
For more information or to plan an interview, please contact:

Josée-Britanie Mallet
Senior Media and Public Relations Officer
National Gallery of Canada





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