Curatorial Dreaming at the CMHR and Manitoba Museum


From July 22-23, 2019, student research assistants involved with Museum Queeries came together for a workshop to dream curatorial revisions and newly imagined exhibits at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the Manitoba Museum.

This workshop, organized by Museum Queeries leaders Drs. Heather Milne and Angela Failler and facilitated by Research Associate Nicole Ritchie, began with an overview of the practice of curatorial dreaming as outlined by Erica Lehrer and Shelley Ruth Butler in their edited collection Curatorial Dreams: Critics Imagine Exhibitions, challenging the students, as critics, to envision their own exhibitions.

Grounded in this idea, the first day of the workshop included a visit to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights where the group was led on one of the museum’s Pride Tours. After the tour, the group was encouraged to “queer the labels” featured in the CMHR and reimagine how the museum’s queer content could be altered to be more inclusive and representative.

To complement this experience, the second day of the workshop included a short introductory presentation by Research Coordinator Lauren Bosc and a self-guided visit to the Manitoba Museum. After this visit, students were encouraged to “imagine queerness” within the museum, which, unlike the CMHR, does not include any queer histories or representations. Because of this, students imagined and designed their own queer exhibit and interventions into the Manitoba Museum’s various galleries.

Coming together after both tours, this workshop allowed research assistants to re-envision exhibits such as “Taking the Cake” on same-sex marriage in the CMHR and imagine queer Manitoban histories in the Manitoba Museum’s Urban Gallery (among many other generative and creative curatorial dreams).

To hear the perspective of one of the workshop attendees, Amelia Dawn Smith, check out her post “Curatorial Dreaming: A Museum Queeries Workshop” featured here in Musings.


(photo credits: Lauren Bosc)

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