I get it. Many people don’t go to museums because they don’t see the relevance. I could pretend I am soooo sophisticated and always understood why our history should be preserved and why it is important to us here and now. But sadly, in my history classes, I was the guy who was snoring face down on my desk in a pool of my own drool.
In my youth, if it wasn’t related to one of my hobbies or passions, quite frankly I could care less about history. Keep in mind, this was before video games, 24 hour television and the internet. Dan born 2 decades later, would have been even more of a moron.
Fortunately, the St. Catharines Museum & Welland Canals Centre recognizes the challenges involved in bringing history to life and engaging the community. When you go to the Museum, as we have on several occasions, you will find a rich and diverse collection of well preserved exhibits presented with interactive displays, great artwork, as well as audio and video presentations. In short, it is fun!
According to their website: aMUSE is a new and innovative, one night only, pop-up museum experience presented by the St. Catharines Museum & Welland Canals Centre. aMUSE will bring items from the collection out into a social atmosphere where the public can view, discuss, interact and share their stories about the items in the museum’s collection.
The goal of the aMUSE event series is to:
- raise awareness of the Museum within the community
- specifically, raise the public profile of the Museum among an under-served demographic: 19-40 year olds
- engage a new audience and present the Museum in a new and exciting light
- excite all audiences about the resources that the Museum houses and protects
This idea was inspired by other museums (like the ROM in Toronto) where they set up at an off-site location (in this case, hosted by our friends at Mahtay Cafe) and create a themed evening dedicated to a series of exhibits.
So, Katie and I went out with the intention of dropping by, asking a few questions and snapping some photos. We ended up staying a couple of hours, enjoying the great selection of Mahtay Cafe’s food and beverages, listening to live music by Aaron Berger and Brittany Brooks and, of course, taking in the crowd and the conversation about the exhibit itself.
The staff and volunteers encouraged those in attendance to pin their favourite bike memories to the spokes of the two bicycles on display on the bar. This led to everyone waxing poetically about their near death experiences, family moments learning to ride or teaching a child, and many people brought up some of their favourite places in Niagara to ride.
This got me thinking. Most people who know me are aware of how much I love cycling.
Here are some others:
- I lived more than 15 kilometers from my hometown in New Brunswick. My first memories of biking are when I was when I was 14 I would race to town as fast as I could and time my trip back (which had many more downhill sections). That summer, I was racing at top speed down a hill when my chain jumped and I went flying over my handlebars, I skidded several feet on my back and shattered my left elbow resulted in a full arm cast for the rest of the holiday. Not my first crash and sadly, not the worst one.
- In 1982 I wrote and drew my first comic book when I was 15 and that summer I literally biked thousands of kilometres selling advertising to pay for the printing — the bike I rode was a 10-speed I had saved up for many months the previous summer to buy
- A lot of my summer biking ended up at New Brunswick rivers, lakes at the causeway along the Bay of Fundy — swimming in the cold Atlantic (no matter how hot it was out or how far I had biked) and then sitting on the beach oogling the girls in their swimsuits!
- I remember a great day biking more than 60 miles with my stepsons in Bar Harbor, Maine — spectacular vistas as far as the eye could see!
- When I lived in Phoenix, my favourite spots to bike were desert mountain parks — it could be more than 100 degrees out, but I always felt like I was racing along the surface of Mars!
- I have biked the Golden Gate Bridge and the shore of San Francisco; taken the Lion’s Gate in Vancouver, through Stanley Park and Granville Island; and enjoyed the city-friendly bike lanes in Montreal.
However, my favourite place to ride over the years is right here in Niagara. I know that might come across as pandering (considering the title of our website), but the thing I LOVE about cycling in Niagara is the quality and quantity of a safe bike trail system! You can truly disengage here and focus on simply enjoying your day out on your bike and will be treated to spectacular scenery, courteous trail users and a plethora of wildlife.
See how those St. Catharines Museum & Welland Canals Centre people work?! They set up this spectacular event, got me good and engaged and then I went on and on about my favourite bicycle moments. See how sneaky they are?
Speaking of sneaky, they say there will be more of these aMUSE events popping up in the future, so I recommend you LIKE their Facebook page or monitor their website so you don’t miss it!
St. Catharines Museum & Welland Canal Centre
Located at Lock 3 of the Welland Canal, the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre welcomes you to explore the history of St. Catharines and the Welland Canals. Watch as ships work their way through the canal. Enjoy our amenities, including our gift shop and snack bar or stroll, bike or rollerblade along the Recreations Trail.
Open Daily 9AM to 5PM
Admission By Donation
1932 Welland Canals Parkway
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada L2R7K6