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Richmond Olympic Experience: Canada's Game

The Richmond Olympic Experience received the CASH Award of Excellence for their exhibit Canada’s Game. The Award Selection Committee noted the inclusion of interactive elements and the future-planning shown in establishing a partnership with the Hockey Hall of Fame to keep the exhibit fresh moving forward.

The Canada’s Game exhibit was designed with the intentions of highlighting the numerous ways in which hockey as a sport contributes to Canadian identity and lifestyle. The exhibit begins with a look at the early formalization of hockey including elements derived from Indigenous sports like lacrosse, and the development of safety equipment such as Jacques Plante’s goalie mask prototype. Moving through the exhibit, guests develop an understanding of Canada’s success in hockey both as part of the NHL’s ‘original six’ and on the international stage. A focus was placed on including the incredible accomplishments of Team Canada’s Women’s Hockey Team helping to establish greater parity in gender representation throughout exhibits. Highlighting international competitions such as the 1972 Summit Series and the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, hockey is showcased as a means of international diplomacy and peacekeeping. The inclusion of Indigenous artefacts such as Gino Odjick’s Vancouver Canuck’s jersey help to meet the organizations truth & reconciliation Call to Action 87.

Richmond Olympic Experience staff on the impact of the exhibit:

From its ideation during the global pandemic, the development of the Canada’s Game exhibit has had positive impacts in our community and kept many of the museums employees and volunteers engaged and employed during a significant pandemic closure period.

Despite being open for less than a year, the Richmond Olympic Experience’s inclusion of the Canada’s Game exhibit has proven to be a significant investment in our museum helping to positively impact our guest experience, storytelling, and community. Through re-purposing of existing touch screens and artefact display cases, staff were able to augment guest flow throughout the museum helping to create a new prescriptive path encouraging guests to take greater time engaging with artefacts and exhibits. Alongside the exhibit, a new digital visitors guide was launched to provide guests additional details to make their visit as seamless as possible.

Developing the “Canada’s Game” exhibit provided staff the opportunity to include diversity, equity, and inclusion practices within the exhibit’s storytelling. Recognizing the traditional male dominance in sports like hockey, curators took care to foster greater gender parity through the celebration of achievements made by prominent Canadian female hockey players such as Marie-Philip Poulin, Cassie Campbell, and Hayley Wickenheiser.

In addition, the Richmond Olympic Experience responded to truth and reconciliation Call to Action 87 as part of this exhibit changeover: “we call upon all levels of government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, sports hall of fame, and other relevant organizations, to provide public education that tells the national story of Aboriginal athletes in history.” Inclusion of artefacts such as Gino Odjick’s Vancouver Canuck’s Jersey, the Pangnirtung tapestry Achieving a Dream, and education around lacrosse as a precursor to modern hockey help to realize these goals.

Since reopening following the pandemic, the Richmond Olympic Experience has seen over 20,000 visitors positively interacting and engaging with our latest exhibit.

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