The COVID-19 pandemic is a major moment in history. On March 11, 2020 the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. On March 17, Ontario declared a state of emergency, prompting citywide closures and social distancing protocols. In April 2020, the Museum, while closed to visitors, launched a call to community for contemporary objects and personal expressions reflecting our individual and collective experiences.
On May 25, 2020, the death of George Floyd in the US spurred the Black Lives Matter movement to international urgency. Locally, the Guelph Black Heritage Society organized a peaceful protest and march through downtown Guelph. On June 6, 2020, over 5,000 people gathered to raise awareness of lives lost in violence.
Guelph Museums and the Guelph Black Heritage Society partnered in the commitment to preserve the stories and experiences of Guelph individuals, families, and communities as we face these crises together.
This exhibition shares some of the hundreds of images, creative expressions, and physical objects that have been collected at Guelph Museums since April 2020 to document the local story of this historic time, as we live it.
This artwork by Emily Vander Vlugt depicts a crowd of protestors led by Kween, Executive Director of the Guelph Black Heritage Society. Kween made this audio recording in response to Emily’s artwork.
The art work and audio, jointly titled No Justice, No Peace, are featured in the exhibition Rapid Response: Collecting Experiences as they are Lived at Guelph Museums, from July 27, 2021 to February 27, 2022.
Hear a conversation with donors to the exhibition:
Presented in partnership with: