On Thursday, March 17 the Galt Museum’s board of directors unanimously passed a resolution permitting those who identify as Indigenous free general admission to the Galt Museum & Archives and Fort Whoop-Up. The policy takes effect immediately; there is no expiration date.
Museums across Canada have been engaged in a dialogue around the idea of barrier-free admission to those of Indigenous descent (local, regional, national and international). Currently there is no national standard or provincial guidelines to inform institutions, therefore museums and galleries are working through the lens of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) to determine what is best for their organization, the programs they employ, and the communities that they serve.
Precedent has been set by many Canadian institutions including the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the National Gallery of Canada and the Royal Alberta Museum.
“At the Galt, we are pleased to further our ongoing reconciliation efforts by henceforth providing free regular admission to all people self-identifying as Indigenous,” explains CEO/Executive Director Darrin Martens. “Reducing barriers to our exhibitions and collections is a priority for the organization.” This decision is in line with the institution’s newly approved strategic plan which identifies Reconciliation as a key strategic initiative. The plan, approved in December 2021, explicitly prioritizes “strengthening relationships with Indigenous communities, expanding on representation of Indigenous history guided by Indigenous voices and leadership, and continuing efforts in reconciliation and decolonization of museum practices.” Free admission for Indigenous visitors is an active choice to lean into that commitment.
Currently on view are three Indigenous-led exhibitions: Breathe. (2nd Wave), Iiksisawaato’p Kainaiwa O’tookátákssin: Maana’pii ki niita’piitsitapii saatstakssin (We Visit with Kainaiwa Beadwork: A New Way and the Real Way of Design) and Nitsitapiisksakoo: Nitsitapii Landscapes.
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