3,000 students from nine countries connect with The Canadian Canoe Museum for virtual field trips in 2018

Students from as far away as Argentina, India, and Vietnam, were among the more than 3,000 learners from nine countries who connected to The Canadian Canoe Museum via Skype as part of its virtual field trip program in 2018.

The virtual field trip program, Fur Trade Travels and Tales, explores the role of the canoe in the development of the trading networks, routes and relationships of the 18th century. Artifacts from the museum’s collection, the largest of its kind in the world, inspire discussion, drama, and a visit to the Voyageur Encampment.

On an almost daily basis, museum educators are in the galleries, equipped with an iPad and extra lighting, interacting with classrooms of students from grade two to 12. Programs Coordinator Kelly Pineault, in character as a Voyageur, encourages classrooms of students to take up their imaginary paddles and keep a pace of 50 to 60 strokes a minute.

“Our programs aim to ignite imaginations,” says Ms. Pineault, who dons a toque and a chemise to become “Jacques” in this first-person interpretation. “It’s incredibly rewarding to see students engaged, regardless of the distance that separates us. I am continually impressed by the inquisitive nature of the students, and the thoughtful questions they ask about the museum and the history of Canada.”

Kelly Pineault on a virtual field trip

Program Coordinator, Kelly Pineault, delivering a virtual filed trip

Last year, the museum’s educators also connected with students from across Canada, Brazil, England, Ireland, United States, and the Philippines.

In Fur Trade Travels and Tales, students learn about the key relationships between First Nations and newcomers during the era. Meanwhile, Canada By Canoe, offers a whirlwind tour to diverse geographic regions of Canada to explore the traditional Indigenous watercraft and the diverse peoples who build them. The latter was offered as part of November’s 48-hour Skype-a-Thon and a 2019 offering will be available soon. 2

“We’ve always been committed to sharing our one-of-kind collection with students far and wide, but there’s an increasing appetite from educators around the world to learn about Canada. Teachers are reaching out to the museum because they can get a glimpse of Canada, by canoe,” said Karen Taylor, Director of Programs.

For classes within a two-hour bus ride, the museum also offers more than 20 hands-on, experiential education programs for students and youth groups from kindergarten through to university and college by day and overnight. In 2018, close to 5,250 students visited the museum in person. Field trips are guided by educators offering curriculum-connected programming in both French and English.