Experience Kingston’s cultural heritage at three Doors Open events

A few of the participating locations in Doors Open 2023: (top row, L-R) Murney Tower, Military Communications & Electronics Museum, St. George’s Cathedral; (bottom row, L-R) Museum of Health Care at Kingston, Pumphouse, Smiths Falls Heritage House Museum. Image via KAM.

For three Saturdays this summer, the Kingston & Area Association of Museums, Art Galleries, and Historic Sites (KAM) is inviting the public to tour local museums and historical sites free of charge for Doors Open 2023.

According to a media release, KAM is honoured to coordinate this Ontario Heritage Trust program, in partnership with the City of Kingston, for the benefit of the local community. Every year, the Ontario Heritage Trust works with communities across the province to open the doors, gates, and courtyards of their unique and most fascinating cultural sites so that residents and visitors can explore the stories inside. 

“Doors Open is a wonderful way for residents and visitors to explore the Kingston region and to engage with the wide variety of cultural heritage spaces, places, and experiences available. This year’s theme, food, is particularly fun and offers diverse and interesting ways to connect with cultural heritage narratives and experiences,” said Jamie McKenzie-Naish, KAM Managing Director.

Doors Open Kingston & Area is a drop-in event for 2023, and entry to all participating Doors Open Kingston & Area sites remains free to the public during the event days. According to the release, some participating sites are offering additional, added-value programming events that do require registration. To find out more, and how to register for these additional features, please visit: https://www.kingstonmuseums.ca/doors-open-kingston-area and download the Doors Open Kingston & Area 2023 Activity Guide.

“Doors Open is always a great event. It offers residents and visitors an engaging way to experience Kingston’s rich cultural heritage. I’m particularly excited by how Doors Open can help people experience the diverse stories and places that make Kingston such a fascinating city,” stated Kevin Gibbs, Acting Director of Heritage Services at the City of Kingston.

Doors Open Kingston & Area 2023 will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the following Saturdays: July 22, August 26, and September 23, 2023.

In response to Kingstonist enquiries, KAM explained that having the event over three Saturdays allows more locations to participate. “KAM’s mission is to champion, nurture and amplify Kingston and area’s cultural heritage landscape. In terms of Doors Open, we are committed to making participation — both for sites and visitors — as accessible as possible. We always strive to improve and innovate public engagement opportunities,” Sadie Babcock, Marketing and Communication Coordinator for KAM stated.

Participating locations vary across each Doors Open date, but in the media release organizers noted that the current list of participating sites for 2023 includes:

  • Military Communications & Electronics Museums
  • HMCS Cataraqui
  • Bellevue House National Historic Site
  • Murney Tower National Historic Site
  • Royal Military College of Canada
  • Museum of Health Care at Kingston
  • Frontenac County Schools Museum
  • Macpherson House and Park
  • Museum of Lennox and Addington
  • Smiths Fall Heritage House Museum
  • Agnes Etherington Art Centre
  • Loving Spoonful
  • Pumphouse
  • St. Georges Cathedral
  • WD Jordan Rare Books and Special Collections (Queen’s University Libraries)
  • The Spire

“Doors Open Kingston & Area 2023 event welcomes mask-wearing by the visiting public, but is not generally required for entry,” organizers stated. “Please note, however, that individual sites may still be implementing ongoing COVID-19 health and safety protocols. If you are unsure or require more information about the site you want to visit, please contact the site directly.”

Babcock also provided the following list of key highlights over the three weekends:

  • Behind the Scenes Collections Tour at the Museum of Health Care
  • Boat rides with HMCS Cataraqui
  • Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Sept 23) – Agnes Reimagined Sharing and Talking Circles
  • Royal Military College of Canada – rare access and self-guided tour of Currie Hall, Baronial Hall, and Memorial Staircase in MacKenzie Building.
  • New accessibility audio tour of Murney Tour – first of its kind in Kingston & Area cultural heritage sites!
  • Rug making demonstrations at Smiths Falls Heritage House Museum
  • Lemonade and shortbread at Macpherson House (Napanee)

For further information about Doors Open Kingston & Area, as well as updates about participating sites, visit: https://www.kingstonmuseums.ca/doors-open-kingston-area or, contact the KAM office at 613-507-4014.

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