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Murney Tower to offer Curator and Collections Series

C&C Series Murney Tower. Image courtesy of Murney Tower.

Murney Tower is launching its first online program, C&C: The Collection and Curator Series, focused on museum collections to reveal different stories of the history of Kingston. The museum Manager and Curator, Simge Erdogan-O’Connor, will be hosting the series each month beginning Wednesday, June 9, 2021 from 1-2 p.m. The event will be held over Zoom and is free and open for all.  

Murney Tower is Kingston’s oldest operating museum, which was once the only place for residents to donate items of historical importance. 

C&C Series Murney Tower. Image courtesy of Murney Tower.

“Today, our museum is home to over ,1000 military and domestic artifacts which portray 19th-century life in Kingston. In this collection series, I am aiming to highlight our community’s desire to tell its own story by interpreting selected artifacts that encompass various aspects and periods of Kingston’s history,” said Erdogan-O’Connor 

Every month, the curator will select a different artifact, theme, or episode from the museum’s collections to paint a detailed picture of Kingston’s past. “Through the use of visuals and a set of unique archival materials and documents, I will be taking our audience on a voyage into our museum collections,” she explained. 

Many museums have adapted to online programming during pandemic lockdowns to give interactive online experiences while keeping the value of heritage, culture, and history alive. In 2019 and 2020, Murney Tower undertook extensive curatorial work, which consisted of collection digitization, research, and management. 

“I realized that we should create a collection program that could make our curatorial work and research accessible to our community, thereby revealing the hidden stories, people, and themes that exist in our collections. As a result, we have created the ‘C&C: Curator and Collections’ series to share more stories and episodes of Kingston’s pasts and the Tower’s 96-year history,” said Erdogan-O’Connor. 

With over ten years of experience working at art galleries, museums, and heritage sites in the UK and Turkey, Erdogan-O’Connor is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University and a Research Fellow at the North American Cultural Diplomacy Initiative (NACDI). She joined Murney Museum as a manager and curator in March 2020. 

Explaining how museums had evolved digitally due to the pandemic to address the needs of audiences, Erdogan-O’Connor said, “Moving forward, I think this trend of ‘going digital’ will continue to transform the museum practice as we recover from the pandemic and start to reopen our doors to our visitors. We have been developing new online tools and skills. I oversee the emergence and development of a hybrid museum model beyond the age of COVID-19 that brings the onsite and in-person activities together with digital and immersive experiences”. 

Other interactive and online programs at Murney Tower include Meet & Greet Series, Paranormal Siege, History Speaker Series, High Tea with Murney Tower, and more. 

“As the museum team, we recognize that a strong digital presence is key to keep the public engaged and updated about museum activities, and increase online access to our collections, archives, and other museum resources,” said Erdogan-O’Connor.

Murney Tower Museum is a National Historic Site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Kingston’s oldest operating museum since 1925. 

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