In October 2017, Heather Morrison was feeling sorry for herself sitting in a library at Queen’s University. She was struggling to complete a paper, part of her coursework for a Master’s Degree in Education.
As she stared out the window, her mind drifted across the street to the barred windows of an abandoned building: the former federal Prison for Women.
She was startled to realize that just as she was looking out the library window and wishing she didn’t have to study, somewhere in the not-to-distant past, an incarcerated woman may have gazed through those barred windows hoping to one day have the chance at an education.
For Morrison, who had spent 15 years working in a women’s shelter and a sexual assault centre, the building was representative of women’s oppression throughout Canadian history. Then, it occurred to her that the building was being neglected, the way women’s participation in Canadian history had been neglected.
And so, the idea for the Canadian Museum of Women’s History was born.
In 2021, Morrison created an incorporated not-for-profit whose mandate is to create a Canadian Museum of Women’s History. More about CMWH can be found by visiting its website at: https://cmwh.ca/
Now in the second year of her Ph.D. in Education at Queen’s University, the focus of Morrison’s studies is to explore and understand how a national museum of women’s history, as an institution of public pedagogy, could strengthen liberal democracy in Canada.
Canada is a democracy whose citizens share expansive rights and freedoms. Despite this fact, the dominant narrative of Canada’s evolution largely overlooks women’s contributions to it.
History is a living document we are writing every day. It is the role of CMWH to add accuracy to our national story.
CMWH will fulfill its role by amplifying the little-known and untold stories of the contributions of all women, including pre-colonial women and those who self-identify as women, have made to the lands now known as Canada.
The victories of the women’s movement are a blueprint for future generations to solve ever-evolving social injustices. This soon-to-be Canadian institution will tell these stories and teach us how we can continue to make our world a better place.
Creation of a national museum dedicated to women’s history is democracy in action.”
Morrison and the Founding Board of CMWH invite you to join in their efforts by them by adding your name to a petition at Change.org https://chng.it/w59HNngQ.