Mu­se­ums seek re­newed rel­e­vancy as a source to com­bat ‘fake news’

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ENTERTAINMENT -

Dur­ing peak tourist sea­son, thou­sands of peo­ple stream into Canada’s na­tional mu­se­ums each day — and this sum­mer is al­ready shap­ing up to be even stronger than usual in Ot­tawa, thanks to Canada 150 cel­e­bra­tions.

But the spike in vis­its isn’t just about the sum­mer.

Mu­se­ums say it’s also about a quirk of the present age: a pro­lif­er­a­tion of false in­for­ma­tion on­line that has made sep­a­rat­ing fact from fic­tion all the more of a chal­lenge.

That’s lead­ing peo­ple to in­creas­ingly seek out mu­se­ums as a pri­mary source of in­for­ma­tion, and in turn lead­ing in­sti­tu­tions to think a bit dif­fer­ently about how they do things.

“There is so much — for lack of a bet­ter term, I will call it noise — there are so many dif­fer­ent sto­ries: ‘What is news? Is it fake news? What’s go­ing on?’’’ said Fern Proulx, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of three of Ot­tawa’s na­tional mu­se­ums.

“Mu­se­ums are a trusted source of in­for­ma­tion. We need to be prom­i­nent in that space.’’

The three mu­se­ums Proulx over­sees — Agri­cul­ture and Food, Science and Tech­nol­ogy and Avi­a­tion and Space — col­lec­tively re­branded them­selves.

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