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A Part of Our Heritage Minutes: The Value of Nostalgia

Kaitlin Wainwright

Recently, James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage, announced “a series of new programs to support Canada’s history.” While the federal government continues to lay off staff at Parks Canada, national museums and galleries, and Library and Archives Canada, the Canadian public are being told that we need to rebrand our history and that new measures are needed to help make history come alive. John G. McAvity, Executive Director of the Canadian Museums Association emphasized that “this includes not just formal or academic history, but more importantly the stories of Canada, pleasant and unpleasant as they are, of everyday Canadians.”

Although the announcement included the formation of a “Canada History Week” (July 1-7) and funding support for existing Canadian Heritage programs – such as the Celebrate Canada program – the highlight, according to most media outlets, is a new series of Heritage Minutes produced by the Historica-Dominion Institute.

The Heritage Minutes, for those who weren’t near a TV set or in a movie theatre in the 1990s, were a collection of minute-long historical microdramas that captured the essence of an element of Canadian history. High production values and government support made them widely successful and tremendously quotable.