by Michael Rikley-Lancaster

The Mississippi Valley Textile Museum in collaboration with the Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum are thrilled to announce that they have received a Cultural Strategic Investment Fund grant for $39,016 from the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

The grant allows the museums to develop innovative science and technology-based programming for children and youth. Both museums have been designated as National Historic Sites of Canada due to the unique nature of their industrial heritage. The industrial collections, historic machinery and the unique facilities will provide unique learning for students interested in science.

“Youth engagement is so important to us at the Diefenbunker,” says Henriette Riegel, Executive Director, Diefenbunker. “Our facility is a unique piece of engineering and operated as a state of the art communications centre throughout the Cold War. To be able to engage young people’s interests in science and engineering is such an inspiring way to use our spaces. Given the current underrepresentation of women in technical and scientific fields, it is a great way for girls in particular to develop a life-long interest in science, technology, engineering and math.”

Michael Rikley-Lancaster, Executive Director, explains, “Partnering with the Diefenbunker allows schools to experience two industrial sites. We also hope to attract more girls to our science programs; the industrial revolution in Canada opened up new possibilities for women. In the late 19th century, before women were allowed to attend university, vote, or work outside the home, they were working in textile mills. Women were in close contact with the technology and science involved in making fabrics. They brought their own unique skills and knowledge to the field.”

This is a two year project and the prototype is set to launch in early 2014.