Concluding Statements

     I would like to take the time to conclude this exhibition with some final thoughts. The M.O. Hammond: Photographing Canada digital exhibition was created as a part of a thesis project for the Masters of Photographic Preservation and Collections Management at Ryerson University. This project was created as a case study to analyze what defines a digital exhibition. I have found that digital or virtual exhibitions present collection material with a narrative format, allowing visitors to connect with the story behind the objects. Additionally, I have found consistently that curatorial intent behind this narrative is a crucial part of differentiating digital exhibitions from other forms of digital repositories for collection material.
     Digital technology allows us to show more detail than many physical exhibitions could. Examples seen in this exhibition are zoomed in digital captures to show details of prints and Hammond’s markings on prints, as well as clear representations of both the recto and verso of the prints. This information adds value to the exhibition because it reflects Hammond’s engagement with these prints as objects through his journalistic practice. Digital exhibitions presented online can explore many different topics as well as providing educational programs for visitors to utilize. Additionally, virtual programs such as exhibitions has the potential to showcase archival material and contextualize complementary objects and records. The organization of these materials, information and records can vary greatly from being linear, thematic and even archival in presentation, allowing staff to control how the material is received by a target audience. Finally, digital exhibitions allow for collection material to be accessed without compromising preservation standards.
      In the process of creating this exhibition, I have consulted other digital exhibitions available online to look at the different ways collection materials were featured. Specifically, I have looked at the practices of Canadian and American institutions including The Royal Ontario Museum, The National World War I Museum and Monument in Kansas City, The Morgan Library and Museum in New York City, The Canadian Museum of History, Vid Ingelevics, professor at Ryerson University and of course, The Archives of Ontario.  I have also interviewed several institutions and consulted their policy and mandates to see what their criteria for virtual exhibitions are. There is a plethora of ways that different institutions are showing collection material online. Digital technology allows for collections to be shown in greater detail, for information to be linked at the click of a button and for every item in a collection to receive space and contextual information. Digital exhibitions can allow for applications that generate curiosity and spark viewer interaction. In this exhibition, I chose to include Google Maps applications to do just this. I believe that a digital exhibition is defined by curatorial intent as well as the application of narratives to contextualize collection material. These details allow for more intimate viewer participation in the exhibition that will allow for further engagement with the collection materials.
     We have entered into an age where everyone and everything has a digital presence online. The digital age is a great opportunity to exhibit collection material in a way that allows for enhanced information to be accessible to anyone with a Wi-Fi connection. I would like to, therefore, thank you for taking the time to explore this exhibition as well as to invite you to reflect upon the M.O. Hammond: Photographing Canada exhibition and its function as an online digital exhibition. Additionally, I would encourage viewers to look further and find other digital exhibitions that show fascinating collection materials and to see the different ways that art, cultural and historical objects are available to everyone online.
-Madeleine Anne Bognar