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Canadian Trucker’s Museum set to roll on real and virtual highways

HAMILTON, Ont. - When is a museum not a museum? The Workers Arts and Heritage Centre is stretching the limits and the Canadian trucker is its focus. Heritage Canada has announced funding of $149,175 f...


HISTORY ON WHEELS: The mobile Canadian Trucker's Story will roll out in '04
HISTORY ON WHEELS: The mobile Canadian Trucker's Story will roll out in '04

HAMILTON, Ont. – When is a museum not a museum? The Workers Arts and Heritage Centre is stretching the limits and the Canadian trucker is its focus. Heritage Canada has announced funding of $149,175 for the W.A.H.C. to create a virtual version of Highway Workplace: The Canadian Truckers’ Story.

The online exhibition will be housed at the Virtual Museum of Canada in Hull, Quebec (virtualmuseum.ca), and will complement the mobile tractor-trailer that will begin rolling across the country in 2004.

By accessing the VMC site, available free in French and English, the visitor will be given an intimate look at the daily life of the Canadian trucker and the history of the Canadian trucking industry. Guests will be able to track the museum’s trailer as it visits communities across Canada, play truck trivia and CB games, engage in a logic game to explore the working conditions, stresses and daily decisions of the commercial trucker, and submit their personal trucking stories to an online collection.

As well, visitors to the Highway Workplace trailer will be given a CD-ROM to take home that will include multimedia components describing details of the exhibition, and a soundtrack of Canadian truck driving songs.

Renee Johnston, director of the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre, is understandably enthusiastic about the new funding. “This will be another way for people to gain some understanding of the trucking industry and promote some discussion about the men and women who depend upon it for their livelihood,” she says. “The fact that a user-friendly version of the exhibition will be available means we can reach that many more people.”

Dunedain Multimedia in Toronto has been contracted by W.A.H.C. to provide technical and design expertise for the online project. “This will be a very interactive site,” says spokesperson Paula Beck. “The trivia engine and multimedia exhibits will inform a public that knows very little about truckers. The story collecting database will provide recognition and a tract of history for the Canadian trucker.”

The Virtual Museum of Canada is representative of a network of 700 institutions and museums across the country. Their mandate is to “celebrate the stories and treasures that have come to define Canada.” But mostly, they want to stir up some interest in Canadian history so people will go out and visit museums. The Highway Workplace goes one step further. By taking the exhibition on the highways (both the real and virtual ones), the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre is bringing the Canadian truckers’ story directly to the communities dependent on trucking. Coming soon to a computer and community near you.

If you have trucking stories you’d like to submit to the Highway Workplace project, contact Renee Johnston at the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre. Telephone 905 522-3003 ext. 23, or via e-mail, reneej@web.net.


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