In accordance with the announcement by the provincial government, the Gardiner Museum has closed temporarily, effective Monday November 23. While this news is difficult, the health and safety of our visitors, staff, and the wider community remains our top priority. We'll continue to provide you with engaging digital content to keep us connected while the galleries are closed.
During our temporary closure, we're posting exhibitions and selections from our collection online. Discover Inuit ceramics, Chinese and Japanese porcelain, pottery from the Ancient Americas, and more!
In accordance with instructions from the provincial government, the Museum closed to the public on Monday November 28 and we have cancelled all clay classes. We regret the inconvenience this may cause, but are hopeful that these actions will help maintain the health and safety of our communities. We will automatically be crediting students with a refund for remaining sessions.
Every object in our permanent collection can be accessed through our eMuseum portal. Learn about individual collecting areas, like Italian Maiolica or Modern and Contemporary Ceramics, or search the full collection by keyword. You'll be amazed by what you discover!
With the Museum closed temporarily, we need your support to continue to offer innovative and engaging exhibitions, programs, and community projects online, as well as plan for the future. Please consider making a donation to help us build community with clay.
Black lives matter.
I am writing as Chief Curator of the Gardiner to add my voice to the urgent conversations about police brutality, anti-Black racism, equity, and the role of museums in our society.
The Gardiner is an imperfect institution. Our roots are deeply embedded in settler colonialism, and our founding collection is heavily Euro-centric and elite. Our leadership and staff, myself included, largely reflect historical distributions of wealth and privilege. Our audiences do not represent the full diversity of Toronto. Many folks do not feel like the Gardiner is theirs, and I understand why. How we transform the colonial legacy that we have inherited and in part maintained is something I think about every day.
On June 1, the Museum posted a statement in support of Black Lives Matter. While statements like this are important, they do not take the place of the actual work. As a museum we have a pretty weak record with Black communities locally and historically—Black artists are under-represented in our collection, our exhibitions, our programs, and on our staff.
We have taken steps in the right direction, with strong community partnerships, more diverse artists in our galleries, and the recent addition of East African ceramics to our collection. But we can and need to do more.
Black, Indigenous, and other racialized communities have long been underserved by the Museum. While many projects throughout the Gardiner’s history have substantively engaged communities of colour, the majority of our work has been keyed to the sensibilities of traditional museum audiences—well-off, mostly white, and educated. Continuing on this path is not viable nor desirable.
The Gardiner staff is committed to transforming our institution into a home for a wider range of approaches, histories, and voices than it has been in the past: more exhibitions and programs foregrounding racialized artists and experiences; deeper work with historically disenfranchised communities; active grappling with the legacies of colonialism in our galleries; building more equitable representation in our collection; and diversifying our staff, volunteers, and board.
We have made progress, yet the bulk of the work lies ahead of us. We recognize the need to move from verbal commitments to developing specific goals, and this process is underway. I also recognize the need to continue learning how anti-Black racism, structural racism, and systemic oppression have distorted my worldview. I see this as essential as a leader in the institution and as a person. Looming budgetary challenges at the Museum can make this work feel out of reach, yet it remains central, urgent, and necessary.
Clay builds community. Our job is to do the work, both individually and as part of a team, to help advance the Gardiner’s transformation from its historical function to one that meets the needs of the present.
Sequoia Miller, PhD.
111 Queen's Park
Canada, M5S 2C7