Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Speciality Museum and Archives - some hidden Toronto gems...

Lately I've gained a renewed sense of appreciation for small speciality museums and archives. I was so impressed with two of them that I'd recently visited that I'd like to share their presence and work with you.

Hidden within an assuming house in the heart of downtown Toronto, Dance Collection Danse describes itself as, "Canada's national dance archives and publisher dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of Canadian theatrical dance history." I was so impressed with how this small collection how grown from the work of one couple to what seems like a little powerhouse of disseminating, collecting, preserving and publishing Canada theatrical dance history. I was told they are currently searching for facilities to house their collection in a way that would be much better for preservation. Holding both records and artefacts, this collection is worth exploring and supporting if you have an interest in Canadian dance history or simply an interest in 20th century Canadian culture. I must say that their publications are quite impressive.

The second stretches farther back in its collection. Nestled inside the Beth Tzedec synagogue on Bathurst St. in Toronto is the Reuben And Helene Dennis Museum. This is an amazing collection of European and Canadian Jewish cultural heritage. I was amazed to be shown beautifully ornante Italian renaissance marriage certificates, Holocaust artefacts, various lovingly decorated ceremonial artefacts and a host of other stunning pieces. Within its walls is a sure feeling of loving pride and solemn stewardship for such stunning and important pieces of Jewish cultural heritage. They are hoping to begin a Beth Tzedec Synagogue photography archive in the near future. Contact the Beth Tzedec Synagogue or the museum itself for more information. 
1700 Bathurst Street
Toronto, Ontario
M5P 3K3
Tel. (416) 781-3514 x32, Fax (416) 781-0150
Dorion Liebgott (Curator)

If anyone has an interest in supporting either of these institutions I would highly recommend it. Both are fantastic storehouses of our community and shared cultural heritage.

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