Library and Archives Canada and Early Exploration Photographs in Canada at the National Gallery of Canada

Ottawa - May 22, 2013

On Friday, May 24, the National Gallery of Canada (NGC), in partnership with Library and Archives Canada (LAC), will present Early Exploration Photographs in Canada, the first in a series of installations that will be on display at the NGC over the next three years. Made possible by a recent agreement between the two institutions, this series is dedicated to making LAC’s rich documentary heritage more accessible to the public.

Drawn from the extensive collection of Library and Archives of Canada, this first installation features 26 nineteenth-century exploration photographs taken by four individual photographers – Humphrey Lloyd Hime (1858), Benjamin Baltzly (1871), Charles Horetzky (1871-1879), George Mercer Dawson (1878 – 1879) – and one group of explorers, the British Corps of Royal Engineers (1858–1862; 1872–1875). Visitors can also discover the past through two digitized albums and contemporary reproductions of photographs in printed materials.

“We are very pleased to play a part in helping Canadians discover fascinating images from our country’s history thanks to this partnership with LAC,” said NGC director and CEO Marc Mayer. “Partnerships between institutions allow us to enrich our exhibition program for the greater benefit of our visitors.”

“Early Exploration in Canada not only celebrates the practical yet engaging work of early Canadian photographers and explorers,” said Hervé Déry, Acting Deputy Head and Librarian and Archivist of Canada, “it also demonstrates in a very tangible way Library and Archives Canada’s commitment to making the country’s documentary heritage accessible to all Canadians, no matter where they live.”

Captivating documentary images
Beginning in the late 1850s, Canadian and British governments organized exploration parties with the intention of fixing boundaries, determining sites for resource development, ascertaining routes for railways, and assessing areas for settlement, agriculture, and industry. The expeditions produced some of the earliest known photographs of the prairies, the interior of British Columbia, and western Ontario. As much as these photographs are informative documents, many are also beautiful and engaging images. They represent a time just prior to enormous change for Aboriginal peoples and fur-trade culture, when governments began to establish their authority over lands in the interior of the North American continent and to encourage the influx of settlers.

Admission and opening hours
Open every day from 10 am to 5 pm and until 8 pm on Thursdays. Free with general admission to the NGC Collection: $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and students, $6 for youths aged 12-19, and $24 for families (2 adults and 3 youths). Free admission at all times for NGC Members and children under 12. Free admission Thursdays from 5 pm to 8 pm, and on Sunday, June 2 (National Indigenous Day); and Monday, July 1 (Canada Day). For more information, call 613.998.8888 or 1.888.541.8888.

About the National Gallery of Canada 
The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian art. The Gallery also maintains Canada's premier collection of European Art from the 14th to the 21st century, as well as important works of American, Asian and Indigenous Art and renowned international collections of prints, drawings and photographs. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its principal missions is to increase access to excellent works of art for all Canadians. To do so, it maintains an extensive touring art exhibition programme. For more information, visit gallery.ca

About Library and Archives Canada
The mandate of Library and Archives Canada is to preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations, and to be a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all, thereby contributing to the cultural, social and economic advancement of Canada. Library and Archives Canada also facilitates co-operation among communities involved in the acquisition, preservation and diffusion of knowledge, and serves as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions. For more information, visit bac-lac.gc.ca.

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For more information, please contact:

Josée-Britanie Mallet
Senior Media and Public Relations Officer
National Gallery of Canada
613.990.6835
bmallet@gallery.ca