The Workers’ History Museum (WHM) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the development and preservation of workers’ history and heritage in the National Capital Region, across Canada and internationally. Our goal is to present, promote, interpret, and preserve workers’ history, heritage, and culture.

WHM is creating an online exhibit about the experiences of pandemics in the national capital region. One focus will be on the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic which has been frequently referenced in public discussions about COVID-19. The exhibit will also address earlier pandemics experienced by indigenous peoples such as tuberculosis and smallpox and some of the later outbreaks such as polio, HIV, H1N1, and SARS. The exhibit will portray these historical events by highlighting first-hand stories from front-line workers through their own words, images, and sound. Although our focus will be on the Ottawa-Gatineau area, we will also reach out to include stories from across Canada.

The museum recognizes that we are currently in a unique position in the midst of COVID-19 to document what it’s like to live and work in a pandemic and our exhibit will of course also feature stories from 2020’s front-line workers. In order to gather these stories, past and present, the WHM is approaching organizations that were and are integral to Canada’s response.

We want to ensure that front-line workers see themselves represented in the exhibit while also including a comparative analysis of Canada’s response from a variety of perspectives in the work force.

To ensure prominent recognition of exhibition sponsors, the museum will develop a credit line to accompany the exhibition title in all materials produced in conjunction with the exhibition.