Heritage Professionals set up a major exhibition this week for the Toronto French School as part of its 50th Anniversary this year. This display was housed in the Headmaster’s display cabinet situated in the Senior School. The intent of the exhibition is to tell the story of the school and tap into the rich holdings of the TFS Archives.
The curator involved in this project was Natalie Buongiorno who did a wonderful job producing this high profile project. We received support from two recent graduates, Haley Smith and Stacey Redick, with the preparation of mounts, easel backs and the installation.
This was an extremely challenging initiative due to the designated target audiences — parents, alumni, staff and senior students — as well as the structure of the cabinet, which is essentially a bookcase. The shelves were quite narrow, only 6 inches in width, and the top and bottom shelves were difficult to grapple with since they are well out of eye sight. Placing all of the items in a row on the shelves also seemed dull and uninspiring.
The exhibition includes a text panel and detailed labels that convey the history of the institution as well as the stories behind each artefact and photograph in a sophisticated fashion. It also showcases a broad array of items, including whimsical ones, to engage a younger audience. We were able to address the inadequacies of the cabinet and transform it into a more elegant and enticing display by attaching black fabric to the back as well as by relying on a neutral tan fabric to cover the narrow shelves. This strategy also enabled us to tap into the once inaccessible spaces by affixing some of the photographs and labels to the black fabric above the shelves. The remaining items and artefacts were displayed on the shelves.
The soft launch for the exhibition
took place on Friday the 28th of September at a BBQ that TFS held for over 2000 staff, students, alumni and other stakeholders. See link for more details. The hard launch in the form of a more formal gala is scheduled to take place in late October for staff, alumni, stakeholders and VIPs. We hope that the exhibition will engage viewers and educate the TFS community about its rich history and draw them closer together.