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The McCord Museum launches Keys to History, bringing Canadian history to your fingertips  

Montreal, Thursday, May 15, 2003 — Today the McCord Museum launches Keys to History, a dynamic Web resource designed for the Canadian history buff in all of us. Drawing upon images and information from leading Canadian historical institutions, Keys to History offers thematic virtual tours that highlight intriguing aspects of Canada's past and enable visitors to see Canadian history in a whole new light.

Hosted on the McCord Museum's Web site, Keys to History (www.mccord-museum.qc.ca/keys) encompasses a database of over 60,000 digital images from the collections of the McCord Museum and its partners, the New Brunswick Museum and the Musée acadien of the Université de Moncton. The digital medium offers users a rare glimpse of artifacts, artworks, photographs and manuscripts that might otherwise be inaccessible to museum visitors.

The star feature of Keys to History is a series of fascinating Thematic Tours created by historians and museum curators. These Tours provide insight into major events in Canadian history and aspects of daily life that shaped the Canadian experience, with tour topics such as the aftermath of the Rebellions of 1837-1838, the Klondike gold rush, 19th-century patent medicines and "miracle cures," and the advent of mass consumption and advertising in Canada.

For those inspired to become historians and curators themselves, the Database Research function allows users to search through over 60,000 digital images of artifacts in order to create his or her own thematic tour. These tours can be saved and shared with others, making Keys to History a truly user-driven virtual museum environment. Conceptual Browsing, on the other hand, offers an entirely different way of exploring the databases. With an innovative interface, this function encourages users to view artifacts and images in relation to each other and their historical context. Additional plans are in the works to enrich Keys to History with digitized images from institutions across Canada and extend the Thematic Tours' time period to end in 1945.

Part of the McCord's EduWeb
Keys to History is part of the McCord Museum's groundbreaking EduWeb, a collection of bilingual learning tools accessible free of charge on the Museum's Web site (www.mccord-museum.qc.ca). With Keys to History, the McCord adds a resource for members of the general public who wish to gain a fresh understanding of Canadian history.

Spearheaded by the McCord Museum under the leadership of Dr Nicole Vallières, the McCord's Director of Collection and Information Management, and her research team, Keys to History was made possible through a generous grant from Heritage Canada, and further aided by in-kind support from Sygraf Inc and Sono design.

Source and information:      

Nike Langevin
(514) 398-7100, ext. 251

We acknowledge the financial support of the Department of Canadian Heritage through the Canadian Culture Online Program