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Innovative OMAH programs bring history to life for local seniors

'The heart of the program is to show folks around Orillia in order to inspire memories and generate storytelling,' OMAH official says of hybrid program
Narrator Tom Rose helps bring the history of the city to life in Heritage Orillia: A Guided Art and History Tour. It's one of a variety of new programs at the Orillia Museum of Art and History aimed at local seniors.

The Orillia Museum of Art and History (OMAH) has recently been deemed an age-friendly organization by the County of Simcoe.

This means it is currently offering virtual and hybrid programming people in local seniors’ active living facilities and for other seniors’ groups, and is in the process of adding more programming of that type.

The funding for this programming came from a grant from the Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility, noted to Lindsay Earle, OMAH’s history programming co-ordinator.

Current offerings include a virtual OMAH show and tell with one of the museum’s educators, showcasing some favourite items from the collection.

As well, OMAH has organized a bus trip for seniors to the McMichael Canadian Art Collection on May 4, as well as Heritage Orillia art and history bus tours, which can be booked at the discretion of the facility.

A new hybrid program is the virtual Heritage Orillia: A Guided Art and History Tour. This consists of a 30-minute video showcasing Orillia’s art and history, to be viewed in a group setting.

It also comes with booklets and activities for those participating to add to the educational experience. The goal of the hybrid model is to be helpful and enjoyable for those who might have mobility issues.

“This will be offered as one of our seniors’ programs, and will involve a facilitator showing the video and then leading a discussion,” Earle explained, adding these programs cost $10 per person. “The heart of the program is to show folks around Orillia in order to inspire memories and generate storytelling.”

The video is narrated by local art and history buff Tom Rose, who has worked at the Leacock Museum and the Orillia Opera House, where he is currently the front-of-house supervisor.

The narrated video is an educational jaunt through Orillia’s history and culture, with plenty of photo and video footage to make it interesting.

For example, there is video of Orillia’s grand and interesting houses with history, as well as some historical businesses and commercial buildings. The waterfront, the Pav and the parks are all there. The video doesn’t neglect First Nations history, either, with stories of Chief Yellowhead and the Mnjikaning Fish Weirs, as well as other significant people and events from that time to the current time.

“This program will be added to the roster of seniors’ group programming as an option that can be booked,” said Earle.

All of those programs are being added to the museum website here.


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