Niagara Falls Museums project takes virtual plunge

Members of the Brock University community interested in potential research projects or student opportunities are invited to explore options for embedded research, knowledge mobilization and community engagement with the Niagara Falls Museums at an online event Friday, April 24.

At an initial meeting held at Brock in February, Niagara Falls Museums manager Clark Bernat and curator Suzanne Moase met with University faculty and staff researchers to learn about current and potential research and community projects related to the region.

Originally planned as a series of in-person follow-up conversations, the resulting Working With Niagara Falls Museums initiative instead pivoted to an online format in compliance with recent COVID-19-related restrictions.

Ingrid Makus, Dean of Social Sciences, is heartened by the willingness among all parties to continue the initiative virtually.

“There is a real desire at the University and in the community to keep the connections we’ve made and not lose the momentum,” she says.

While many research projects and co-op placements have been postponed or drastically revised, the pandemic has also uncovered opportunities for creativity.

As the Niagara Falls Museums ramp up their virtual presence, Bernat says he is open to creative opportunities, and Moase says transferring artifacts and experiences to a digital format is an opportunity to expand the common perception of a museum as just a “bricks and mortar” institution.

In addition to welcoming back Bernat and Moase, the online meeting will feature Rebecca Raby, Director of the Social Justice Research Institute, and representatives from  Brock’s Office of Research Services to discuss funding that could support researchers and students.

Interim Dean of Graduate Studies Diane Dupont will also be available to discuss how her team can help other Faculties find new opportunities for students. She has been impressed by the resilience of graduate students and supervisors as they solve challenges brought on by the pandemic.

“The same flexibility and creativity that has recently been demonstrated in regard to course delivery and modification are needed to ensure that our graduate students are supported and can complete their programs in a timely manner,” says Dupont.

Representatives from Co-op, Career and Experiential Education (CCEE), including Carolyn Finlayson and Koreen McCullough, also look forward to discussing with participants ways that CCEE can support engaging and meaningful student experiences.

“In our current circumstances, Experiential Education is still focused on supporting our students and community through high quality learning experiences,” says Finlayson, Experiential Education Co-ordinator. “There are so many amazing examples of how our work can be done remotely, and we are working hard to bring those innovations to the online Brock classroom.”

The virtual meeting will take place on Friday, April 24 from 1 to 4 p.m. on Lifesize. Anyone interested in participating is asked to register on Eventbrite. A confirmation email will include the link to join the meeting.

Participants who have not done so already are invited to complete this brief online survey prior to the meeting, which will help inform the discussion. Background information about the initiative is available on the Working With Niagara Falls Museums Sharepoint site or by contacting Jeannie Mackintosh at

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