Built Culture: Memories of the Precinct

2016, Aurora Museum & Archives, History, Temporary Exhibit
architecture, Aurora, built environment, ceremony, city planning, heritage buildings, neighbourhood, urbanism
About This Project

Date: Opening March 30, 2016

Partner: The Aurora Museum & Archives

Venue: The Aurora Museum & Archives – map

Project Members: Rebecca Frerotte, Michelle Johnson, and Sarah Spotowski


Built Culture highlights the cultural heritage of Aurora through the lens of its Cultural Precinct by focusing on both the architectural qualities and the vestiges of memory contained within the sites. Visitors to the exhibition encountered artifacts and archival documents which sample some of the stories and memories from the Cultural Precinct’s public sites and historic life.


This exhibition is timely based on the ongoing studies and planning initiatives by the Town of Aurora. This exhibitions intended audience includes both local Aurorans, and visitors to the town.


Research and planning began in October 2015 and was ongoing. We started writing and selecting artifacts in December 2015. Our initial meeting with the graphic design firm Boulevard Design took place in January 2016. During the period of March 8th – March 30th we worked to deinstall the previous exhibition and install Built Culture. An opening reception was held on March 30th, which welcomed members of the community to see the exhibition for the first time.


Built Culture used several means of expression in the exhibition:

  • Text Panels – Didactic material explains the history of the buildings, and People of the Precinct panels give details on individuals active in the neighbourhood
  • Photos – To show the buildings, their development, and uses
  • Artifacts – Physical remnants of events and the history of the neighbourhood
  • Walking Map Brochure and Geocache – Intended to encourage visitors to explore the Precinct that is showcased in the exhibition


The marketing and programming for the exhibition has included:

  • community outreach in The Auroran, and on the Town of Aurora website.
  • Promotion on Town of Aurora website, Facebook and Twitter pages.
  • Article in The Auroran http://www.newspapers-online.com/auroran/?p=13737


We also held an opening reception including welcoming remarks from the Mayor of Aurora, Shawna White Municipal Curator, and Curator Remarks from student curators. We have also promoted the exhibition through the creation of the Cultural Precinct Walking Tour brochure, and hiding of a geocache to encourage visitors to explore the neighbourhood featured in the exhibition.


The exhibition opened with a reception of approximately 60-70 people. An article was written in the lead up to the exhibition in The Auroran, and we anticipate additional documentation of the exhibition in the newspaper, it is released on a weekly basis and therefore has not had a chance to be included since the opening. Five people have found the geocache so far and all participants have written a good review. To date, we think that the exhibition has been a success. We will continue to monitor the exhibition’s impact across the year, including tracking the use of the geocache and changes to the opinions of locals about this important neighbourhood in Aurora.


We would like to thank: the Aurora Museum & Archives, municipal curator Shawna White, volunteers from the Aurora Museum & Archives, institutions, and individuals who loaned items, Boulevard Design, and the Faculty of Information for their support.
We are grateful to the Aurora community for trusting us with their history.