Marie Dressler Museum (now Canadian Women in Film Museum) Expansion

2020, Marie Dressler House
20th-century, Academy Awards, biography, Broadway, Cobourg, film, gender, Great Depression, Hollywood, moviola, poster, promotional materials, Vaudeville, war efforts
About This Project

Date: September 2019 – April 2020

Partner: Marie Dressler Foundation

Location: Marie Dressler Museum (Canadian Women in Film) Cobourg, Ontario

Project Members: Enya Barbeau, Karen Cheung, Natalie Heaton, Emma Myers, Michelle Wright


This project presents an expansion plan for the Marie Dressler Museum in Cobourg, Ontario as it grows into the Canadian Women in Film Museum. In 2015, students from this program revitalized the Marie Dressler Gallery within Marie Dressler’s historic home. In 2019, the museum enlarged its scope two include two other Oscar-winning Canadian actresses from early Hollywood: Mary Pickford and Norma Shearer. The aim of this expansion is to illustrate the impact that Canadian women had on early twentieth-century cinema and to inspire the next generation of Canadian women in the film industry.


Our expansion plan includes the following elements: exhibition plans for two new permanent galleries dedicated to Mary Pickford and Norma Shearer, plans for an interactive hallway exhibit that explores the history of Hollywood, and a redesign of the museum entrance. The exhibition plans highlight how Canadian actresses Norma Shearer and Mary
Pickford leveraged and subverted gendered expectations of the early twentieth century to make advancements in the film industry.