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Media Release
February 28, 2019
Halifax, NS

Family Bonds & Belonging Opening Soon

What is family? The answer to this simple question is central to a new exhibition at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. Family Bonds & Belonging opens March 9th and welcomes visitors of all ages to discover the many different ideas of family together, those of biology, choice, association and place.

With touching, beautiful and quirky displays the exhibition leads visitors through four themes - belonging, growth and change, gatherings and generations - and ultimately celebrates Canadian identity by exploring families and family history, linking past to present and province to nation.
Family photo albums, oral histories and a series of home movies screened in a full-scale 1970s themed rec room share nostalgic portrayals of early and contemporary families. Visitors will connect with the traditions of families who came as immigrants, and families who have always been here through beautiful and rare artifacts.

With the word "Family" in the very title, it is no surprise that the exhibition contains a unique section just for the young, and young-at-heart, complete with a giant TV, shadow-puppet theatre and blanket fort. The multigenerational exhibit shows the important family role played by children, and their changing roles through adulthood.

Interactive opportunities allow visitors to leave their mark on the exhibition: On a growing family tree display and by adding their own family photo to the exhibition by sharing an image on Twitter with #FamPhoto21

Family Bonds & Belonging is sure to get you thinking, talking and reminiscing about your own unique family unit. Visit now, and again throughout the year. Family Bonds & Belonging will be on until November 3rd.

Family Bonds & Belonging was originally produced by the Royal BC Museum and has been adapted by the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. Presented by Scotiabank.

Quick Facts:

  • The centrepiece of the exhibition is a visually-striking circular display of textiles, traditional costumes and favourite items of clothing that portray different family roles through many generations, including a Mi’kmaq chief’s jacket.
  • Kids can crawl through a blanket fort, play games, screen a shadow-puppet show and learn about the child’s important role in their own special section.
  • Home movies will loop on suspended screens in a full-scale 1970s rec room.
  • Look at family photos, formal and fun along the portrait wall with an opportunity to add your own by sharing an image on social media using #FamPhoto21
  • Beautiful and rare artifacts, including portraits, clothing, photos and fascinating heirlooms on loan from the Royal BC Museum and from the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21's collection.
  • Oral histories throughout share stories of families who came as immigrants.


“We’re excited for families and people of all ages to explore Family Bonds and Belonging at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. This exhibition was especially compelling for our team to adapt. Originally from BC, with a very West Coast feel, we enjoyed the opportunity to include East Coast material and stories from our collection to create this wonderful bicoastal take on definitions of family. We enjoy the nostalgic, joyful way the exhibition portrays those family rituals of recreation, growing up and work that are so central to everyone’s memory. There are also many opportunities for visitors to interact and leave their mark on the exhibition, so we’re looking forward to seeing how the exhibition will also grow and change while it’s here." - Dan Conlin, Curator, Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21


Media Contact
Beatrice Houston Gilfoy, Communications Specialist
Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
Telephone: (902) 425-7770 ext. 264 C : (902) 430-3986