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Vancouver Museum Animation History Essay

A day-long workshop in film animation!

Who: Grades 4 – 12

What: Create a short animated historical film in a full day workshop with a professional animator and museum interpreter


To Register:  click on the venue of choice above.

Animating History is an innovative hands-on workshop that connects media literacy and storytelling through the creative exploration of BC history. During the workshop, youth create a 1-2 minute animated film retelling a piece of local history. Students work cooperatively with a professional animator and museum interpreter to experience BC history and the stop-motion animation process.

Why animate local history?

This day-long workshop encourages students to identify what they value about their heritage and their city. They become detectives, guided through the museum exhibits with an objective: to look for clues to the past in order to bring their own story to life through animation.

Goals & objectives

  • Understand how animation works
  • Learn how to develop a story and create characters
  • Acquire the basic tools and techniques for creating an animated film using cut-out animation
  • Understand the concept of historical fiction
  • Develop a better understanding of events in Vancouver history

Elementary school curriculum links

This workshop has several links to the school curriculum, helping students to develop skills in such areas as teamwork, communication, and cooperation. Activities include a museum visit, interviewing, storyboarding, and animation. Students develop skills in math, time management, storytelling, and historical research. Learning how to do animation integrates all areas of the curriculum, enabling students to apply their multiple intelligences to a project-based learning experience.

Curriculum Connections: Social Studies – Society and Culture; Language Arts – Oral and Visual Communication; Visual Arts; Technology

What teachers are saying

“Excellent – bringing history to life with names and stories – an enjoyable enriching program.”

A partnership of the Reel 2 Real International Film Festival for Youth, the Museum of Vancouver (MOV), the Port Moody Station Museum, and the Richmond Museum, this program is funded in part by the Province of British Columbia. Special thanks to MacStation for assistance with our equipment needs, and to Modo Car Sharing for getting us to our venues.

Grand Hall

The majestic Grand Hall – the architectural centrepiece of the Museum – occupies 1,782 square metres (19,182 sq. ft.) with floor-to-ceiling windows of 112 m x 15 m (365 ft. x 50 ft.) framing a view of Parliament Hill. The Grand Hall houses an exhibition of six Pacific coast Indian house facades connected by a shoreline and boardwalk. The forest backdrop, which stretches the entire length of the Hall, is a scrim with the largest colour photograph in the world.

The displays focus primarily on traditional culture, while the exhibits inside the houses examine contemporary issues. Those interior exhibits are being developed in cooperation with the Native people of the region concerned. In some houses short-terms exhibits showing selections from the Museum's collection may be seen while the cooperative exhibits are under development. The Museum is home to the world's largest and finest collection of totem poles, many of which are displayed in the Grand Hall.

The Grand Hall is animated with storytelling, demonstrations, and performing arts. After public hours, it is available for private receptions and banquets.

The housefronts, which represent 1:Tsimshian, 2:Haida, 3:Nuxalk (Bella Coola), 4:Central Coast, 5:Nuu-Chah-Nulth (Nootka), and 6:Coast Salish peoples, were made by Native artisans, with work initiated in British Columbia and assembled at the Museum. To find out more about one of the houses or totem poles, click on the image of the one that interests you.


    Text - Andrea Laforet, Nancy Ruddell, George MacDonald
    Photography - Harry Foster, Steven Darby, Stephen Alsford
    Raven's Canoe graphic - Based on a traditional Haida design
    Web page production - Stephen Alsford