Taking Charge of Culture and Taking Risks at Campbell House Museum

Friday, November 8 - 2:05 to 3:20 pm


Liz Driver, Director/Curator; Angela Wright, Historical Interpreter/Event Facilitator, Campbell House Museum; Alex Dault, Associate Artistic Director, Single Thread Theatre Company; Miles Collyer, visual artist, The Tin Type Studio

Download the Panel Introduction presentation [ PDF 8.5mb ]
Download the Campbell House Museum presentation [ PDF 2mb ]
Download the Single Thread Theatre Company presentation [ 400kb ]
Download the The Listening Party presentation [ PDF 1.3mb ]
Download the Tintype Studio presentation [ PDF 2.7mb ]






Session Description 

At Campbell House Museum, citizens gather to discuss, create, and perform in a unique heritage setting. By bringing their talent to this historic house, the creative partners help to develop new audiences, build community, and contribute to Toronto’s economy. A panel of three museum staff, together with an artist, actor/director, and musicians (via video), will share their experience of taking risks through cultural collaborations. They will address the specific and broader issues of hosting live events in a historic space.

Built in 1822, Campbell House is the oldest surviving building from the town of York. Its first owner, Chief Justice Sir William Campbell, presided over the trial of the rioters who destroyed William Lyon Mackenzie’s printing press, a significant test for freedom of the press in Canada.  Today, Campbell House Museum is a vibrant public space where citizens gather to discuss, create and perform, giving life to the words “freedom of expression.” Although this “historic house museum” continues to offer tours and preserve artifacts, its new purpose is to encourage others to be inspired by its history, collections and unique context in downtown Toronto. In this way, people respond creatively to the setting and bring their own interpretation to our story.  The museum is becoming a hub for artists, musicians, actors and others, and the focus of programming has shifted to live events with active use of the historic spaces. There are many positive outcomes for both the museum and the community: innovative programs that attract enthusiastic audiences, new creative partnerships for the museum, increasing program revenue and support for the city’s creative economy. Hosting live events, however, comes with challenges, especially with regard to our collections and the museum’s future evolution.  The objective of the panel discussion is to share our experience as a small museum taking charge and taking risks in our historic space, to discuss our successes and challenges, and to hear from others about similar initiatives.


Presenter Biographies


Visual artist, The Tin Type Studio
Miles Collyer is a visual artist and founding member of The Tintype Studio. Receiving a BFA in photography from OCADU in 2006, in 2012 he commenced a joint MFA/MBA program of study at York University and The Schulich School of Business. The Tintype Studio revisits a historical photographic tradition, creating a unique image on a metal surface. Reviving this process by offering a fun and participatory take on the instant photo booth, the public is given a chance to experience a chapter in photographic history.

Miles Collyer


Associate Artistic Director, Single Thread Theatre Company
Alex Dault is a writer, actor, producer and director. He is currently the Associate Artistic Director of Single Thread Theatre Company.

He regularly works in partnership with cultural organizations to produce site-specific, artist-researched content.



Alex Dault



Director/Curator, Campbell House Museum
Liz Driver is the Director/Curator of Campbell House Museum and a food historian. Her ground-breaking work Culinary Landmarks: A Bibliography of Canadian Cookbooks, 1825–1949 (University of Toronto Press, 2008) won the Bibliographical Society of Canada’s Tremaine Medal and in 2009, she was the first person to be inducted into the Canadian Culinary Landmarks Hall of Fame (now Taste Canada Hall of Fame).



Liz Driver



Historical Interpreter/Event Facilitator, Campbell House Museum
Angela Wright is a Historical Interpreter at Campbell House Museum, where she inspired and helped to organize The Listening Party live music series and performed in the series with her band The Miss Bennets. Angela has also worked as the Marketing and Communications Director for The Playwright Project, a grassroots theatre festival in Toronto. After graduating from York University with a Master’s degree in Art History, Angela accepted a summer position at the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, where she contributed research to a book commemorating the Conservancy's 80th 



Angela Wright