Media Room

Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation Appears Before Senate Committee on Energy, The Environment and Natural Resources

President and CEO Denise Amyot presents innovative pan-Canadian initiative for energy literacy

[Ottawa, Ontario November 1, 2011] The Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation appeared before the Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources to brief the Committee on the museums' Let's Talk Energy pan- Canadian initiative, which demonstrates how the museums and its partners are well positioned to lead a national energy literacy campaign in Canada.

"As museums, we benefit from the public trust in our education programs and the quality of our content." said Denise Amyot, President and CEO of the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation. "We are mobilizing on energy literacy and leading a large community of stakeholders, museums and science centers, to reach millions of Canadians from coast to coast to coast. We are committed to this national energy literacy initiative and will continue with the support of our partners and sponsors." A copy of Mme. Amyot's full remarks may be found HERE.

Committee members commended the museums corporation and its partners for this ambitious and unique program—a first of its kind in the world. Mme Amyot presented an overview of how the museums came to be engaged in energy literacy, their accomplishments, and plans for the future.

She explained that the museums became engaged in energy literacy as a result of discussions with stakeholders on the role of science museums in the 21st century, and the need for public science education on the theme of energy. These stakeholders also challenged the museums to find ways to reach out to Canadians beyond the buildings' walls in the national capital. As a result, the corporation invited museums and science centres across Canada to collaborate in the six-year pan-Canadian energy literacy program, called "Let's Talk Energy". So far, 18 science centres/museums have confirmed their participation: Telus World of Science; Glenbow Museum; Leduc Energy Discovery Centre; The Western Development Museum; The Manitoba Museum; Oil Museum of Canada; THEMUSEUM; Ontario Science Centre; Science North; Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission; Biosphère; Musée de la nature et des sciences; Musée minéralogique et minier de Thetford Mines; Musée du Fjord; La cité de l'énergie; Science East; Discovery Centre; Eptek.

The cornerstones of the Let's Talk Energy initiative are the three exhibitions that opened last summer in Ottawa. Green Skies Ahead at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum showcases current and futuristic technologies that allow the aviation industry to increase its economic performance while decreasing its environment impact. At the Canada Agriculture Museum a unique outdoor installation, Energy Park: Nature at Work, includes growing plants that are used to make biofuels, and educational interactives that explain the principles of wind and solar power.

The largest of the three energy exhibitions at the Canada Science and Technology Museum, Energy: The Power to Choose explores the economic, environmental and social benefits and the challenges faced by industry in harnessing energy from all primary sources available in Canada. Visitors are invited to think about their own energy consumption and the decisions they make daily to use or save energy.

Mme Amyot also described Let's Talk Energy pan-Canadian activities including: a partner program with museums and science centres across Canada; twelve information kiosks for placement in locations across the country; support for the development of a travelling exhibition, "Watts Up" that focuses on energy and electricity; travelling educational suitcases for use in schools; downloadable educational programs and video on the Let's Talk Energy website; and a summer institute for elementary teachers. Social media initiatives include a live Twitter wall, @enertweets, in the Energy: Power to Choose exhibition using #talkenergy, online social gaming in the museums and videos about energy on YouTube. A full description of the Let's Talk Energy activities are available in the Progress Report available HERE.

In response to Mme Amyot's presentation, the Chair of the Committee, Senator W. David Angus said, "I can see that the senators around the table are all ready to Let's Talk Energy. This is what we are trying to get Canadians to do. I am thrilled with the way you have outlined it for us."

The Committee asked questions about future projects like a virtual energy exhibition, and requested information about the rigorous product development and peer review process for the three energy exhibitions.

The Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources examines legislation and matters relating to energy, the environment and natural resources generally, including: mines and natural resources, other than fisheries and forestry; pipelines, transmission lines and energy transportation; environmental affairs; and other energy-related matters.

The committee is examining the current state and future of Canada's energy sector, including alternative energy. Since the fall of 2009, the committee has been studying this important national subject and to date, the committee has heard from some 200 witnesses. The committee is completing its consultations and continues to engage in a dialogue about developing a cleaner, more efficient and sustainable energy system in Canada.

For more information, please contact:

Marjorie Vallée