St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia
The new 94,000 square foot Mulroney Hall at St. Francis Xavier University provides modern learning and flexible spaces for the campus and houses the new Mulroney Institute of Government. To recognize and honour both Brian Mulroney’s contributions to our nation and to his alma mater, Mulroney Hall includes an exhibition focusing on Mr. Mulroney’s formative years as an undergraduate student at St. FX and his career as Canada’s eighteenth Prime Minister (1984-1993). Visitors will come away from the exhibition with knowledge of Mr. Mulroney’s political achievements, an understanding of the position of prime minister of Canada as a nexus of leadership, governing, and public service, and the role that St. FX played in Mr. Mulroney’s path to becoming Prime Minister. It is the closest thing Canada has to a Presidential Library.
The exhibition includes a mix of traditional and technological installations. The Chamber is a large-scale media interactive that allows visitors to select from Mr. Mulroney’s best speeches and mini documentaries based on exhibit themes. Interactive digital labels enable visitors to delve deep into the stories of artifacts throughout the exhibition. On the other end of the spectrum, a full-scale immersive reproduction of the oak panelled Prime Minister’s Office transports visitors back to the 1980s with period furnishings, including Mr. Mulroney’s actual desk.
Distributed over four floors, each space is dedicated to different themes and stories of the Prime Minister’s career based on the use of that part of the building. Mr. Mulroney the St. FX alumnus is on the first floor next to the Ron Joyce Forum, the main student gathering area in the building. The exhibits on the third and fourth floors reflect the academic offices in those areas. And the second floor is dominated by the re-creation of the Prime Minister’s Office and the “exhibit pods” along Scholar’s Walk, the main east-west axis in the building. Each space immerses visitors in different stories, objects and images, interactives, and experiences.
Origin Studios provided complete exhibition development and design services for the exhibition. In addition to producing an interpretive plan, developing stories, selecting artifacts and images, and writing text, we also created and catalogued the Mulroney Collection for the university, bringing together artifacts and political ephemera from diverse sources. The design team worked closely with our fabrication and media partners to bring the exhibit to life, including the Prime Minister’s Office re-creation, which, according to Mr. Mulroney “is exactly the way it was.”
St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, NS, 2019
Interpretive Planning, Collection Development, Content Development, Exhibit Design
Exhibit Space: distributed throughout 94,000 sq. ft. building
Sharon Kirkey, “’This is exactly the way it was’: Replica of former PM’s office a highlight of new Mulroney Hall,” National Post (Sept. 17, 2019).
Laura Stone, “$100-million Brian Mulroney Institute of Government opens at former prime minister’s alma mater St. Francis Xavier,” The Globe and Mail (Sept. 18, 2019).
Corey LeBlanc, “St. F.X. celebrates grand opening of Mulroney Hall in Antigonish,” The Chronicle Herald (Sept. 18, 2019).
“STFX celebrates grand opening of the Brian Mulroney Institute of Government and Mulroney Hall,” St. Francis Xavier University (Sept. 18, 2019).