McDougall Cottage Historic Site curating exhibit highlighting Resiliency

Posted On Wednesday January 26, 2022

Using the 165-year-old Cottage as a metaphor, this Cambridge gem shines light on shared personal stories of resiliency coupled with strategies for bouncing back from life’s challenges.

Region of Waterloo - On a day known for acknowledging the diverse mental health challenges that affect the lives of many, the Region of Waterloo’s McDougall Cottage Historic Site, in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington (CMHA WW), announces a new project focused on Resiliency.

Resiliency: Shared Stories of Strength and Survival, which is slated to open to the public in the spring, comes on the heels of two years of a global pandemic, which has seen widespread reports of strains on mental health.

Anchored in the history of the 165-year-old Cottage, located in downtown Cambridge, the exhibit will feature a multimedia journey of shared personal stories of resiliency and offer resources and strategies to help our community bounce back from life’s challenges. This exhibit also represents a first step in McDougall Cottage’s future direction; to explore and embrace new and innovative ways to tell stories.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that declining mental health in the family of one of the Cottage’s former residents may have been a factor in the Cottage’s eventual state of disrepair. This encouraged Michelle Bartlett, Head of Content and Experience at McDougall to explore the idea of developing an exhibit on the topic, using the Cottage as a metaphor for Resiliency. “The Cottage has been through a lot over the years – it’s faced many challenges and it has its scars,” Bartlett explained. “But through the support of the Region, local community and the Cottage’s avid patrons, it remains an architectural gem on the banks of the Grand. It is a symbol of how, through the use of available resources and support, people can also become resilient in the face of life’s challenges.”

Through partnerships with local organizations like CMHA WW and others, programming will be offered on topics such as mindfulness, self-care and many more. “We want the community to know that there are options when building one's resiliency, but it's not a one size fits all solution. We hope some of our programming and stories will give people a chance to explore what works for them."

“We are pleased to be partnering with McDougall Cottage on this special project,” said Katrina Burch, Team Lead, Mental Health Promotion and Education Services at CMHA WW. “Spreading awareness of and resources for mental health is, of course, a key priority for CMHA, and this exhibit is a wonderful way to enable the conversation among members of the community, because we can all relate to stories of resiliency.”

Resiliency: Shared Stories of Strength and Survival will open at McDougall Cottage in the Spring of 2022.