Revitalizing the Cold War Store

Posted: January 18, 2013 in Cold War Store, Museum Community, Visitors Services

Written By: Chrissy Howard, Alix McLeod, Sarah Smith, Lyndsey Sullivan

Cold War Store MaquetteEach year the Algonquin College’s Applied Museum Studies (AMS) Program teams up with local institutions to create opportunities for third year students to develop educational exhibitions. Our project involved writing a design brief, including a curatorial essay; the creation of exhibit panels, interactive activities, a scale model of the store; and a presentation of the design to the Diefenbunker. Here are some of the highlights:

Revitalization of the Cold War Store Exhibit Plan

Our primary objectives were to:

  • update the current store space,
  • incorporate interactive elements, and
  • to introduce a more engaging space for kids.

Additionally, we wanted to further the museum’s Cold War themes by adding information panels, including one focusing on the original function of the space as a security area. As the project evolved, it grew to include a children’s area in the unused space across the hall from the Cold War Store.

What we learned

Close up of the Bunker Kids areaWorking with the Diefenbunker was incredible!  We learned to shape the exhibit to fit with this unique museum’s long-term goals and mandate. The freedom that we were given was amazing.   We were provided with basic guidelines, but the final plan was very much our own creative ideas. The completion of this project shows our commitment and our ability to see it through to the end. This will be a valuable addition to our portfolios as we begin our museum careers this spring!

The experience helped us to better understand the way the museum world works, and gave us the opportunity to interact with staff from the Diefenbunker.  The success of this project has boosted our confidence, and we are looking forward to seeing the finished product.  As we begin our careers as museum professionals, having a project like this under our belts is a real asset.

Thank You!

We would like to thank the Diefenbunker staff for their invaluable feedback and support throughout the project. The final result of this project is something that we are all very proud of, and we are looking forward to seeing our ideas come to life. Continue to visit the Diefenbunker’s website to follow the development of the Cold War Store revitalization plan.


  1. adrianpetry says:

    Reblogged this on not so private history and commented:
    Good old museum programming. Got to love it! Always important to re-assess permanent displays to make sure they are meeting the demands of one’s main audience.

  2. Well Done Ladies! Your project was impressive in all respects. I look forward to seing it implemented. Keep up the great work!

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