Hello again! This past week was exciting as now that the Teddy Ryder Collection is complete, I have finally come up from the basement to give tours.
At first this was something I feared, but glad I did as it got me out of my comfort zone. It also helped me to see just how impactful this museum is, and not just in London, Ontario.
One example comes from the first tour I gave. This was a family from the United States whose son is a type 1 diabetic. The tour was quite emotional. When showing them the Teddy Ryder exhibit “I’m a Fat Boy Now”, the son asked his mother, “Am I going to live this long?” and the mother replied, “Because of insulin, you have a chance”. Then later in the tour, the mother started to tear up when I showed her the room where Banting came up with the idea for insulin. She said to me something along the lines of “My son wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for this idea”. The tour was one I will never forget.
Many visitors like this family have come from across the world to Banting House. Below is a map that shows where visitors have come from since the beginning of February of this year.
So, what goes into making a great tour?
Well, there is a little bit of training that needs to be done. Each tour guide is given a manual that provides information on each section in the museum. It provides tips of what messages to convey in each room, what artefacts to point out, and what questions to ask the visitors. However, this is just a reference guide and with each tour comes a slightly different, but equally informative experience.
For example, I might have more to discuss in the Teddy Ryder exhibit as I have worked on this collection for most of my internship, where someone else may discuss more about Banting’s impact in WW1 as this is something they’ve studied.
Here is an example of a tour, the curator did with DiAthlete that was filmed.
Next, tour guides will go on a mock tour where an experienced guide walks them through the museum. This also allows the trainee to ask any questions they may have about the material. This training is so important because the public puts a lot of trust in our museum to provide accurate information about the subject.
And that is about it! So, if you are every in the London area, make sure to stop by and come for a wonderful and informative tour given by our amazing volunteers.
Again, I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about what goes on “behind-the-scenes” of a museum. See you next week!