Woodland Cultural Centre FAQ
WOODLAND CULTURAL CENTRE
Frequently Asked Questions
What protocols are in place for opening for COVID-19?
Timed ticketing is in place at http://woodlandculturalcentre.ca/admission with social distancing protocols in place.
See all COVID FAQ here.
What types of payment do you accept?
Cash, Cheque, Visa, Mastercard, Debit, Google Pay, and Apple Pay.
In addition to Canadian currency, we also accept American, but it is taken at par, not at the current exchange rate. Paypal is accepted for online orders only. We do not accept e-transfers.
We DO NOT accept American Express. We DO NOT offer cashback.
Where do I go for the Museum?
Woodland Cultural Centre’s Museum and Art Galleries are located in the smaller grey building to the left of the property. All guests must check in at our Reception desk, located in this Museum building. Our primary reception area for all visitor questions is located in this building.
The former Mohawk Institute building is closed to the public and an active construction zone. Once construction has been completed, the building will be open for tours as well as for access to Woodland’s Library and Language archives.
Where do I park?
Woodland offers limited guest parking directly in front of the Museum building. Please ensure to keep the accessible parking space clear for those who require it. Additional parking is available along the grass line to the right of the Museum, and during dry weather summer months, guests are allowed to park on this grass space itself. Please do not park in front of the Canoe installation, as this is reserved for bus drop offs. Additionally, please ensure to keep the gravel laneway clear for safety concerns.
Tour and school busses are welcome to park on the far side of the roundabout in front of the former Mohawk Institute building.
Do I need to book a tour to see the Museum?
If you would like a guided tour of the Museum, you will have to book a tour in advance with our Education department. Please note that guided tours require a minimum of 10 participants; guided tours are only offered on weekdays. The Museum and Art Galleries are otherwise open for self guided tours and visits, welcoming walk-in admission. If you have a large group (10+) and are looking for assistance in planning your arrival, please feel free to contact the Centre.
Please note that due to Covid-19 restrictions, Woodland Cultural Centre is limiting the amount of visitors in our Museum and Galleries. For questions about this process, please see the Welcome Back – COVID FAQs.
How do I book a tour?
You can book a Guided Tour of our Museum and Art Galleries by contacting our Tours and Group Visits Registrar, Jessica Styres. They can be reached through the email contact, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling the Centre directly 519-759-2650 x 231. For more information about our tours, including the variety of programming we offer, please click here.
Tours of the former Mohawk Institute building are not available, as the building is an active construction zone. Due to that status, walking tours of the grounds behind the Mohawk Institute are similarly not offered, except on the occasion of some special events.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, tours of the Museum and Art Galleries, as well as other Educational programs, are currently suspended until January 2021. In the interim, Woodland is offering viewings of the Virtual Tour of the former Mohawk Institute, a video normally shown exclusively on-site. For more information on viewing the Virtual Tour, click here. If your organization, business, church, or group of friends would like to book a viewing, contact our Save the Evidence Coordinator; if your school or class would like to book a tour, contact our Education Coordinator.
How long does it take to go through the Museum as a self guided tour?
The average time spent inside the Museum and Art Galleries is 45 minutes. Like all museums, the amount of time spent inside is dependent upon the interest and familiarity of the individual in the content. Some guests have stayed inside for up to 2 hours.
Due to Covid-19 safety and capacity restrictions, self-guided tours are temporarily limited to 1 hour.
Can I take photographs/film?
You are welcome to take photographs for your personal use inside the Museum and art galleries, provided you do not use flash photography. If you post or share any of your photos on social media, we request that you tag us on the appropriate site (Woodland currently has Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and Facebook accounts), and to limit your photographs. For our galleries and exhibits, please ask at Visitor Services, as some exhibitions may contain culturally sensitive material that is not intended to be photographed.
If you want to use your photos in a professional means, be it for advertising, education or publication, you MUST submit a filming/photography request form. These forms can be received from reception, or by contacting the Marketing Coordinator. Until you receive a response, you will not be allowed to film or photograph any content Woodland related.
Do you have a gift shop?
The Gift Shop that many guests recall from previous visits to the Centre used to offer wares, such as baskets, beadwork, sculptures and fine art from local artists, as well as a collection of books. This shop was unfortunately closed in 2006. Woodland hopes to revive the Gift Shop to its former glory, but in the interim offers a selection of books and souvenirs, such as t-shirts or Woodland mugs. We also offer a small selection of materials specifically for our fundraising initiative, Save the Evidence.
Can I purchase items from your gift shop online?
Yes! We offer purchasing online for curbside pickups on Thursday afternoons.
All of our Save the Evidence items can be purchased through the “Shop Save the Evidence” page, and either shipped directly to you or kept in house for curbside pickup. If an item you selected does not allow you to add it to the cart and the button appears “greyed out”, unfortunately that means the item is out of stock.
All other items (our Education bundles, Arts catalogues, etc) can be purchased through the “Shop Woodland” page. At this time, these items are unfortunately only available for curbside pickup, and can only be purchased through paypal while utilizing our website. Shipping can be arranged through special order by contacting the Visitor Services Coordinator.
If you were hoping to make a bulk purchase of any items, or had questions about our current stock, please call the Centre directly at 519-759-2650 x 221.
Do you still host the annual Snow Snake competition?
Woodland’s annual Snow Snake competition has been cancelled in the past few years due to issues pertaining to climate change. The Winter seasons dramatically shifting weather patterns has made it near impossible to properly plan and execute this beloved event, as the snow often melts before the tracks can be built, maintained, and the competitors allowed to gather. Woodland is hopeful to revive this event in the future, though this will take time as our environment continues to adapt to global warming.
Do you offer traditional medicine to the public?
Woodland does not currently offer visitors traditional medicines utilized by the Onkwehón:we of Turtle Island, except on the occasion of specific events (such as the Survivors Gathering). We recommend contacting Kayanase for your traditional medicine needs.
Where else should I go or are there other places I should visit?
- Good Minds
- The Mohawk Chapel (Summer only)
- Chiefswood National Historic Site (Summer only)
- Six Nations Tourism
- Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant
- Canadian Military Heritage Museum
- Brant Museum and Archives
- Brantford & Area Sports Hall of Recognition
How long has the building been here?
As the Mohawk Institute Residential School:
The Mohawk Institute was first established in 1828 as a day school for boys; this day school eventually morphed into an industrial school, before becoming The Mohawk Institute residential school around 1831. The building was first built on the grounds of the Mohawk Village, but was burned down on two separate occasions before the current building was established and put into operation around 1904. The school did not officially close its doors as the Mohawk Institute until June 27, 1970.
As the Woodland Cultural Centre?
The Woodland Cultural Centre opened in 1972, under the direction of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians. At the time, the Centre was known as the Woodland Indian Cultural Education Centre; the name was changed to Woodland Cultural Centre in 1988. Initially the Centre focused on collecting research and artifacts to establish its Library, archives and Museum. The importance and significance of the Arts was incorporated and celebrated in the WCC starting in 1975. The Centre continued to grow with the establishment of the Education department in 1983, with the Language department following soon after in 1984. Woodland Cultural Centre has consistently maintained its status as a leader and innovator in Indigneous operated spaces throughout its history.
What is the significance of the Logo?
The Woodland Cultural Centre logo is based on a mid-eighteenth century trade silver brooch, which was prevalent in Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee societies. The two eagles represent the two Nations. The stylized hands are based on a prehistoric Woodland design and represent our First Nations reaching for the light — which is the star in the centre. The hands are symbolic of holding on to the culture, and passing “the light” to future generations. The Centre implemented this logo in 1988 as part of the rebranding of the Centre from its previous incarnation, Woodland Indian Cultural Education Centre.
Do you offer Native Language classes here?
Our Language Department does not offer public language programs at this time. The majority of our Language resources were until recently in storage while the former Mohawk Institute was under construction. The department has recently moved back into their office spaces, and are beginning to establish many exciting features, such as the Language Resources Centre and a recording studio. However, this will not be publicly accessible until at least 2021.
Where is your library?
Woodland Cultural Centre’s Resource Library is located inside the former Mohawk Institute; at this time, they are still closed to the public. Like the Language Department, the Library and Archives were in extended storage during the reconstruction period. As you can imagine, there are many materials in the collection which require special attention in the unpacking process, so this will take some time before they are open to the public again. At this time it is expected that the Library will be open in 2021.
How do I become a volunteer?
There are many times throughout the year that we would love to have some extra hands and a friendly face; the best way to become a general volunteer at Woodland is to reach out to our Visitor Services Coordinator: email@example.com. Please note that for specialized events, there may be additional requirements for volunteers.
ARTS / GROUNDS QUESTIONS
Why is there a Canoe in front of the building?
This is one of four pieces involved in the 2015 InterNations exhibit, featured in partnership with Planet Indigenous. These four works explore the modes of transportation from an Indigenous perspective. All of these pieces are permanently housed here at Woodland Cultural Centre, although only two are currently on display. These two are…
- “Up the Creek” by artist Kevin Lamure. The canoe rests upon an oil drum. In his artistic statement, Lamure states, “My work is intended to provoke and engage critical thought regarding the broad idea of consumerism and our habitual human nature of worshipping that of which society leads us to believe and makes us comforted and content… Although we all know deep in our thoughts, if continued the way it is it will surely be our ultimate sacrifice and demise.”
- “The Haldimand Coupe” by artist Kelly Greene. The Coupe rests on cinder blocks, with part of the Haldimand Treaty included on the hood. In her artistic statement, “…my multi-media work expresses my concerns towards our current environmental dilemma as well as land treaty claims and the injustices suffered by North America’s indigenous people…”
The two other pieces from this exhibit are…
- “Les Demoiselles d’Arigonon” by Kent Monkman. This piece would be best described as a take on a “Rez Car”; a Cadillac with five stylized and painted wooden figures inside, including Monkman’s glamourous alter-ego, Miss Chief. This work was previously displayed alongside Kelly Greene’s. Unfortunately, Les Demoiselles was vandalized and parts of the installation were stolen in the Spring of 2018.
- “Hakusteyea” by Douglas Smarch Jr. This piece is a skin boat frame composed of PCD pipes. From his artistic statement, “These frames were originally made of wood and left on lake shores, they were private property used with a canvas covering to cross lakes, ponds and stored at the lakes till next use…This piece does portray adaptability of my own people in our area…it was in a sense a type of modern hide that can be reused and serve as a multipurpose”. This piece is not featured on the grounds due to the lightness of the material.
What is the large plantlike structure?
This exhibit is known as the Haudenosaunee Solar Longhouse (2012), from the artist Kelly Greene. Part of Woodland’s “sculptural garden” exhibit (known collectively as Earthly Connections), this natural artwork is composed of indigneous trees, vines and grasses surrounding the structural steel beams. Greene chose this combination of materials as an acknowledgement to the agricultural and trades training that were formerly administered by the Mohawk Institute
What are the silver globes?
This artistic installation, known as Basket Series (2012), is by Shelley Niro. This work embodies the connection between the land and the history of basket weaving. The silver colouring is a deliberate marker of the future, as from a distance, the “silver globes” are reminiscent of an almost sci-fi futuristic structure. In this way, Basket Series simultaneously speaks to the past and future, as an ancient practice of cultural importance is not only physically emerging from the earth, it is continuing in the vision of years to come.
Why is the fence beside the Centre painted with two rows of purple?
This is not just a fence, but an art installation by artists Vince Bomberry and Peter Cook, entitled GAS-WEN-TAH – Two Row Wampum. The Two Row Wampum is of crucial importance to the Haudenosaunee, as it marks an agreement that was first made with the Dutch, and then later with the British (in the 16th and 17th centuries, respectively). The Two Row Wampum agreement stated that the Haudenosaunee and the Dutch (and then British) were to live in peace side by side, but would not interfere with one another’s lives, cultures, or nations. Just as the Guswentah is important to Haudenosaunee culture, this installation is important to Woodland’s history, first appearing in 1992, and being reinvigorated in 2004 as part of the Natural Inclinations series.
Who painted the mural closer to the road?
This mural was a community workshop during our Onkwehón:we Festival 2019, arranged by Aboriginal Legal Services and painted primarily by the designer, Brandon Lazore. . This mural project invited visitors to the Onkwehón:we Festival to assist in the painting; the design utilizes several wampum important to the Haudenosuanee, bringing the legacy of these agreements to the forefront of our minds and inviting viewers to question what they know about them.
What are the archaeology diggers doing?
Archaeology at the Woodland Cultural Centre is being undertaken as a pro-bono reconciliation project of the Ontario Archaeological Society and Archaeological Research Associates, Ltd. in partnership with the Woodland Cultural Centre, Save the Evidence and Mohawk Village Memorial Park. Beginning in the spring of 2017, ARA and the OAS have managed the archaeological needs at the Woodland Cultural Centre and the Mohawk Village Memorial Park with volunteers from Six Nations, Mississaugas of the Credit, archaeological consulting firms, archaeological researchers and the general public. All of the artifacts uncovered in the archaeological process will become part of the Centre’s permanent collection.
What is the structure built on the other side of the lawn?
The Pavillion is the product of the Mohawk Village Memorial Park (MVMP), intended to honour the children who attended the Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School. For a more detailed understanding, as well as to see the plans they have for the park, please visit their website.
What is Woodland’s connection to the MVMP?
At present, Woodland and MVMP work in partnership in a goal to honour those who have come before and to educate those who have yet to come. Financially, the MVMP is a separate organization, and the fundraising they conduct is focused exclusively on the park. Similarly, WCC and STE fundraising is focused exclusively on the former Mohawk Institute, the Museum, and the programming we offer guests.
SAVE THE EVIDENCE QUESTIONS
Who ran the Mohawk Institute Residential School?
From roughly 1828 – 1922, the Mohawk Institute operated under the direction of The New England Company (roughly 1828 – 1922), which itself was part of the Anglican Church. After 1922, a leasing agreement was arranged with Indian Affairs Canada, wherein the Canadian Government would take over the school’s operations so long as the Principal continued to be an Anglican; NEC was still involved in the financial support of the residential school. The Government of Canada did not assume complete control over the Mohawk Institute until 1969, and then only because the school had become too costly for NEC to continue operations.
Is the Residential School Building open for tours?
No. Although staff are now able to work inside the building, the building is not open to the public. We were initially hoping that the construction and cultural interpretation of the building would be completed by, and thus open, by Summer 2020. This, sadly, did not happen due to construction and fundraising setbacks, and we are now anticipating the building will not be open to the public until 2022. This goal is in consideration not only of the culturally interpreted spaces for those seeking the history of the Mohawk Institute Residential school, but also in recognition of the ongoing work of our Library and Language departments, as they were in storage during construction and will need time to be set up again.
In the interim we currently offer a virtual tour of the Residential School, which can be booked for groups through our Education Department or as individually as part of a monthly fundraising series for Save the Evidence.
When did the Save the Evidence campaign begin?
Save the Evidence initially began as an endeavour to restore the roof of the former Mohawk Institute in 2014. As the costs associated with restoring and repairing the roof began apparent, the question quickly morphed into the question of if the building should be restored or not. After community consultation, the overwhelming response was to restore the building in order to preserve the history and educate the future generations. Save the Evidence is an ongoing fundraising campaign to ensure the building is preserved for that very purpose, seeking to establish a space where the experiences of Survivors is never forgotten through education and cultural interpretation.
How far along is the Save the Evidence Campaign?
We have successfully fundraised and completed Phase One which was for the roof, the asbestos/mold abatement, and the front porch.
We have also completed and fully funded Phase Two, which was for the mechanical upgrades inside of the building (including Electrical, HVAC, Plumbing). This Phase was completed upon March 21, 2019, utilizing $6.9 million.
We are now fundraising for our final phase, Phase Three. This is to complete ongoing construction, the installation of windows, masonry, staff space and the interpretation centre for the Residential School. Save the Evidence has submitted an application for a fundraising grant, requesting $11 million. If this fundraising is successful, there will still be an additional $5000,000 remaining to fundraise in order to complete the project.
We will continue to fundraise and accept donations after the completion of Phase 3 in order to establish an endowment fund, so that the building will never again fall into disrepair.
How can we donate to the Save the Evidence Campaign?
You can donate in person here at the Woodland Cultural Centre or online at Canada Helps https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/woodland-cultural-centre/
Do you have the records from the Mohawk Institute?
No, we do not. When the school closed in 1970 the Anglican church took the registration records with them. We are slowly gathering names, records, and any other documents regarding the Mohawk Institute, for internal records. The majority of these are being gathered through intergenerational survivors and their families, and through self-identified survivors.
We do have a plaque inside the former Mohawk Institute building, bearing an incomplete list of Survivor’s names and years of attendance; these names were compiled through the hard work of one of the Survivors of the Mohawk Institute, Geronimo Henry. The information from this plaque was based on the limited information available at the time, as his research was done prior to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.
Where would a Survivor or family of a Survivor go to access their records?
There are two great resources for Survivors and family trying to find copies of their records.
- The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, otherwise known as the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. They have a form for intergenerational survivors they require to be filled out in order to receive a copy of records or statements of attendance, and they also need either consent from the Survivor or proof of death.
- Phone: (204) 480-1091
- The National Residential School Survivor Society, otherwise known as the Shingwauk Project. Their archival research available online has numerous documents and photographs that may be of assistance to you in your research.
- Phone: (705) 949 – 2301 ext. 4622