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(Posted 7:30 a.m., Sept. 25)
Latest Cumberland museum installation attracts media attention

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

A giant version of the board game Sorry has attracted the attention of the city's mainstream media. The game was installed at the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum in June at a cost of $21,000. File photo

For the past three months visitors to the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum have been enjoying two new installations designed to make their experience more interactive and fun, and for the most part the feedback has been extremely positive.

On Wednesday, the city released it's quarterly expense report which includes two line items for the new installations, which predictably caught the attention of city hall reporters.

The largest of the instalations is a giant version of the board game Sorry which was first released in 1930. The other installation is a large, interactive Chinese Checkers game. The price tag for the giant board game was $21,920.

According to Coun. Mark Taylor, who chairs the committee which oversees the city's culture department, the idea behind the board game is to teach people about what life was like during the 1920s and 1930s which is part of the museum's mandate.

"It was all about despair and that's what the board game is all about," says Taylor.

The board games were unveiled in June with very little fanfare. They are part of the museum's budget and are amoung hundreds of minor capital expenditures that do not require city council's approval.

They likely would have gone ignored if not for the working media at city hall who make it their business to go over the quarterly expenditiure report in search of questionable items such as $21,000 for a giant board game.

Both the Ottawa Citizen and the Ottawa Sun recently published stories questioning the expense prompting a written response from Dan Chenier, the city’s general manager of parks, recreation and culture.

“The game teaches about the recreation and leisure activities (part of social history) for the museum’s mandated time period (the 1920s and 1930s) by using physical movement to heighten engagement and interactivity," writes Chenier. "This idea of a life-sized board game was proposed as a way to create a new and interactive attraction at the museum. It doesn’t require staff attention and it’ll be easy to put away for the winter."

The proof as to whether or not the board games are with it maybe in the number of museum visitors who have stopped to use them, and according to museum staff, both games have been extremely popular.

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)

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