Lougheed House Re-Imagined

Lougheed House Re-Imagined is a reimagining of the stories we tell and the way we tell them. We are planning to redevelop the permanent exhibits at Lougheed House to tell our city’s history through the diverse stories and perspectives of the people who made this place.

Lougheed House Re-Imagined is… 

A permanent exhibit, a new way of working, and an invitation 

In the last three years, Lougheed House has undergone a radical transformation of how we develop exhibits and programs to become focused on the arts as a pathway to understanding and learning, to be more community-oriented, and to tell more diverse stories. This transformation includes working with diverse communities to facilitate the telling of community-based stories through a process of co-creation. We are doing this because we believe that history belongs to everyone, not just those in positions of institutional authority. 

Recent projects were developed using this model of co-creation and resulted in receiving an award. Explore these YouTube videos on our Lougheed House channel: 

Nine Lives: Changing Notions of Femininity Through Time

Outliers: Queer History in Calgary

From Racialization to Peoplehood: Exploring Métis Identity Past and Present 

Lougheed House receives social responsibility award

Métis Identity exhibit, 2019.

We are continuing to grow in the area of co-creation, collaboration, and storytelling as we redevelop our permanent exhibits.

We aspire to be a place where all visitors can have an experience that connects them to the city of Calgary and to their own identity as a citizen of or visitor to our city. We are doing this by joining with Calgarians to hear their stories and to present them in new, experiential, and interactive ways. We are doing this in order to be more inclusive, accessible, and relevant to our community. We believe that to remain relevant to our community we must listen to and involve the community.

This issue of inclusivity and relevance provoked a question: how did this “Calgary of today” come to be? What role have the people who have built this city – not just the mavericks, but the everyday citizens – played in growing Calgary to what it is today? What are the stories of the people who have made this place?

Out of this came Lougheed House Re-Imagined

Lougheed House is striving to be a place where the stories of people who made this place are the focus for a surprising look at Calgary’s story. It is the personal stories that we remember. Hearing about the lived experience of those who have gone before brings history to life. We know well some of these stories, as the Lougheed House’s history is rich with them – the Lougheed family, the Canadian Women’s Army Corps, and the Red Cross all share their history with this unique site. Beyond this, we know well the significant events of the history of Calgary that have contributed to its development. The Calgary Stampede, the Calgary Olympics, the Great Flood, and the building of the Calgary Tower are such examples. But we know the history of Calgary goes deeper. It includes the unique stories of thousands of people who have come before us, from all walks of life. These are the stories that have yet to become a concrete part of Calgary’s historic record. To read some of these stories visit our blog.

Shaun Hunter, co-curator of Storied City exhibit, in attendance at the Literary Luncheon, 2019.

As witness to nearly 130 years of history, we intend for Lougheed House to become a place where the inquisitive mind can delve into the surprising and diverse history of Calgary. This will be a place where a visitor can pluck a single thread that contributes to the intricately woven tapestry of our great city and explore how vital it is to the Calgary of today. The Lougheed House – its original family, its later occupants, and the physical structure itself – is woven through this compelling narrative that explores the multi-faceted history of this city. We are excited by the possibilities that these discussions present to develop a rich, accessible, and immersive experience with history in one of Calgary’s oldest houses.

A new way of working

Lougheed House Re-Imagined also represents a new way of working for Lougheed House, one that involves the community directly in content creation and exhibit development in the form of co-production.

Two years ago, we undertook a community engagement project which involved interviews and engagement with our stakeholders, community partners, and general public. Some of the feedback was that Lougheed House presented a hegemonic view of history focused primarily on a colonial narrative. Members of Indigenous and racialized communities, the queer and feminist communities have indicated that they have not always felt welcome at Lougheed House because the dominant narrative presented was not representative of their experience. Simply stated, they have not seen themselves reflected in the House. In response, Lougheed House has been partnering with community members to develop programming and exhibits that are inclusive of our diverse community and that represents alternate and parallel histories of the House. Partner with us as we continue on this journey!

For an overview of the project, watch our introductory video on the Lougheed House YouTube channel.

Performer from Drag Tea, 2019. Photograph courtesy of Sam Brown.

The Invitation

We believe that our city’s history is best told when a diversity of voices contribute to the telling. So, we are inviting Calgarians to work with us to identify the stories of the people that shaped our city’s past, and the diverse perspectives that need to be represented in the telling of our history today.

Hear some of the stories we’re hearing and get updates on the project.

Share your story or idea at Lougheed House on Civil Space.

In the Media

Investigate the Lougheed House Re-Imagined project through the media:

Globe and Mail article – Lougheed House tales not so simple after all

Live Wire article – Diversity, inclusion top of mind for Lougheed House Re-Imagined project

“Because our story is best told together.”


Background photo courtesy of Chris Stutz