Community Day at Glenbow Draws Thousands of Museum-Goers

Imagine throwing open the doors to a world-class art and history museum and then inviting the community to explore the treasure trove of culture within its walls free of charge for an entire day.

If it sounds too good to be true, think again. In Calgary, it’s a once-a-year opportunity called Community Day at Glenbow, and it’s sponsored by Chevron Canada.

Eleven Chevron volunteers lent their support to Community Day
Visitors to the Chevron Open Minds room helped create a word mural focused around the theme of community. Kids colored word cutouts and glued them onto a large poster. The mural is now displayed in the Discovery Art Room.

Since its inception in 2013, Community Day has drawn more than 15,000 people to the venerable downtown institution, becoming the single busiest day of the year at Glenbow and a key marketing strategy for the museum to broaden its reach with Calgarians.

“What we find with Community Day is that we have more families coming in and also a lot of first-time visitors,” said Chris Petrik, director of Development for Glenbow, which in 2016 is celebrating its 50th anniversary. “It’s really important in the sense that it gives us the opportunity to engage with thousands of people who may have never visited or who may not have been here in five years, 10 years or perhaps even longer.

Petrik added, “When people are able to come in with their families and experience what we have to offer, it’s a win-win-win. It’s great for Glenbow, it’s great for our visitors, and it’s great for Chevron.”

Annual Tradition

The first Community Day was held in August 2013 when Glenbow, in partnership with Chevron, hit upon the idea of offering free admission to encourage Calgarians to return to the downtown core following that summer’s devastating flood. More than 4,200 people enthusiastically poured through the Glenbow’s doors, prompting what has now become an annual tradition.

“Community Day is a great example of our multi-faceted community partnerships,” said Lorelei Piotto, team lead, Social Performance at Chevron Canada. “Finding new and exciting ways to create shared value for the community, our partners and Chevron is a key area of focus for us.”

Chevron’s partnership with Glenbow dates back to 1996 with the creation of an Open Minds classroom at the museum. Over the past 20 years, hundreds of students, teachers and parent volunteers have attended Museum School, immersing themselves in Glenbow’s fantastically diverse collections to deepen their understanding of the world around them.

Open Minds is an innovative, award-winning learning program that provides a hands-on, out-of-classroom experience for students, focusing on observation, writing and critical-thinking skills. By stepping out of the classroom for a week of learning, students are able to slow down, develop critical thinking skills and build confidence. Chevron supports four Open Minds sites in Alberta and one in Newfoundland and Labrador.