Fifteen local cultural heritage sites will participate in Doors Open Kingston next week.
The event opens up cultural heritage and built heritage spaces in the city for free, and is part of a larger network of Doors Open Ontario events across the province.
In 2019, Kingston was not a part of the Doors Open, but last year it returned and due to lower-than-average COVID cases in the area, it was able to host the only in-person event in the province.
Kingston Museum Association CEO Jamie McKenzie-Naish says that as a city with such a rich cultural history, it was great to have the event back, and celebrating it in person is much better than virtually.
She says last year’s event went extremely well and they are confident that this year it will too.
“We all want to get back involved and spend time together in our communities,” McKenzie-Naish said.
“We felt that with strict adherence to health and safety standards and COVID regulations we could do it successfully, and we did!”
The event has had to change from its pre-presentation format to a registration-based system.
McKenzie-Naish says the measures for the event’s success have changed radically with COVID, and says that in its peak year of 2017 there were 6,000 people.
Last year it had only 117 people, however the tours were 95% booked.
Fifteen sites are participating this year compared to ten in 2020, including the Bellevue House, which has not been open to the public for several years.
McKenzie-Naish says that events like this, and cultural heritage sites in general, must walk a line between respecting and honoring cultural heritage and history and being able to use them as a tourist attraction.
She says the work of museum professionals enables that to happen successfully and for people to learn more about their own history and the history of those around them.
“Our community is made up of many people from many different communities and we have differences and similarities,” says McKenzie-Naish.
“Cultural heritage is a wonderful place to explore that and learn about something that you are not familiar with.”
The Doors Open Kingston event will be held September 20-21 and September 25-26 from 10 am to 6 pm daily.
McKenzie-Naish adds that those interested in exploring other cities can access some virtual tours on the Doors Open Ontario website.
You can find the registration for Doors Open and a list of participating sites. here.