"I Do, I Do" Opens
at the Peel Heritage Complex
Josie Premzell, Project Coordinator
Students display a
dupatta that a bride wears over her head.
"I Do, I Do", an exhibition of wedding
traditions in the Peel region of Ontario from 1850 to the present, opened at
the Peel Heritage Complex in Brampton on April 24. The initiative was the
result of a curatorial and literacy partnership between the Complex and Muslim
Community Services. Adult learners learning English as a first or second
language explored wedding traditions from various cultures. They also
contributed to all aspects of the exhibition including research, label writing,
installation, and decisions about invitations, web page design and the
The project consisted of several stages, each designed to teach
language skills, to acquaint students with museum work, such as collections
research, and to encourage them to be participants in an on going
collaboration. The project team consisted of Josie Premzell, Maureen Couse,
Diane Kuster, Rowena Cooper, Tina Daalderop and Gillian Wharton from the
Heritage Complex and from Muslim Community Services: Muneera All, Naseem
Sheikh, Nasreen Hasan, Gray Cavanagh, Seema Tanwir, Natalie Khan and Shameem
- Outreach Presentation
The Museum staff introduced the Complex, discussed with
students what they would see when they arrived, displayed hands-on artifacts
and explained the scope of the project.
The first visit to the Peel Heritage Complex was an interactive
tour of the building.
Students began by researching marriage traditions of settlers
to the Peel area between 1850 - 1920 and in their own cultures. Points of
contrast between Muslim culture and early Canadian practices included wedding
apparel, white in Canada, red, pink or green in far eastern countries. There
were also dramatic differences in the whole approach to selecting a partner. In
North American societies most marriages are regarded as love matches, whereas
in the Moslem tradition many marriages are arranged by the parents.
Students participated in a hands-on session in the Archives
using primary source material. They studied collection records, artifact
identification cards and toured the museum storage area. They also viewed the
museum collection of wedding artifacts and selected items for the exhibition.
After seeing the collection, they began to bring in their wedding dresses and
photographs to show the museum staff and discuss traditions from their
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