Into the Light: Eugenics and Education in Southern Ontario

Thin white text on a black background reads: Coming September 14, 2019 to March 1, 2020 Bodies in Translation and the Guelph Civic Museum present: Into the Light: Eugenics and Education in Southern Ontario Guelph Civic Museum 52 Norfolk St, Guelph. Curated by: Mona Stonefish, Peter Park, Dolleen Tisawii'ashii Manning, Evadne Kelly, Seika Boye and Sky Stonefish

We invite you and your students to Into the Light: Eugenics and Education in Southern OntarioThe exhibition will be featured at the Guelph Civic Museum from September 14, 2019 to March 1, 2020 and will offer guided tours and Q&A sessions to professors and courses addressing themes of diversity, inclusion, decolonization and reconciliation. You can book these in advance (details below) with the exhibition’s lead researcher Dr. Evadne Kelly, Post-doctoral Fellow at Re•Vision: The Centre for Art and Social Justice, University of Guelph, co-creator and co-curator of Into the Light, and Dawn Owen, Curator of Guelph Museums.

Museum Hours of operation are Tuesday – Sunday 10AM-5PM and Fourth Fridays of each month until 9PM. Admission is $6.00/person, and free on Fourth Fridays from 5PM-9PM.

Exhibition Overview

Into the Light examines local histories and ongoing legacies of racial “betterment” thinking in Southern Ontario that de-humanized and disappeared those who did not fit the normative middle-class lives of white, able-bodied settlers.

In the early to mid 20th century, eugenics (race improvement through heredity) was taught in a number of universities throughout Southern Ontario, including Macdonald Institute and the Ontario Agricultural College, two of the three founding colleges that formed the University of Guelph. Educational institutions played a significant role in the eugenics movement by perpetuating destructive ideas that targeted Indigenous, Black, and other racialized populations, poor, and disabled people for segregation in institutions, cultural assimilation and sterilization.

While eugenics sought to eradicate those deemed as “unfit,” this exhibition centres the voices of members of affected communities who continue to work to prevent institutional brutality, oppose colonialism, reject ableism, and foster social justice.

Into the Light is co-curated by Mona Stonefish, Peter Park, Dolleen Tisawii’ashii Manning, Evadne Kelly, Seika Boye and Sky Stonefish. This exhibition of artistic, sensory, and material expressions of memory aims to bring one of Guelph’s dark secrets, as well as stories of survival, out of the shadows and into the light.

Into the Light: Eugenics and Education in Southern Ontario is co-presented by Guelph Museums and Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology and Access to Life at Re•Vision: The Centre for Art and Social Justice, University of Guelph.

Guided Tours and Q&A sessions

Guided tours and/or Question and Answer sessions with Dr. Evadne Kelly, Post-doctoral Fellow at Re•Vision: The Centre for Art and Social Justice, University of Guelph, Into the Light co-creator and co-curator, are available most Mondays and Thursdays by request. Guided tours with Dawn Owen, Curator of Guelph Museums may be available on other days by request. Tours and Q&A sessions are approximately 1-hour long however this timeframe can be adapted for your group. Please contact Museum Bookings at to make arrangements in advance of your group visit to the exhibition and visit the Guelph Civic Museum Education Program page for more information on booking group tours.

Further Teaching and Learning Opportunities

Into the Light has great pedagogical value and potential for social justice-oriented faculty and students and content from the exhibition may be integrated into courses for both Fall 2019 and/or Winter 2020 terms. The exhibitionextends to studies in disability, decolonizing, social and political dimensions of bodies, difference, sexuality, archives,history of sociology, psychology and anthropology, history of public health, education, and domestic science,Canadian history and the history of science, race and racism, equity, human rights law and policy, and more.

Into the Light Public Events at the Civic Museum

  • Into the Light Opening Celebration

Friday, September 27, 2019 – 6PM – Free admission

Remarks, performances and reception. All galleries will be open.

  • In Conversation: Eugenics Retold

Saturday, October 26 – 2 PM – Civic Museum – Free admission

A conversation among eugenics activists and Into the Light co-creators and co-curators Mona Stonefish, Peter Park, Dolleen Tisawii’ashii Manning, Evadne Kelly, Seika Boye and Sky Stonefish, who work to prevent institutional brutality, colonialism, ableism, and social injustice. The conversation event will have ASL Interpretation and CART Live Captioning.

Access Information

  • For more access information and a visual story please see the Into the Light Access Guide available digitally and in print from Bodies in Translation at and the Guelph Civic Museum.
  • Into the Light is a multi-sensory exhibition. The content of the exhibition can, to varying degrees, be accessed through smell, sound, touch, and sight.
  • Captioning and Transcripts: There will be captioning and/or transcripts for all audio media in the exhibition. These captions will be visible on or next to the media.
  • There will be narrative audio descriptions provided. Headsets are available throughout the exhibition.
  • There will be a relaxing space available on the second floor of the museum. There will be comfortable chairs in the space.
  • Please help us make this space as scent-free as possible by avoiding wearing scented body products and laundry detergents.
  • There is an all-gender accessible washroom on the main floor of the museum.
  • There is an elevator to get to all floors of the building, and the museum is wheelchair accessible.
  • There is free wi-fi and free parking.
  • American Sign Language (ASL): There will be ASL interpreters at the conversation with co-curators on October 26, 2019. The interpreters will be wearing a badge that says “ASL Interpreter.”
  • Communications Access Real Time Translation (CART): There will be CART live captions at the conversation with co-curators on October 26, 2019. The live captions will be projected.

Links and Social Media

Into the Light on Facebook

Guelph Museums

Re•Vision: The Centre for Art and Social Justice

Bodies in Translation: Activist Art Technology & Access to Life

Bodies in Translation on Social Media: FacebookTwitterInstagram