McDougall Cottage Historic Site opens exhibition, highlighting Resiliency

Posted on Monday July 25, 2022

Using the 165-year-old Cottage as a metaphor, this Cambridge gem shines light on shared personal stories of resiliency coupled with strategies for bouncing back from life’s challenges

Region of Waterloo – Yesterday, on International Self-Care Day, the Region of Waterloo’s McDougall Cottage Historic Site, in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington (CMHA WW), officially opened a new exhibition on mental health and resiliency.

Anchored in the history of the 165-year-old Cottage, located in downtown Cambridge, Resiliency: Shared Stories of Strength and Survival, is a multimedia journey of shared personal stories of resiliency and offers resources and strategies to help members of community bounce back from life’s challenges. This exhibit also represents a first step in McDougall Cottage’s future direction; to explore and embrace new and innovative ways to tell stories.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that declining mental health in the family of one of the Cottage’s former residents may have been a factor in the Cottage’s eventual state of disrepair. This encouraged Michelle Bartlett, Head of Content and Experience at McDougall to explore the idea of developing an exhibit on the topic, using the Cottage as a metaphor for Resiliency. “The Cottage has been through a lot over the years – it’s faced many challenges and it has its scars,” Bartlett explained. “But through the support of the Region, local community and the Cottage’s avid patrons, it remains an architectural gem on the banks of the Grand. It is a symbol of how, through the use of available resources and support, people can also become resilient in the face of life’s challenges.”

“I am grateful to be here today to celebrate International Self-Care Day by officially opening the Resiliency exhibit. We know that prioritizing self-care can build resiliency, a skill that helps us bounce back when we are faced with challenges,” said Helen Fishburn, Chief Executive Officer of The Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington. “The amazing individuals showcased in this exhibit have courageously shared their stories of strength and survival to help others. I encourage all to visit the exhibit to experience and participate in the virtual and in-person programs offered in partnership with CMHA-WW to support mental health and well-being – I know you will be inspired.”

Through partnerships with local organizations like CMHA WW and others, programming will be offered on topics such as mindfulness, self-care and many more. “We want the community to know that there are options when building one's resiliency, but it's not a one size fits all solution. We hope some of our programming and stories will give people a chance to explore what works for them."

Resiliency: Shared Stories of Strength and Survival is now open at McDougall Cottage.

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