Conserving Canada's Science and Technology Collection at the Ingenium Centre

March 4, 2022


The Ingenium Centre, located next to the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa, is a new, state-of-the-art facility designed to protect and showcase Canada’s national science and technology collection of historical objects and documents from Canada’s three museums of science and innovation: the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, and the aforementioned Science and Technology Museum. The nearly 36,000-square-meter Ingenium Centre relieved the overcapacity storage situation that these museums’ warehouses faced for years.

Home to thousands of artifacts, the Ingenium Centre also features a modern library and archives on the first floor, which is open to the public upon appointment. The rest of the building offers purpose-built storage for artifacts, a research institute, conservation laboratories, a digital innovation lab, conference rooms, a resource centre, and much more. Entro worked closely with Diamond Schmitt Architects to develop a signage system that complements the architectural intentions.

Since Ingenium is a collaborative space for three distinct Canadian museums, the Ingenium Centre’s façade features green, red, and blue — the three colours of the Ingenium logo. Entro used this colour scheme in our signage, bringing the branding indoors. Painted acrylic signs feature a vertical pattern that echoes the exterior of the building to create a sense of unity and cohesion throughout the building. As required by the National Capital Commission, all of our signage features both official languages.

The Centre presented some challenges, namely its vast size. Although the Centre only contains four floors, it stands nearly as tall as a ten-storey building so it can accommodate large and irregularly-shaped artifacts, including vintage cars, bicycles, tractors, and a 1201 Locomotive, which is 23 metres (75 feet) long and weighs 185 tonnes (410,000 pounds). The collection also features instruments, tools, and equipment from diverse fields of science and technology, which require specialized environments to ensure their long-term preservation. Other unique items stored at the Centre include propellers and ship models, as well as cameras, televisions, and telephones.

For a visitor to see first-hand the incredible history and evolution of Canadian technical products is a delight for the eyes and an experience of lived history and ingenuity. Find out more about the Ingenium Centre here.

Photography: doublespace photography