An Introduction to the IRSHDC Self-Guided Tour

Earlier this year, we launched our Self-Guided Tour Manual. This is a tool to help you navigate the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre and learn about our work and collections. You can visit us anytime our gallery is open and take a self-guided tour!

Read on to find out more about what’s on our self-guided tour and how to take a tour on your own.

What’s on the tour?

The tour will introduce you to the building itself as well as the work we do here at IRSHDC. You’ll begin the tour at the front of the building, where you’ll learn about all the elements of design that went into creating our space. Many elements that are important to Coast Salish culture can be found in and around the building, from copper to cedar.

When you are ready, you will travel down to our gallery space, where you’ll be introduced to our collection and how to access and learn about Residential School records and Survivor testimony. You’ll find instructions for how to operate our Interactive Wall, as well as other methods for accessing information within the space.

Where do I find the self-guided tour manuals?

You can access either a print or digital version of our tour manual. If you’d like a print version of the manual, you can find them at the front desk outside of our gallery during open hours – please ask a staff member for help if you need it!

If you’d like to access a digital version of the manual that you can read on your phone, you can find a PDF copy here on our website. There is also a QR code that you can scan at the front desk outside of the gallery. This will bring up the same PDF, which you can then use to guide you on your tour.

What if I have questions during my self-guided tour?

IRSHDC staff are happy to help you with any questions you might have while you are on your tour. During the hours that the gallery is open, we will always have a docent on shift at the front desk. They are on hand to welcome you and to assist you with any questions on further resources or how to operate the various features within the gallery.

What should I do after I take a self-guided tour?

Remember to take time to process the information you’ve learned on your tour. You will be interacting with materials that contain distressing details. If you find yourself experiencing strong emotions, know that this is normal and take the time you need to reflect. IRSHDC has several spaces where you can take a break, whether it be just outside the gallery itself or out in the courtyard where you can have some fresh air. Find further wellness resources on our website.

Once you have processed the initial information you received on the tour, consider what you would like to do with the things you have learned. You may identify a need for further education, in which case you can continue reading through our Collection, sign up for our newsletter, or continue finding resources in whichever way feels best to you. It is important to witness and educate ourselves on the ongoing impacts of the Residential School system on Survivors and Intergenerational Survivors. It is also important that this learning is shared and allowed to grow. Continue on your own learning journey, and think about how you can share what you learned with your own community.