The Board of Directors of Marie Dressler Foundation is pleased to announce plans to build a new museum named “Canada’s Women Film Pioneers” to be located inside Marie Dressler House, Cobourg, Ontario.
“In the first four years of the Oscars, the Best Actress Award was given to three Canadian actresses who found their way to Hollywood – Mary Pickford, Norma Shearer, and Marie Dressler”, said Rick Miller, President & Chair of Marie Dressler Foundation.
“This is a glorious history for young Canadian women to learn about because these women pioneers were also producers, studio founders, and very savvy businesswomen who achieved unheard of prestige and rank in an age where very few women ever attained any positions of power”, added Miller. “These women were the power in Hollywood, a feat never seen again.”
The Foundation’s valued partnerships include Mary Pickford Foundation, Darin Barnes (NormaShearer.com) and the Film Reference Library at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) who will each provide generous in-kind donations of content for the new museum.
Debra Kwinter, Director, TIFF’s “Share Her Journey” program, recounts how TIFF’s program reflects on the achievements of Canada’s women film pioneers and asks the important question, “If these women could do it then, how can we help women to do it now?” TIFF’s program backs that up with funding for women filmmakers to create the opportunities to grow their presence in front of and behind the cameras with the goal of achieving the same strong voice in the industry as the early pioneers.
The University of Toronto Master of Museum Studies program will create the interpretive design of the new interactive museum which will feature Pickford and Shearer. “The Master of Museum Studies program was extremely pleased with our previous partnership, where our students created the interpretive plan for the Marie Dressler Museum“, stated Professor Cara Krmpotich, Director, Museum Studies program, “and we look forward to continuing our partnership for this new, expanded museum.”
The Foundation has partnered with the Town of Cobourg in a cost-sharing arrangement for the use of Marie Dressler House on a long-term basis for the new museum. Mayor John Henderson stated, “We are excited about this new cultural asset for Cobourg’s residents and look forward to having another engaging attraction for visitors to Experience Cobourg”.
“Canada’s Women Film Pioneers Museum will be unique.”, added Miller, “While featuring Mary Pickford, Norma Shearer and Marie Dressler, there will be significant online content highlighting the presence of women in the film industry and research into other Canadian women’s contribution to the film industry.”