Where are the Children?


Developed in 2001, the goals of Where are the Children? Healing the Legacy of the Residential Schools are to: acknowledge the experiences of, and the impacts and consequences of Canada’s Residential School System on Aboriginal peoples; to create a public and historical record of this period in Canadian history that could be easily accessed by Canadians; and to promote public awareness, understanding and education of the history and legacy of residential schools. Through documentation, acknowledgment and education, the goal of the exhibition is also to assist in promoting understanding and reconciliation in Canada about residential schools.   

The exhibition consists of 118 framed archival photographs, text panels, maps, original classroom textbooks and historical government papers selected from nine public and church archives, and depicts the history and legacy of Canada’s Residential School System.  Where are the Children? spans over 125 years and contains photographs and documents from the 1880s to present day. 

The exhibition depicts the life of Aboriginal peoples before, during and after residential schools.  Photographs, text panels and artifacts move visitors through the experience of residential school, from leaving home and arriving at residential school, to school activities and being part of a classroom.  A section on the children who never returned home as well as on contemporary role models provides visitors with the range of experiences of attending residential school.   

The Where Are the Children? exhibition does not attempt to tell the whole story about residential schools; rather, it introduces people to a part of Canadian history by encouraging children to ask, and parents to answer, important questions about their family histories which will contribute to healing for Aboriginal communities.  


About the Curator

 Jeff Thomas is a member of the Six Nations Reserve and currently resides in Ottawa, where he works as a photo-based artist and independent curator. Thomas explores relationships between the Aboriginal past and present through historical photographs and paintings depicting Aboriginal people His curatorial projects have taken place at the National Archives of Canada, The Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Archives of Ontario and George Eastman House in Rochester, New York.


Website, App, Publications, Images, Video

To visit the Where are the Children? website, click here. 


To download the app (to hear commentary from curator Jeff Thomas and view content such as video, images, and text) click here. 

Visit our homepage to download the Where are the Children? catalogue. 
To see archival images from the exhibition, click here.
To watch the exhibition video, click here.

Request the Exhibition

Want to know more about borrowing this exhibition? Download the booklet below, or contact our Exhibition Manager for more information.

WATC Prospectus


Previous venues:

Red Deer College – Red Deer, AB (June 2013)
First Nations University of Canada – Regina, SK (January - February 2013)
Algoma University - Sault Ste Marie, ON (August 2012)
University of Manitoba – Winnipeg, MB (February - March 2012)
Dalhousie University Law School – Halifax, NS (October - November 2011)
Cape Breton University Art Gallery – Sydney, NS (May - September 2011)
Glooscap Heritage Centre – Millbrook, NS (March 2011)
The Forks – Winnipeg, MB (June 2010)
Tom Thomson Gallery – Owen Sound, ON (March 2009)
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation – Toronto, ON (June 2008)
Parliament Hill – Ottawa, ON (June 2008)
The Exploration Place Science Centre and Museum – Prince George, BC (September - December 2007)
Danaoja Zho Cultural Centre – Dawson City, YT (May - August 2007)
Southern Alberta Art Gallery – Lethbridge, AB (March - April 2007)
Campbell River Museum– Campbell River, BC (September - December 2006)
Algoma University College – Sault Ste. Marie, ON (May - August 2006)
Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre – Red Lake, ON (January - April 2006)
Woodlands Cultural Centre – Brantford, ON (September 2005 - January 2006)
Multicultural Association of Northwestern Ontario – Thunder Bay, ON (March - August 2005)
The Manitoba Museum – Winnipeg, MB (January - March 2005)
Museum of New Brunswick– Saint John, NB (October - December 2004)
Alberta Provincial Museum – Edmonton, AB (May - September 2004)
Yellowknife Legislative Building and Sir Franklin High School – Yellowknife, NT (September 2003 - January 2004)
Wanuskewin Heritage Park – Saskatoon, SK (February - August 2003)
University of British Columbia – Vancouver, BC (July - December 2002)