Don't Read This If You're a Woodpecker: The Scrapbook Paintings @ Niagara Falls Museums

Niagara Falls, ON, November 15, 2016 - As part of the Niagara Falls Museums’ continuing effort to provide access to history in diverse and thought-provoking ways, their latest exhibit, Don’t Read This If You’re A Woodpecker: The Scrapbook Paintings, opens in the Ontario Power Generation Gallery of the Niagara Falls History Museum on Saturday, December 3, 2016.

This exhibition explores the theme of scrapbooks. With almost 100 scrapbooks in the Niagara Falls Museums’ inventory, this unique group of artefacts continues to foster public fascination. Many of the scrapbooks in the Museums’ collection read as visual biographies, often containing locks of hair, photographs, newspaper clippings, flowers and letters, all carefully chosen to document meaningful moments in personal or collective histories.

One day local artist Melanie MacDonald purchased a pair of scrapbooks from a nearby antique store.  The books were created in the 1930s and ‘40s, largely sourced from the American publication, Collier’s Magazine, by an unknown scrapbooker.  The images inside are vibrant reminders of mass culture of the past, divorced from their original context. These historical records contain virtually no handwriting or personal information. In this exhibition, MacDonald seeks to reimagine the scrapbook pages as large-scale paintings. “By taking the private, often trivialized and feminized hobby of scrapbooking and presenting it in ‘heroic scale,’” says MacDonald, “I celebrate the efforts of the anonymous scrap-booker and the images themselves.”

Melanie MacDonald lives in downtown St. Catharines and is an active member of the Niagara Artists Centre. She has participated in group and solo exhibitions in Niagara, Hamilton, London, Kingston, Western New York and Quebec.  Her work was selected to appear in Carte Blanche 2: Painting, Magenta Publishing’s national survey of Canadian painters. In 2009 she received a Trillium Excellence in the Arts Emerging Artist Award from the City of St. Catharines. She has been the recipient of numerous Ontario Arts Council Exhibition Assistance grants.

Don’t Read This If You’re A Woodpecker: The Scrapbook Paintings comes into pecking order from December 3, 2016 to January 15, 2017, at Niagara Falls History Museum, 5810 Ferry Street, Niagara Falls.  And if you’re a woodpecker who can read, enjoy the art show anyway.

For more information, contact:
Clark Bernat, Manager of Museums & Culture, City of Niagara Falls
Phone: 905-358-5082       Email: 

Posted on: 11/15/2016 1:38 PM - Category: Media Releases