Innovative ideas will be required to tackle the serious societal challenges the world is facing. Through multi-generational educational and entertaining programming – from stand-out exhibitions, to immersive, hands-on workshops aimed at youth engagement – Ingenium is taking its role as a catalyst for inspiring creative minds seriously.

Composed of three national museums in Ottawa that welcome approximately 750,000 on-site visitors annually in family-oriented environments, Ingenium is ready to harness its many platforms to push the dialogue on key issues of our time.

With a presence that runs across the country and online, Ingenium and its museums – the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, and the Canada Science and Technology Museum – offer new insights on contemporary challenges through specialized programming that captures the minds of our next generation of innovators.

Ingenium museums are making waves

Drawing in hundreds of thousands of visitors, Ingenium is uniquely positioned to tap into the curious minds of Canadians in order to push the needle forward when it comes to addressing collective issues with global impacts.

Ingenium is hoping to make waves across the country with its latest programming to reinforce the vital link between science and the wellbeing of society.

Guided by the UN’s sustainable development goals, clean water is center stage this spring at Ingenium.

But how best to call attention to complex issues in a way that assures engagement, reflection, and inspires meaningful action? By doing what Ingenium does best – leveraging play and discovery to take audiences on an experiential journey as entertaining as it is thought-provoking.

Pushing the dialogue: Oh Crap! Rethinking Human Waste

Ingenium is putting clean water and sanitation in the spotlight with a new blockbuster exhibition, Oh Crap! Rethinking Human Waste, coming to Ingenium’s Canada Science and Technology Museum in

Oh Crap! Rethinking Human Waste invites visitors to challenge their preconceptions and discover every facet of one of the world’s most misunderstood, limitless resources – human waste. Visitors of all ages will have opportunities to better understand the impact of inequalities in communities across Canada and the world, and the changes they can adopt that can help with access to clean water, and waste management.

Musée de la civilisation du Québec
Photo: Musée de la civilisation du Québec

Following its debut in Quebec City, an evaluation conducted both within the exhibition and afterwards revealed that 84% of visitors felt that the exhibition had a positive impact on their perceptions and actions.

With its audacious, fun, and engaging approach to an important topic with global impacts, the exhibition begs the question, “Does human waste have to be wasted?”, and invites museum-goers to gain new insight on the importance of this universal organic matter.

Both serious and playful, it explores every facet of human waste through the lens of microbiology, anatomy, history, and culture, as well as art, engineering and the environment. Above all, the exhibition provides an overview of the reality in countries facing urgent health crises from water pollution by fecal matter, unequal access to toilets and other pressing environmental challenges.

“Our bio waste is an incredibly valuable resource that can serve to teaches us about science, medicine, culture, innovation and the environment. It is also a powerful window for understanding clean water and sanitation – one of the great societal challenges of our time. Addressing the inequalities surrounding access to the most basic, safe water conditions is a problem that calls for a huge amount of public awareness. Understanding the complexities of the issue – from all angles – is a first step in tackling this issue in hopes of imagining a more sustainable future for our planet. The Oh Crap! exhibition points to this crucial need for awareness in an educational and accessible way.” – David Pantalony, Curator, Science and Medicine at Ingenium – Canada’s Museums of Science and Innovation

Fostering Innovation: The Ingenium Innovation Challenge

This spring, Ingenium is tapping into the creativity of young Canadians in order to help encourage action about clean water and sanitation.

Currently over half the world’s population does not have access to safe sanitation facilities, causing unnecessary disease and death. In Canada, ensuring sustainable management of water and sanitation services is critical and requires meaningful action, unconventional thinking and bold courage.

That’s where the Ingenium’s Innovation Challenge comes in.

For its second edition, the Ingenium’s Innovation Challenge is taking place May 3-5, 2024, bringing together young adults early in their career aged 18-35 from all over the country to build a digital prototype to help inspire positive solutions around clean water and sanitation.

The objective of the challenge simple, but the issue that needs tackling is anything but.

This year, participants are asked to design a digital product that will bring to light the disparities many communities face around clean water and sanitation – in Canada, and globally. The product should be designed to enable young Canadians aged 9-12 (grades 4-7) to better understand how their actions affect wastewater systems, and help them find ways to contribute to sustainable water and sanitation habits, leading to positive action.

Day 2 of the 2023 Innovation challenge; Photos of all the different teams working on their designs; Mentors, judges and guest speakers sharing their knowledge with them.
Day 2 of the 2023 Innovation Challenge; Photos of teams working on their designs; Mentors, judges and guest speakers sharing their knowledge with them.

With registration running from late February through April, participants will need to round up into teams and think up innovative ways to inspire action that leads to meaningful change. Over the course of the weekend, selected teams will draw inspiration from Ingenium’s extensive collection of artifacts and archives that speak to Canada’s instrumental legacy of science and innovation, workshops led by experts, and one-on-one guidance from industry professionals. Participants will have the opportunity to learn new skills, network with private and public sector professionals, and showcase their talent in front of a national audience and prospective employers.

The winning team will be awarded a financial prize in addition to a grant, in-kind funding, and mentorship guidance for the development of their proof-of-concept prototype into a marketable product for use by the general public.

With ongoing opportunities to expand, the results should serve to support our future generations in learning the role innovation plays in shaping our shared future.

Through participatory engagement opportunities launching this spring, Ingenium hopes to make more than a drop in the bucket in raising awareness and changing public perceptions around the impact of clean water and sanitation. As public institutions, museums have a unique platform to spark reflection among its participants on significant environmental and social issues we must collectively tackle in hopes of imagining a more sustainable and equitable future.

To learn about Ingenium’s work in educational programming, visit



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