Explore Juno

| February 10, 2020

For the past 15 years, the Juno Beach Centre has resolutely focused on encouraging younger generations to remember. An integrated youth circuit, designed for young people visiting with their families and with school groups, provides a human and historical approach to understanding the role that Canada played during the Second World War.
On February 1, 2019, the museum reopened with a redesigned and modernized circuit, offering a completely new experience for families. With new interactive modules, including a digital app on tactile screens, the museum is further adapted to a young audience.

Explore Juno as a Family

Using interactive modules and touchscreens, the new “Explore Juno as a Family” circuit makes visiting as a family more engaging and accessible.
Each module enables children and teens to reflect on historic concepts addressed specifically to them. Let your children take the lead or encourage them to win “poppy points”. Interactive games tied to the permanent exhibition permit a deeper understanding of themes such as immigration, total war and dictators. Above all, the contents bring forth the experiences of men and women as well as youth who experienced the Second World War. This experiential visit encourages dialogue and critical thinking among all age-levels.
At the end of the circuit and gathered around a giant screen, tally up your points together as a family, and learn more about Canada today, its culture, geography, climate and people.

How it works
With the NFC stickers (tags) given with the admission ticket, families can register on the tactile screens in the hall of the museum or in the first room of the permanent exhibit. The tag allows them to keep track of their progress throughout the youth circuit. The modules and the digital games allow families to discover the permanent exhibit. The tactile screens in each room provides clues or answers, allowing families to discuss and obtain more information. The family experience concludes in the room “Canada Today”. Families that do not wish to use the app can fully enjoy the modules and games within the exhibit, as the youth circuit also works independently from the app. Nonetheless, by using both, visitors will have an enriched experience.


Explore Juno as a class

In the permanent exhibit, new, interactive modules and the “Explore Juno as a Class” digital app enable primary and secondary school groups and their teachers to discover the museum with a Canadian guide.
The class is divided into 6 teams of 5 students, each team with their own tablet. Across the different exhibit rooms, students are invited to learn about the role that may have been theirs during the Second World War, and to reflect on universal historical concepts tied to themes of immigration, total war or political dictators. Using their tablets, the teams are invited to answer questions and complete games (7 games for primary students and 12 games for secondary students). The Juno Beach Centre guide has a master tablet that allows him/her to follow the team’s progress, to generate dialogue/discussion, to help the teams guess the answer and to collaborate/exchange.
At the end of the exhibit, students will tally the “poppy points” earned throughout the activity on a common screen with their guide/mediator and share what they have learned with the other teams. The guide will then lead a discussion with the students about Canada today, highlighting the differences between what they learned in the exhibit about Canada during the 1930s and the Second World War, and modern Canadian society. The guide concludes on certain contemporary subjects that establish a link between Canada and today’s world, the challenges the country faces today (multiculturalism, tolerance, racism, etc.) as well as various themes, such as diversity, geography, demography and the culture of memory and commemoration.


The objectives

The objectives of this new scenography are to make the youth circuit a more interactive experience for families and school groups and to reaffirm the Juno Beach Centre’s role as an institution dedicated to families, education and learning.
The new circuit contains digital tools/technologies to ensure a pedagogical experience made for today’s youth. The use of interactive and innovative digital technology enables a learning experience centred around critical thinking. This is a shift from a more traditional approach taken by museums, in which technology is simply used to add to the existing content.
Youth can also interact with the new modules, which are less static and less repetitive, and introduce a variety of interactive options: debating and deciding, selecting, turning, lifting and guessing, making mistakes, comparing, associating notions and ideas with historical facts and photographs. Complex historical themes and notions are thereby made comprehensible and accessible to youth. Clear language allows parents, children, teachers and guides to easily generate dialogue. By illustrating appropriate comparisons, differences and similarities with today’s world as children and teenagers know it, the historical content is more adapted and relevant to a younger audience.

  • An immersive experience encouraging children and families to interactively engage with and think critically about the themes and content
  • Visitors can interact with the content by manipulating modules, answering questions, etc.
  • Make the content “digestible” for young people, by relating the experiences of children during the Second World War era to the experiences of children today
  • An identifiable graphic design which appeals to youth today and seamlessly integrates into the existing scenography
  • Emphasize the human experience, and the contributions of civilians and children, to make complex notions of war more relatable
  • Universal themes are used to convey complex wartime notions

Key Themes 

  • Immigration
    The reality and hardships of the immigration experience during the 1930s, in contrast to what was advertised. Understand that immigration policies were often tied to economic factors (the Great Depression) and discriminatory and prejudicial attitudes of the day.
  • The Economic Depression
    The hardships that children encountered as a result of the economic depression and how the situation has improved today.
  • Political Autonomy
    Understand how and why Canada declared war as an independent country (political autonomy gained after the First World War). The “Red Ensign” which shows Canada’s founding nations (and excludes Indigenous peoples).
  • The Second World War: How and Why? (“When the people are hungry, democracy is in danger.”)
    The broader impact of war on civilian populations.
  • British children
    The concept and consequences of civilian bombing and evacuation; the dangers that children faced.
  • Dictatorships and Democracies
    Distinguish the policies and ideologies of various political leaders in power during the Second World War and identify where these leaders fit on the political spectrum as either democratic or dictatorial or as having swayed between one camp and the other.
  • Human experiences and technical aspects compared
    While the war was fought using different machines of war, humans were operating them. Comparing war machines of the 3 forces with an object from today for scale and relatability.
  • Children’s experiences (recycling, fundraising, volunteering)
    The different, even small, wartime actions undertaken by young people, made significant contributions to Canada’s larger war effort. The notion of total war and war economies are evoked in a way that is comprehensible for children today.
  • Being a soldier, being a nurse
    The artefacts and diagrams further illustrate the realities of war at the human level, and the every-day experiences, particularly for soldiers.
  • Return to civilian life
    A universal concept of missing and welcoming home a loved one, highlighting the civilian (family) impact of war in a relatable way. Statistics related to veterans’ rights and post-war life, showing the support that veterans received and some of the challenges they faced.
  • Canada today
    Make connections between Canada during the war and Canada today through present-day media articles discussing different themes as a point of comparison, and a questionnaire designed to demystify certain notions that visitors may have about Canada’s size, climate and population.

Digital Technology


The Family App
This app combines tactile screens and NFC tags (or NFC stickers), which are used by families to identify themselves on each tactile screen throughout the visit.
In order to ensure an innovative and convivial navigation of the new digital circuit “Explore Juno as a Family”, the Juno Beach Centre chose to use NFC tag technology, a sticker that contains a chip, which is placed on the admission ticket for each family.
Families can then scan their ticket on the screen in the hall or in the first room of the exhibit and register by inputting basic information and creating an account they will have access to throughout the museum. The sticker keeps track of this unique information and becomes the tool that families use to follow their progress and activities in an interactive way throughout their visit. They only need to scan their NFC tags on each of the digital screens to see their family “account” appear.
The NFC tags allow families to easily and independently navigate and to interact with the new digital circuit without using their own mobile devices.
For more information on the NFC tags, click on the following link: http://www.unitag.io/fr/nfc/what-is-nfc

The App for School Groups
This app for both primary and secondary groups functions with Wivi technology which allows access to the museum’s content without downloading. The students’ digital tablets and the guide’s master tablet are necessary for the experience, as well as a giant tactile screen which is used for the concluding discussion at the end of the visit.
For more information on Wivi, visit: https://wivi.io/



Dispatches from Juno shares all the news, events, and stories from the Juno Beach Centre in France and Canada. Interested in contributing a story to the blog? Email the editor at jbca@junobeach.org.

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