How we absorb history and how much we absorb is dependent in no small measure on how that history is presented. It can die on the printed page due to poor presentation.But it can also be brought fully to life by those who know how to engage us and inspire us to fully immerse ourselves in the story.
Fiona Steele, the writer, producer, and host of the hidden island podcast, has spent five years working in museums across Prince Edward Island. She grew up surrounded by friends and family who believe that history is boring. But she believes history is always fascinating if presented in the right way, to the right people. And she has done just that.
Through the hidden island, she has assisted in implementing education programming at museum sites for more than 150 school children. She was also a digital storyteller for Island Digital Voices, an oral history project featuring prominent Islanders, and has served as a photographer/videographer for museum events. As part of her studies at UPEI, where she was in the second and final year of a Master of Arts degree in Island Studies, she wrote a thesis on how storytelling in podcasts can develop sustainable tourism on islands. As an interpreter/guide for the Bedeque Area Historical Museum, she planned and managed the museum’s social media, researched and developed upcoming museum exhibits, and offered tours to museum visitors. As a museum interpreter and programming coordinator assistant for Culture Summerside, she helped develop and implement three carnivals/festivals, as well as advertisement campaigns to increase attendance.
For the past five years, she has devoted herself, both at work and in school, to sharing the Island’s heritage and trying to make history lovers out of everyone she connects with. Steele believes that stories are how we connect with each other, how we share our intangible cultural heritage, and how we help ensure the past is not forgotten.
For all that she has done to share the Island’s heritage, Fiona Steele has been chosen to receive the Boyde Beck Memorial Bursary.