• Gallery 1C03

    September 7 – November 10, 2023
    1st Floor, Centennial Hall
    515 Portage Avenue
    University of Winnipeg

  • UM Archives & Special Collections

    September 21, 2023 – April 21, 2024
    330 Elizabeth Dafoe Library
    25 Chancellor’s Circle
    University of Manitoba

  • School of Art Gallery

    September 21 – November 10, 2023 
    255 ARTlab
    180 Dafoe Road
    University of Manitoba 

A black and white hand dissolves into plumbing smoke on a black background

Co-presented by The University of Winnipeg’s Gallery 1C03, University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections, and the School of Art Gallery, University of Manitoba

One hundred years ago, renowned author and Spiritualist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle arrived in Winnipeg to give an illustrated lecture on the possibility of communicating with ghosts and spirits.  In the audience that night were the Winnipeg physician Thomas Glendenning Hamilton, and his wife, Lillian Hamilton, a trained nurse. The Hamiltons went on to carry out hundreds of controlled séance experiments in a séance laboratory, investigating the invisible ‘psychic’ force that they believed was evidence of personalities surviving corporeal death. These experiments resulted in a series of captivating black and white photographs which form the core of this exhibition. The Undead Archive and the accompanying anthology, The Art of Ectoplasm, contextualize the photographs from an art historical point of view, revealing attitudes to science and religion after World War I and the 1919 pandemic.

Dr. Hamilton was a leader in psychical research during the 1930s, and his photographs were received in some international circles as scientific evidence of life after death. These uncanny images of ectoplasm had a second wave of recognition in the early 2000s after they were digitized and made available online. A large-scale, multi-site exhibition featuring photographs, séance-related archival manuscripts, and alternative scientific documents from the Hamilton Family Fonds, alongside a host of contemporary artworks in a variety of media, The Undead Archive highlights how contemporary artists from Winnipeg and around the world have responded to these photographs.

The Undead Archive is presented with the generous support of the Manitoba Arts Council and draws on  draws on research and student training supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.


With historical photographs and documents from the Hamilton Family Fonds, housed at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections and the Survival Research Institute of Canada.

Visual description of artworks available.

Opening Reception and Bus Tour

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Celebrate the opening of The Undead Archive at this one-night, three-part reception, starting at Gallery 1C03.

Need a ride? There will be a free bus transporting guests between venues. The bus will leave the University of Winnipeg’s Gallery 1C03 at 5:30 pm, delivering guests to University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections and School of Art Gallery receptions. The bus will leave the School of Art Gallery at 8:45 pm, returning guests to the University of Winnipeg. First-come, first-served.

Adjunct programming

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School of Art Gallery
255 ARTlab
180 Dafoe Road
University of Manitoba (Fort Garry campus)
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2

Monday-Friday, 9:00 am-5:00 pm
CLOSED all statutory holidays