Meet the Museum: Jillian Passmore, Visitor Experience Coordinator

The focus of this blog series is the staff of the Oshawa Museum and their role at the site.  What does it mean to the archivist or curator at a community museum?  What goes on behind the scenes in the Programming office?  What is our Executive Director’s favourite memory of the Museum? 

Join us and see what happens behind the doors of Guy House.

What do you do at the Oshawa Museum?

Currently I am the Visitor Experience Coordinator for the Museum.  I am responsible for keeping everyone at the Museum happy! I schedule events and school bookings, I get to facilitate programs and teach people of all ages about the history of Oshawa. I began my career at the Museum as an Interpreter (what we now call Visitor Hosts). I gave tours en masse. Next I was the Public Programs Coordinator. Under this title I developed and created many programs for March Break, summer and Birthday Parties before settling into the role of VEC in 2007.

Jill leading a birthday party, one of the many programs she has developed for the Oshawa Museum
Jill leading a birthday party, one of the many programs she has developed for the Oshawa Museum

Why did you choose this career?

From a very early age, I always knew I wanted to work at a museum. I grew up travelling to Annapolis, Maryland and Washington D.C. My parents instilled a love and respect for history for me and my siblings.  I have vivid memories of touring the various Smithsonian museums and monuments from throughout the area.

In high school I took as many history courses as I could and majored in history and classical studies at Brock University. Most people assumed that I wanted to become a teacher, but I assured them that I would be working in a museum. To say that I love history is an understatement.

Immediately after graduation in late summer of 2002 I noticed an ad from the Oshawa Museum seeking historical interpreters. The rest is history!


What is your favourite part of your job?

My favourite part of my job is teaching people about local history; teaching people that Oshawa’s has a longstanding history and that there is much more to Oshawa than just being an automotive town or a suburb.


What do you find to be the most challenging part of your job?

I find that the most challenging thing is bringing awareness of local history to teachers. So much of what is in the curriculum can be adapted to include local aspects. It’s disappointing that many teachers do not see the value in teaching local history.


What is your favourite memory of the Museum?


My favourite memory of the Museum was getting married in the schoolroom exhibit, surrounded by friends and family. My new husband and I, along with our Maid of Honour and Best Man were allowed to take photos on the top balcony of Robinson House – which is never open to the public. It made the day that much more special.

Jill & her husband (centre), on their wedding day, January 2011
Jill & her husband (centre), on their wedding day, January 2011


Do you have a favourite artifact?

For more on my favourite artifact, check out what I wrote about the Olive French Manuscript. 

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