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?
My name is Lisa Terech and I am the Community Engagement co-ordinator at the Oshawa Museum. With my job, I wear many hats! On any given day, I could be co-ordinating our youth volunteers and looking for various youth engagement opportunities at the museum, exploring partnership opportunities with groups in and around Oshawa, assisting with various museum programming and outreach, and coordinating the Oshawa Historical Society membership. As well, I manage the social media presence for the museum.
Why did you choose this career?
I’ve always loved history and I always knew I wanted to do something involved with history, not just with the skills you learn while taking a history degree in university. However, I knew that I didn’t want to be a teacher. When I found the museums studies program, I thought it was a great way to marry having a career with what I actually love. Now that I’m in the field, I knew it was the best choice for me. I can honestly say that I love my job.
What is your favourite part of your job?
Working with the people. I’m in a unique position where I get to meet new people every day because we have new people coming through the doors of the museum every day. There’s also the people I get to see more often, for example the members of the society or our various volunteers. People who know me know that I’m a people person, and my role here allows me to interact with different people from our community and beyond. I also enjoy when I get the chance to engage with different audiences through social media, whether it’s co-ordinating the blog, tweeting or posting pictures through Instagram. It’s a fun way to introduce the museum to people who may not have the chance to visit or who may not have known about us otherwise.
What do you find to be the most challenging part of your job?
Some of the research. I still undertake a little bit of research with my job, my personal favourite research subject is the Port Oshawa Pioneer Cemetery, and every so often you hit that brick wall, and it’s a matter of pushing through or finding the patience to say, ‘you’re going on the back burner’ and working on something else. Time management can also be a bit tricky, because I often have several projects on the go!
How did you get into the Museum field?
I took History and Canadian Studies as my undergraduate degree at Wilfrid Laurier University, worked a couple years outside the field, then went back to school for Fleming College’s Museum Management and Curatorship program. What really helped me ultimately, especially here at the Museum, was volunteering. I started as a volunteer in 2007, mostly helping behind the scenes and making phone calls on behalf of the Museum from home. When I finished my program in 2010, I amped up my volunteering, and when a position opened up I think I was the first to have my resume in! Volunteering proved to be a good way of getting my name known.
What is your earliest memory of the Oshawa Museum?
I remember coming here in grade 4, for a class trip. We churned butter somewhere in the Henry House kitchen. It is really funny to me to be able to work here, somewhere that I visited in grade 4, somewhere that I have fond memories for. I remember that it was known as the Sydenham Museum at that point. An old classmate, who is now a teacher, brought her class to the Museum a few years ago for our Christmas program, and we had a good laugh reminiscing that almost 20 years later, we’re both back at the Museum for another school tour!