By Melissa Cole, Curator
Since 1957 our collection has grown in ways that may surprise the average visitor. With more than 50 000 objects and archival records, our collection is vast and unsurpassed in its diversity and size in the City. Celebrating our first 60 years, the OM will feature objects with the richest stories to tell, from our 1837 Rebellion Box to our largest artefacts, the historic homes.
As a homage to our own history, we are presenting this exhibition as an interpretation of the cabinet of curiosity. Given our curious natures and innate desire to collect, it is no wonder that the modern museum has its roots planted in the privately owned collections of extraordinary objects from the past. These collections, called cabinets of curiosity, first became popular in the Renaissance and reached their peak of popularity in the Victorian Era. Amateur and professional scientists kept their most prize specimens hidden away, until the elite members of society began to seek them out and placed in ornate display cases for all to see. Some of these collections filled entire rooms.
Our exhibition, Celebrating 60: Sixty Years of Collecting features rarely seen, a few odd and curious objects drawn from the Oshawa Museum’s collection. Deciding which artefacts to display was not an easy task, with assistance from museum staff members who shared their favourite artefacts and we asked Oshawa Historical Society members to assist us in choosing a quilt to display in the exhibition. Visitors will have the unique opportunity to peruse various objects and documents of curiosity and wonder, up close and in a personal way.
This exhibition is dedicated to the OM’s past Curators, not only for the artefacts they helped to collect but for the stories and material culture they helped to preserve for future generations.
Join us at the Oshawa Museum in celebrating our first 60 years.