Student Museum Musings – Andrea

By Andrea, Durham College LIT Student

For three Thursdays in November, I have been job-shadowing Jennifer, the Archivist.  My name is Andrea and I am a First Year Library and Information Technician student from Durham College.  The program also teaches about archives –which is the area I would very much like to get in to once I graduate.  I love history and being at the archives has been wonderful and insightful.  Seeing documents and photographs from 100+ years ago is such a unique experience, imagining what the people in the photographs were thinking, how they conducted themselves, and how they lived in the community.

I’ve lived in Oshawa for 20 years and having the opportunity to learn the origin of the city provides me with a better understanding of where I grew up.  I’ve learned some facts about Oshawa I never would have known had I not had this job-shadow opportunity.  Have you driven down Thornton Rd?  It was named after the first Presbyterian minister in Oshawa.  How about Ritson Rd? It was named for the area where the first teacher in Oshawa lived –John Ritson.  Learning the histories of our communities connects us to those who came before; they were the people who helped shape the cities we now know.

While at the archives, I have digitized the 1869 Ontario County Directory which has been incredible.  It is an original copy, weathered and discoloured filled with lists of people who lived in all different areas in the province at the time.

Well known personalities are great to learn about, but learning about the average farmer, blacksmith, or teacher is even more insightful because it’s the average everyday that we all live.  I am very thankful to have had my job-shadow at the Oshawa Museum’s archives, it’s a great environment, everyone is friendly and helpful, and I am very grateful for what they have taught me, I have learned a lot.

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