Student Museum Musings: Jay

By Jay R., Co-op Student

Hi everyone! It’s Jay again. Since the summer is fast approaching, my time here at the Museum is coming to an end. Over the past few months, I’ve learned some things, ranging from using Canva for videos (I never knew you could do that!) to how much of a history nerd I can be. As I’ll be in Grade 12 in the fall, I’ve often thought about my post-secondary education. One of my options is to work at a museum as a social media manager, curator, or something along those lines. The other option is for broadcasting and television, which is funny because both of the options are very different from one another!

Colour photograph of a landscape with grass, a beach and a lake
Lake Ontario and the beach

Either way, I know I’ll be sticking around even after my placement is up. I love how museums can connect with the community and positively impact someone’s day after they’ve come in for a tour or even a coffee. I’ll be doing as many of the volunteer opportunities as I can. I’ve met many people and done many things I would never have done without being here. And the staff here are excellent!

Colour photograph of a large ship's steering wheel
The steering wheel from the Helen, on display in Guy House

Over the past couple of months, I’ve done various projects, all of which I loved to do. One of my favourite projects was researching information for three schools in Oshawa, Albert St. School, Mary St. School and Westmount Public School, and writing about them. It was fascinating to read about how schools have changed over the decades, which I can relate to, especially as I’m still in high school. One thing that shocked me was that one class had a 1:75 teacher to students ratio due to overcrowding. The other thing that brightened my day has to be giving tours. When I first started my placement here, I was worried about giving tours, and now I love them. It’s always fun to inform people about things they don’t know.

One mini project for school was these SMART goals. They were something you had to accomplish by the end of your placement. Mine was to positively impact the community and museum in whatever way works, which I achieved through my tours and little timbits here and there. I’m so grateful to get the experiences I did here at the museum and meet everyone I did. I’ll miss my time here and all the little things I’d see and do daily.  

“I want to ride my bicycle”

By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement

While there are several, earlier, unverifiable claims to the bicycle invention, the earliest verifiable claim is to a German inventor in the early 1800s. This simple mode of transportation has seen evolution, adaptations, and various safety enhancements through the years.

This post is inspired by photographs in our collection that feature bicycles and, coincidentally, is published a day before World Bicycle Day on June 3. So, in the famous words of Freddy Mercury, “Get on your bikes and ride!” Enjoy the read!

From the photograph collection:

From the Lowry Lakeview Park Collection:

From the collection:

From the blog:

Profiling: Joseph Dick

By Karen A., Visitor Host Born in Jackson Township, Stark County, Ohio, on May 28th 1840, Joseph Dick was a machinist in Oshawa from 1863 util 1874, later becoming a proprietor of his own business, Dick’s Agricultural Works, located in Canton, Ohio. What’s really interesting about Joseph is his patent from 1869 for the “improvement…

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An Evening Tea at Henry House, 1867

When reading through old newspapers, mentions of familiar places and names are always exciting. The following appeared in the Oshawa Vindicator, 22 May 1867:

Social – On the afternoon of the 24th inst., a social in connection with the Ladies’ Aid Society, of the Christian Church, will be held at Elder Henry’s, Port Oshawa. Tea will be served at six p.m. A programme has been prepared for the occasion, one item of which is an essay from the pen of Mrs. P.A. Henry.

An evening spent by the lake listening to the writings of Polly Henry sounds like a lovely way to have spent and evening, almost 156 years ago.

The Campfire Blanket Legacy

By Jill Passmore, Visitor Experience Coordinator

You may have heard that the Oshawa Museum is gearing up for Be Prepared, a new feature exhibit about local Guiding and Scouting, set to open in the Fall. My family was involved in Guiding and Scouting for many years. I was involved as a child, and my children have participated in the organizations as well.

Colour photograph of a Caucasian woman, standing outside a yellow house, holding a grey blanket. The blanket has various badges sewn onto it.
Jill and her father’s campfire blanket

In previous blog posts, I’ve mentioned my family’s campfire blankets. When the Museum announced this exhibit, my father, Roland Thurn, generously donated his campfire blanket to the Museum. I spent a day or two reexamining the blanket in its glory. Dad always had more patches/badges, and better patches/badges, than we did. In true Thurn fashion, I created a spreadsheet to track what was sewn on. Since patches can be very similar, I needed to add columns as I went along. The final identifiers are type (novelty, uniform, patrol), shape, background colour, text, text colour, trim colour, organization, details, year, thread colour, and notes (See photo).

The oldest patches date back to the 1960s when Roland was a part of The Life Boys organization. The Life Boys was a Christian organization similar to Scouting. It is an offshoot of the Boys Brigade that was founded in 1883, now known as the Christian Service Brigade. The logos on each are a variation of a blue and gold life preserver and anchor with the motto, ‘Sure and Steadfast.’

Roland re-joined the Scouting movement when his son, my brother, was old enough to join Beavers. In Port Credit, Ontario, they were a part of the 5th Port Credit group. However, after only a year, the family moved to Oshawa where they joined the 24th Oshawa unit.

Side by side colour photographs. On the left is a young boy wearing a scout uniform. On the right is an older man wearing a scout uniform
Roland Thurn wearing different scouting uniforms

There are so many patches that reveal how committed the leaders in this group were, patches representing Apple Day (I still get apples on Apple Day if I happen to be out), Trees Canada, Pinewood Derby Kub Kar races (held at Camp Samac), Winter Activity Days, and Jamborees. The pièce de résistance is a 10-inch cross-stitched wolf Roland’s mother made. He sewed it at the centre of the blanket, where Scouters and Guiders sometimes cut a hole to create a poncho.

Working on this project inspired me to unpack my blanket and start sewing on unattached patches so I could donate it to the OM too. Did you ever have a campfire blanket from Guiding or Scouting? What is your favourite patch or memory associated with it? You can see Roland’s blanket displayed when Be Prepared opens this fall.

Student Museum Musings: Jay

By Jay M., Co-op Student

Hello all! I’m Jay, the Co-op student for the next couple of months! I’m currently in grade 11, and I’ve definitely been enjoying my time here at the Oshawa Museum.

Growing up with someone who loves photography truly changes your perspective on everyday things. I’m going to be honest, I didn’t really enjoy photography for a little while, and every time my mom stopped to take pictures along our nature adventures, I’d groan and complain a little.

Little did I know, here I am, five years later, taking pictures as if I’ve always loved doing it.

In the later months of 2022, I really fell in love with photography again. Sunrises truly awoken the photography side of me, due to me having to “rise with the sun” to catch my bus to school. Each morning, I’d walk outside and see the beautiful sun and all the colours in the sky. I’d whip out my phone and snap multiple pictures of the sunrise.

Colour photograph of the replica longhouse in Robinson House. There are wood poles and beams, and wood lining the walls
Inside A Carrying Place, Spring 2023

Now, one thing I loved growing up was history. I was the biggest history nerd in my class, and all my friends got to experience my weekly spiel about something new I learned (they still do).

Since I’d been placed at the Oshawa Museum for my co-op class, I’ve gotten to experience things I normally wouldn’t and that includes some amazing picture opportunities. Disregarding the fact that the museum is beside Lake Ontario, it’s a beautiful place with decades of love put into it.

Despite spending most of my time in the Guy House, I saw lots of opportunities to take pictures of the houses and things inside I thought were super cool. Whether it’s while I’m waiting for something or I’m just popping in to put something back, the views at the Oshawa Museum never cease to stun me.

Colour photograph of a two storey house. The bottom storey is surrounded by stone, and the upper storey is teal painted wood. It is winter/spring as there are no leaves on the trees
Henry House, spring 2023

As spring draws near, I’m really looking forward to experiencing the Oshawa Museum surrounded by nature and the lake!

Until next time,

Jay M

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