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.

Student Museum Musings – Nicole and Mary

This semester, we are happy to host two students from Durham College’s Library and Information Technician program who are able to get hands-on experience in the workplace while offering valuable assistance where we need the help.  Read on to meet Nicole and Mary!


Hello, my name is Nicole Bray and I am a second year student in the Library and Information Program at Durham College.  I chose to have a field placement at the Oshawa Museum & Archives after I saw Jennifer’s presentation for one of my classes.  She made working at the archives sound fun and interesting.  And everyone has certainly lived up to my first impression.  At the moment I am working on the Education in Oshawa e-publication.  It’s really interesting to read up about all the different schools that were once in Oshawa.  I look forward to the rest of the time I’ll spend here at the Archives.


Hello all! My name is Mary Sherlock and I am a 2nd year Durham College student in the Library and Information Technician program. This is my last year in the program and I am excited for what the future may bring! I am here as a placement student in the archive and am loving every second of it so far! I have a great love for history, especially Canada’s history, which makes me all the more excited for my time here. This placement will  give me a great opportunity to see if working in an archive or museum setting is something I wish to do after I graduate, also to gather as much educational experience as possible to apply towards school, work, and life.

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Durham LIT Students on a Fall visit to the Oshawa Museum

Student Museum Musings – Durham LIT Students

Their semester has wrapped up, but before they were finished, two students from the Durham College Library & Information Technician program shared their experiences as interns at the Oshawa Museum.  Here’s what they had to say.


As part of the final year at Durham College’s Library and Information Technician program, I am at the Oshawa Museum completing field placement hours. I have had the opportunity to work on the museum’s newest publication – The Annotated Memoirs of Rev. Thomas Henry. I got thrown onto this project as a sort of “happy accident:”  I was originally slated to be working in the archive, but help was needed elsewhere.

The book is being annotated by Laura Suchan, Executive Director of the Oshawa Museum, and Stoney Kudel, president of the Oshawa Historical Society. I have been designing the overall layout of the book.

A973.13.1 – Elder Thomas Henry

As an out-of-town student, working on this book has been my introduction to the history of Oshawa and the Henry family. I can’t begin to say how much research has gone into this publication. On my part, it was mostly because I was unfamiliar with a lot of the stories that I was reading about, and I wanted to relate what was happening in Oshawa (then East Whitby Township) to what I knew about the history of Ontario and Canada as a whole.

The museum is fortunate enough to have a lot of the Henry family’s history. I’ve had the opportunity to search through letters, early censuses and photographs, all in the sake of finding information for this book. I’ve enjoyed learning the different histories – being told to sit down and do research has been a dream these past few months.

Unfortunately, with the semester ending, I am finished my internship at the museum, and as of now, the book is not yet complete, though it should be soon. I look forward to seeing how all the work we’ve done comes together in print.


I’m a firm believer in what we learn from our past will guide us in the future so history has always been a huge interest of mine. Learning about how an archive and museum are run in class was fun, but actually getting to come into the archives and be able to see and touch history with my own two hands was another experience all together. From my time at the archives I was able to see the real behind the scenes of how an archives is run and operated daily. Through the task I was assigned I got to see what it was like to actually go through a donation and learned the value of recording everything. I also got a chance to see just how much time one project can take. From going through the newspapers, clipping, photocopying, and encasing them it took around 19 hours. With how little staff and money is usually given to archives you can see how much one person needs to do.

I’m very grateful for the experience! and now when I go to museums/archives I will truly know the value of them, not just from a preserving history stance.

Thank you to Jenn and Amanda for sharing their stories!

Want to know more about our Winter Semester post-secondary students? Jenn, Peter, Sarah, and Elora introduced themselves in an earlier post!

Student Museum Musings – Carey

by Carey Bulger, Durham College Library & Information Tech Student

Hi everyone,

My name is Carey Bugler and I’m a second year student at Durham College in the Library and Information Technician (or LIT) course. I am currently doing part of my field placement here at the Oshawa Community Museum and I’m excited to be here. I’ve always loved museums, even before I learned that this course allowed me to work in this sort of environment. Something about the history of a town, or even just a specific place, has always been interesting to me. Working with the archives lets me have some hands on experience and it allows me to see that history up close and in a slightly more personal way.

I’m hoping that the time I spend here is as interesting as I’ve built it up to be in my mind and, from only being here for one day, I can certainly say that it’s going toward that goal. While I haven’t done much other than a bit of data entry I have been able to see some historic documents that I wouldn’t have been able to before, and that I wouldn’t have really thought about before now. I can tell that I’m going to enjoy my time here.

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The Oshawa Community Archives

Museums and Archives are amazing places that, in my opinion, do not get enough attention. There’s so much you can learn from the past that you can compare to now. Every time you look into the past you find something new and interesting to look at and learn about. It’s one of the reasons that I’m excited to be here and why I’m excited to possibly pursue a career in this field. There’s just so much to learn.

Volunteering at the Museum!

Hi there, my name is Emily and I have been a volunteer in the archives at The Oshawa Community Museum for about a year now. I first began volunteering here to gain experience in my field as I had hoped to apply to graduate studies in Library and Information Science, after completing my undergrad at Trent University Oshawa. I thought I would take this opportunity to share a bit about my experience here, and how volunteering has helped me plan for my future career!

Emily working in the Archives!
Emily working in the Archives!

The majority of my volunteering here has been in the archives. When I began volunteering in the archives I mainly worked with the photograph collection by entering numerous photographs into the digital database. These photographs all capture a moment of Oshawa’s past and this has been very interesting for me to look through because I have been able to learn so much about the history of Oshawa.

Between school and school work, I am able to come into volunteer about once a week and have tried to keep this schedule for most of time I have been here. During the summer however, I took a short break from volunteering and put on a Victorian Dress and took on the role of summer student. While still helping in the archives, I was also able to help with other Museum functions. When September rolled around, I once again began volunteering. When I started up again I moved away from the photographs collection that I had been working on and began entering some of the larger archival items into the database. This has allowed me to become more familiar with different aspects of the archival collection at The Oshawa Community Museum.

Jen, Emily and Caitlan, summer 2013
Jen, Emily and Caitlan, summer 2013

The experience I have gained here at The Oshawa Community Museum has been extremely valuable to me for two main reasons. First, having the opportunity to work hands on in the archives, I have gained a better understanding of my field and the career I am pursuing. This experience has allowed me to determine whether the field of Information is something I could see myself doing and I think it is safe to say now that this is career path I want to take. Secondly, the time I have spent volunteering at the Museum has helped me apply to graduate studies. From being able to say I have worked with an Archivist to being able to demonstrate my passion for this field it has been great to develop skills and show this to grad schools. I am also happy to say I have now (thankfully), finished my applications to grad school and am eagerly waiting to see where I will end up next year!

Overall, I believe I have had a unique and valuable experience volunteering here at the Oshawa Community Museum. It has been a positive stop on my career path and one I know has helped shape my future in Information. I am very happy I made the decision to volunteer early and encourage students thinking about archival research, library or information studies to consider a volunteer placement somewhere like the Oshawa Community Museum!

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