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.
In my time as a co-op student, a volunteer, and now as a working summer student I have learned that at the museum you never know what to expect when you show up for work. When I started my summer position this year I honestly had no clue what I was in for; I wasn’t sure what I was going to be doing and I had no clue what kind of projects I would be working on.
Despite this uncertainty, I was incredibly excited to start in my new position and I knew that no matter what I did I would love it (every project is exciting in its own way). This summer I got assigned a project that was even more exciting than I ever could have imagined! My summer project is to create a new audio tour for the houses! For this I will be looking at talking more about the families in the houses instead of just the houses themselves. Also, I will be looking quite a bit at the heritage gardens of Henry House and adding this new information to the tour as it was not part of the original tour.
The Henry House heritage gardens is home to an assortment of interesting (and strange) plants. The Henry House garden is designed to display what an everyday garden would have looked like, similar to what the Henry’s themselves would have had. It is split into different sections depending on what the use of the plant is. There is one garden dedicated to tea, another to dyes and the last to herbs and plants that can be used for medical and other practical purposes. In the practical garden there are eight sections: practical, protection, serious conditions, culinary, insect control, healing, cough control, and calming.
So far, out of the many plants that I have researched and looked at in the garden, I have found four that continue to catch my interest. The first two belong in the healing section of the garden. The first plant is Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium). This plant is used to reduce blood pressure and, if the fresh leaves are put into a poultice, it can stop bleeding from cuts and scrapes and things of that kind. Another plant that is found in this portion of the garden is Woolly Lamb’s Ear. This plant is really cool as it feels fuzzy and is soft to the touch. The way that the Henrys may have put this plant to use would have been as bandages to keep cuts clean and covered, the soft texture of these leaves being non-aggravating to injured skin.
Another plant, in the calming section, that I find interesting is Valerian (Valeriana Officinalis). This plant would have been used to help prevent nightmares and to reduce anxiety. However, if too much is taken (or if it is taken for too long) it can cause some adverse side effects such as hallucinations, abdominal pain and headaches. The final plant that catches my eye, or rather my nose, in our garden is Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis). This plant is part of the tea garden. Lemon Balm is an incredibly versatile plant. It can be used as an extract to add flavour to dishes, added to a relaxing bath, applied to help soothe insect bites, used to make soothing teas (for headaches and nausea), lessen depression, eczema and it can even help allergy sufferers. In addition to all of this, Lemon Balm can help clean and heal wounds as it acts as an antiviral substance and will starve the bacteria in the wound of oxygen thereby killing it.
There are really some incredible plants in the Henry House garden. What is even more incredible is to think that all of these plants would have been used in some way by the Henry family in their everyday lives.
After attending Co-op at The Oshawa Community Museum for just about 4 months I can honestly say that it was a great experience. I’ve learnt a lot in my short period of time being here with tasks ranging from learning how to give tours of the historical homes to learning different programs to create promotional videos and photographs. These tasks have taught how to effectively communicate with people and how to design in a suitable way with input and constructive criticism which I can now take with me to use in my everyday life. All in all being here at the Oshawa Museum was a great learning experience which allowed me to grow as an individual. I am thankful for the opportunity to be able to experience what it’s like in a work place, especially a workplace with such nice and welcoming people. I have no regrets or disappointments in taking Co-op at The Oshawa Community Museum and will miss coming every afternoon.