Student Museum Musings – Nadia

By Nadia, Social Media Co-op Student

If I could summarize my first couple week at the Oshawa Community Museum in one word, it would be “welcoming.” The atmosphere is very friendly and the staff members made me feel like a part of the team.

Although my first day was primarily accessibility training, I enjoyed being in the workplace rather than school. The tour my supervisor, Lisa Terech, gave me was both intriguing and informative. In just a short period of time, I learned a lot about Oshawa that I would not have known otherwise. I love working in such a historically significant site.

My favourite aspect of my time so far was reading through Oshawa’s old newspapers starting from the 1960s. On the contrary, anything old and vintage fascinates me, however; the style of writing and the information given diverge from modern day journalism. When I was reading through old hockey articles, I found out about Bobby Orr’s origins with the OHL. It was truly amazing to find the roots of his success from the newspapers. When I searched through photographs of Oshawa, I found many of him in his old uniform. My favourite place in the museum is the closet full of old cameras. Yes, a closet. Since I do photography on my recreational time, the abundance of cameras mesmerized me.

Currently, I am into my third week at the Oshawa Community Museum. I am beginning to get used to the routine here. I am also honored to have big responsibilities, such as creating a logo for the Mourning After: The Victorian Celebration of Death (Spring 2015 exhibit). From my co-operative experience, I hope to discover if a career in media or journalism is the right path for me. I believe the Oshawa Community Museum is the best place for me to figure this out.

Below are photographs from around the Museum that Nadia has taken with her captions! Enjoy!

Robinson House, c. 1856
Robinson House, c. 1856
Reflections of Oshawa exhibit in Robinson House
Reflections of Oshawa exhibit in Robinson House
Before the Canadian national anthem was created, students started the day by singing “God Save the Queen”
Before the Canadian national anthem was created, students started the day by singing “God Save the Queen”
Hand-dyed wool
Hand-dyed wool
Henry House exterior
Henry House exterior

Once Upon A Time

By: Karen Albrecht, Visitor Host 

Some people say a picture is worth a thousand words, but here at the Oshawa Community Museum our stories are priceless. If you have ever visited the museum you will understand what I mean, if not then let me tell you how we make Oshawa’s history come to life.

The houses of the Oshawa Community Museum
The houses of the Oshawa Community Museum

I began volunteering at The Oshawa Community Museum (OCM) up until this summer when I was taken on as an Occasional Visitor Host.  This summer I learned Oshawa’s past through shadowing tours and giving tours. The most important aspect I learned from watching tours and giving tours, is that no two tour guides are alike. For, each tour guide delivers a tour their own way and each guide modifies their tour depending on age and group size. All of these conditions (age, group size etc.) allow guides to give special personalized tours that are relevant to you and your group.

Starting at Robinson house tour guides will tell you the story of John Robinson, a cobbler,  who lived in Oshawa with his wife and children, and it was his children that ultimately called Robinson House their home.  Upon entering the house guests will enter rooms which all have different exhibits in them. From this unique set up of different exhibits throughout the house, guests will always find that even after their 3rd or 4th visit they are still learning about Oshawa’s past.

Karen inside Henry House
Karen inside Henry House

Henry House (my favourite house), comes next. In this house the story of Thomas Henry and his family come alive. What surprised me and still surprises me, is that every tour guide tells a different story of the Henry’s and their home. From a family with many children,  to ghosts, to sleeping beauty and her spinning wheel, guests will never know what information they are going to learn.

The best part of the job is hearing from all of the wonderful guests! While on tour guests and guides discuss not only Oshawa’s history but also the history of their life in Oshawa. This personal connection makes everyone feel comfortable and, in my opinion,  gets your tour guide talking. For example, when I took a tour of an older couple through Henry house they kept mentioning how they have antiques in their house that resemble the ones in Henry house. Being curious I asked about them and shared my own grandparents background with them. My grandparents live in an old farm house just north of Port Perry, and they too have many antiques.

My best advice I can give to any new visitors would be to ask as many questions as possible and make connections that your tour guide can reflect on. If you are a returning guest, then simply inquire about the little details; you will learn lots of new information that adds on to what you already know.

Photo by L. Bazowsky
Photo by L. Bazowsky

It does not matter if you have been to the OCM once, never or a hundred times, the stories always change. From my little experience I’ve heard various  tours which highlight various information. That’s why the OCM is my favourite place to come learn about Oshawa’s past. No matter how many times you have visited the museum, once upon a time… always changes.

Memories of Lamplights Past

For over two decades, the signature event at the Oshawa Community Museum has been our Lamplight Tour.  Henry House, our traditional Victorian home, is lit with oil lamps, in Robinson House, the General Store exhibit is ready to party like it’s 1899, Father Christmas makes an appearance, and there is food, drinks, and music to be enjoyed.

OCM Staff took time to reflect on their favourite memories from the Lamplight Tour.

Laura Suchan, Executive Director
My favourite memories of Lamplight are of my children participating in the schoolroom activities.

Dylon, left, in 2004, and Tyler, right, in 2008.
Dylon, left, in 2004, and Tyler, right, in 2008.

Jennifer Weymark, Archivist
My memory of Lamplight was the year that (OHS Member) Don Sloman dressed as Father Christmas.

Don Sloman dressed as Father Christmas, 2000 Lamplight
Don Sloman dressed as Father Christmas, 2000 Lamplight

Melissa Cole, Curator
My favourite memories are the years that Anderson CVI students participated.  In Henry House, they dramatized the Henry Family getting ready for the wedding of Jennie Henry.

Anderson CVI Students, at 2004 Lamplight
Anderson CVI Students, at 2004 Lamplight

Jillian Passmore, Visitor Experience Co-ordinator
I don’t necessarily have a favourite memory of Lamplight, but to me, the smells of Henry House, from the greenery, to the cloves, and the lamp oil, help to begin the holiday season.  Lamplight is the beginning of Christmas.

Jillian decorating the tree in Henry House, 2009 Lamplight
Jillian decorating the tree in Henry House, 2009 Lamplight

Lisa Terech, Community Engagement
My favourite memories are of my first Lamplights, my first as a volunteer where I was in the General Store, and the first as a staff in the Henry House Kitchen.  Since 2010, I am the staff member in the Kitchen, and I love talking about preparing the plum pudding!

Preparing plum pudding, 2010 Lamplight
Preparing plum pudding, 2010 Lamplight

We hope that you’ll join us for this year’s Lamplight Tour and make memories of your own!
Saturday, December 6, 2014
6-8pm

Student Museum Musings – Helaina

By Helaina, Social Media Assistant Co-op Student

Hey there! I’m Helaina, the afternoon co-operative student here at the Oshawa Museum until January 2015. I started not too long ago, but already I’ve been swept away with a whole bunch of information about Oshawa, and things that I never knew about. My first day I was taken on a full tour of the Museum and was able to see all the ins and outs. Exploring and investigating the houses was a really fun time because I saw a side of Oshawa that I’ve never seen before. I was really shocked when I learned that there were two archaeological digs here in Oshawa. I had no idea these happened, it was very cool to learn about what was here hundreds of years ago and how Oshawa has changed since then. So far my favourite thing that I’ve learned about is the Henry family. They have a story that I want to explore and tap into. The Robinson family however, also seems like a very interesting family because of certain people in their history. It’s quite fascinating to see how times have changed and remained the same. I hope to have an amazing time here and so far I have not been disappointed!

-Until Next Time, Helaina

 

The following are photos around the Museum, as taken by Helaina

Some items available at the general store in Robinson House
Some items available at the general store in Robinson House
The kitchen in Henry House.
The kitchen in Henry House.
The Piano from a low angle in the front room of Robinson House.
The Piano from a low angle in the front room of Robinson House.
The outdoor side porch of the Robinson House.
The outdoor side porch of the Robinson House.

Student Museum Musings – Everything is AWESOME!

By Caitlan Madden, Summer Student 

Few months ago, we came across this amazing Tumblr board called When You Work at a Museum. It’s perfect for anybody who has, you guessed it, worked in a museum.

In the middle of May this tumblr board started a museum dance off. They received a total of 22 submissions on 4 continents, the winner being the National Sculpture Museum (Museo Nacional de Escultura’s Mi Gran Noche) in Spain. But our lovely neighbours from the Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology came in 3rd place! Although we are late to the game that doesn’t mean that we cannot get in on the fun and create a dance video of our own.

We may be small museum compared to others, but when it comes to dancing, well you could say we sure know how to have a good time!

Please go watch our dance video, and don’t forget to check out the Tumblr board http://whenyouworkatamuseum.com/

 

The Oshawa Museum is AWESOME (Click to follow link)

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