Student Museum Musings – Gabby

When I first started my co-op, I knew I would be here during the change of exhibits within Robinson House. What I did not know is how active I would be in the instillation. I expected to take predetermined artefacts and put them in predetermined places. However, what I got was almost the exact opposite.

Melissa Cole has been super amazing and allowed me to pick multiple of the artefacts that are going into the exhibit. I have chosen cameras, pottery pieces, medical instruments, photos and even quotations.

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The entire process is much harder then it seems. You would think that it is as simple as picking some artefacts and laying them out nice and pretty; while that is actually what happens, it is hard. “The bigger artefacts go in the back and the smaller in the front, right?” Wrong. “These two are similar colours so they go on the same side.” Nope. “I can do this in half an hour and then get to the other project I am working on.” You wish.

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While figuring out how to best display artefacts is difficult, so is choosing them. While some artefacts have dear little places in our own hearts, we also have to consider which artefacts the community wants to see. I may love one for one reason where someone else dislikes it for the same reason.

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The other aspect of picking artefacts that makes doing so difficult is that there are so many. I want to pick them all. If I could, I would put all 300+ cameras on display. However, that is an insane number of cameras and so only nine or ten can actually go out! That is only 3% of that entire collection. See where the difficulty lies?

Another cool thing about the new exhibit is how the two halves of my co-op are coming together. I get to promote it on social media, and even design activities for visitors to do while taking tours!

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I hope that all of you who come to see the new exhibit Celebrating 60 Years enjoy viewing it as much as I enjoyed helping with its creation. This amazing exhibit runs from April to November 2017.

Logo for OMA copy

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!

Where the Streets Get Their Names – Shakespeare in Oshawa

By Gabby C., co-op student

William Shakespeare was an English playwright who wrote his way into the hearts of many, while breaking those of his famous characters. Majority of schools make kids learn the names of these characters in English class, sitting and waiting for something to make sense. Yet, Shakespeare survives not just in the classrooms, but out and about Oshawa as well. The question is how did he manage to make it to Oshawa from across the pond? The answer is simple: street names.

This portrait is known as the ‘Chandos portrait’ after a previous owner, James Brydges, 1st Duke of Chandos. It was the first portrait to be acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in 1856. Public Domain,

Shakespeare was born on an undetermined date in Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England. Within his life, he wrote more than 30 plays as well as poems. Though he is known for writing within the genres of comedy, history and tragedy, the latter is home to his most famous plays. For generations, Shakespeare has surprised, and shocked audiences while exposing humanity’s faults in the process. While there is a Shakespeare Avenue within Oshawa, there are also streets named after some of his famous characters!

Macbeth is Shakespeare’s shortest play, but that does not make it any less action packed or dramatic than the others. Macbeth centres around the title character while he dives head first into madness as a consequence of playing with fate. When a group of witches predict that Macbeth will become king, he takes their prophecy to the next level. In an attempt to go from Thane of Glamis and Cawdor, he kills King Duncan and takes the throne. However, this course of action throws the world into chaos and it is up to one not of woman born to defeat Macbeth and return order.

By Théodore Chassériau – Musée d’Orsay, Public Domain,

As stated, Macbeth is Thane of Glamis. In reality, Glamis is a small town in Scotland;you can find Glamis Court southwest of the Rossland/Thornton intersection in Oshawa, along with other streets named after places in Scotland!

However, Macbeth is not Shakespeare’s only plays with ties in Oshawa.  King Lear also has a couple of streets named after its characters.

By John Gilbert – Bridgeman Art library (painting in Towneley Hall Art Gallery and Museum), Public Domain,

King Lear is another one of Shakespeare’s tragedies. It follows an old king, Lear, as he struggles with the consequences of believing lies told to him by his two oldest daughters, and banishing those – including his third daughter – who tried to help him see through the fog. The play watches as Lear descends into misery while struggling to reassume power. His three daughters, Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia, are all married. Goneril to the Duke of Albany. Duke of Albany is a real title that was bestowed to the youngest sons of the Scottish and eventually British royal family. In Oshawa, however, it is name to Albany Drive!

So, next time you’re driving around Oshawa, keep an eye out for the above-mentioned roads or any others with Shakespeare related names! There is bound to be more out there!

This blog series is typically written by Lisa Terech, Community Engagement co-ordinator, but we were excited when our co-op student offered to guest author this post!

For further reading on William Shakespeare, visit the following sites:

Student Musings – Sarah, Peter, Elora and Jennifer

This semester, we are happy to host four students from our local post-secondary institutions who are able to get hands-on experience in the workplace while offering valuable assistance where we need the help.  Read on to meet our four students, Sarah, Peter, Elora and Jennifer!

c2d6gqiukaeqm37My Name is Sarah Kalina and I’m a field placement student here at the museum. I am attending Durham College to complete my Library and Information Technician Diploma. Completing my field placement will wrap up my final requirement for graduation. I am here in the archives working under Jennifer. I have been tasked with reorganizing the photograph collection both physically and digitally as to keep specific subjects together. The biggest reorganization I have done is 294 photographs for the Lowry Lakeview Park collection. It is interesting to see how the picture collection is organized and reorganized and I am happy to be a part of the process.

All of the staff here at Oshawa Museum are extremely knowledgeable and welcoming. I am grateful for all of the information I am gaining just from being here let alone the skills I am developing/honing. I am excited for the rest of time here and the experience I will gain.


img_2118Hello, my name is Peter McKenzie.  I am an intern here at the Oshawa Museum, and a student/graduate from Trent University.  After graduating in 2016 with a degree in Anthropology, I am currently taking a one year Marketing and Entrepreneurship program at Trent Durham.  I have always enjoyed learning about various cultures and histories of the world, and once I heard that the Oshawa Museum was accepting interns, I jumped at the chance!  I’ve lived in Durham (specifically Whitby) for most of my life, yet have never really learned much of the area’s history.  Working at the museum, I get a chance to not only assist, but to learn about Oshawa’s history as I do so.

Ever since I began studying Anthropology, I have had my heart set on working in a museum, and the staff here has been very kind and accommodating to allow me a well-rounded experience.  So far, I have assisted in poster designs, podcast production, and artifact accession, with more plans in the future.  I have certainly been enjoying my internship here, and I look forward to the rest of my time here at the Oshawa Museum!


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My name is Elora Andrews and I am a student at Durham College in Oshawa, Ontario, in the Library and Information Technician program. I am currently attending the museum for 8 hours a week and loving every minute of it. This museum is adorable and the archivists here are amazing and so much fun!

I am currently working on an e-book which I hope to have finished in a few weeks, so stay tuned!




Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetI am Jennifer Floyd, a second year student at Durham College in the Library and Information Technician program. As a placement student, I get to hang around the archive once a week and do some research – I promise it’s not as dull as it sounds. I get to learn about Oshawa’s past and help put together projects (publications, websites, etc) so others can learn as well. I’ve always loved history, and being able to mix that into my program at the college is a fantastic opportunity I didn’t think possible.

Since my placement is in the archive, I don’t have a huge opportunity to spend time in the museum itself. However, that’s where my favourite things are (that I’ve seen so far anyways). The museum has an amazing collection of clothing – dresses, suits, shirts, and, oh, the shoes! I could probably spend a few hours (read: days) with that collection.

I’ve only just begun my placement, and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what else the museum and archive has to offer – there’s so much here, I doubt I’ll be able to see it all before I’m done.

Student Museum ‘Musings’ – Kaitlin

By Kaitlin B., Co-Op Student

My name is Kaitlin and I am student from the CICE program at Durham College. The times that I am here are on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I started my time here three weeks ago and so far it’s a great experience. Some of the duties that I do here at the Oshawa Museum are documenting artefacts, help run tours around the museum, complete computer work on the museum’s website and cleaning the Guy house store, the other houses and the artefacts.

Kaitlin in the Henry House Kitchen

I enjoy the tasks that I do here but my personal favourite thing to do is to is to clean the museum houses and the artefacts that are inside them with either members of the staff here of on my own. I enjoy the peace and quiet of the museum and if I’m by myself, the ghosts here don’t bother me. My favourite house here is the Robinson House because of the rich history of the house and it hold my favourite exhibit, the First Nations Exhibit.  I find the First Nation exhibit interesting because its fascinating to learn how they lived and to learn about their culture.  That is it for my first blog and there will be many more to come through out my experience here.

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