Student Museum Musings – Shwasome Adventures!

By Caitlan M., Summer Student

Have you ever been downtown Oshawa and had a few hours to kill but not sure what to do? Well the same thing happened to Lisa and I one afternoon before Cultured Squared* began. It seems people are not tourists in their own city. Here are some things Lisa and I did while we discovered our own city and had a Shwasome adventure!

Starting our Shwasome adventures at the RMG!
Starting our Shwasome adventures at the RMG!

Our first stop was with our friends at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG). The gallery does a fantastic job at telling the continuing story of Modern and Contemporary Canadian art. A couple of RMG’s latest exhibits feature a sports theme, Boxing: A Sweet Science (30 May – 13 September) and Spirit of Sport (9 May – 22 August) in concurrence with Pan Am and Parapan Am.

Taking a selfie with the reflective Reverb scuplture
Taking a selfie with the reflective Reverb sculpture

We then headed over to General Motors Centre to get our selfie with the sculpture Reverb by Noel Harding. Inside the GM Centre there is a microphone over centre ice to pick up the sound and the sound will be transmitted into a light show across the sculpture.

The Shwasome poutine!
The Shwasome poutine!

All this walking built up a bit of a hunger so we headed over to Smoke’s Poutinery over on King Street. Fun fact did you know that Smoke’s offers 2 locally named poutine’s. After all this we spent the evening at Culture Squared.

Other things in the downtown area: Hollywood Cone, Berry Hill Coffee, Spicy Affairs, check out some architecture on the churches and might as well go in and out of some of the stores, Canadian Automotive Museum, or check out a book at the McLaughlin Branch of the Library.

Why not get out and see what our downtown has to offer.  You’ll find out just how ‘Shwasome’ our city is!

Shwasome!!
Shwasome!!

*Cultured Squared occurs Thursday evenings from 5pm-8pm in Civic Square (right in front of City Hall)

Student Museum Musings – Do You Want to be a Victorian?

By Caitlan, Summer Student

When I first started here this summer Jill asked if I could create a video based on the song from the Disney movie Frozen, Do you want to build a snowman? How could I say no to that request! Of course some of the words had to be changed around a bit to fit the museum better and what we do but I couldn’t resist. This was the start of Do you want to be a Victorian?

Caitlan becoming a Victorian
Caitlan becoming a Victorian

With the help of Karen, the other summer student, we re-wrote the song and got the help of co-op student Nadia to help us film. We had a lot of fun filming everything, but the only problem that arose came down to singing the song. Nobody wanted to sing the song on their own, so I was able to convince some of the staff here to sing together. By the end there was a total of 6 of us; the summer students Karen, Carey, and Nadia (to convince them I said it was listed under the “other museum-related duties as assigned”), and Melissa and Lisa lent their voices as well.

Become a Victorian at the Oshawa Museum!
Become a Victorian at the Oshawa Museum!

When asked about some of things I do here, I bet having a choir-like practice in a kitchen is one of last things people would think expect me to do. But it’s one of the joys here – to always expect the unexpected! If you would like to head over to our YouTube channel you will be able to watch Do you want to be a Victorian? Or if you would like to see what Victorian life was like, come on down to the Museum!

Check out our latest video on our YouTube Channel:
Do You Want to be Victorian

Student Museum Musings: Museums are AWESOME!

By Karen, Summer Student

Today I am going to tell you why I believe museums are awesome. I wish my answer could simply be, they are because they are, however for those of you I am trying to convince (I know you are out there) I will tell you why museums are not only awesome but they are one of the best institutions to ever be known in our world.

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First, museums are a way to allow the next generation and generations beyond that to understand and see how the people before them lived. Take for example the Oshawa Community Museum, our museum allows people of all ages to see how Victorians lived in Oshawa during the Victorian era. We have children’s programs where the children can learn to make candles and butter, activities Victorian children would do on a daily basis.  If museums never existed then today’s children most likely would not understand how candles and butter was made.

Doing laundry, Victorian Style!
Doing laundry, Victorian Style = Awesome.

Secondly, museums are a way to keep history from being forgotten. Although this seems like an obvious reason I needed to include it and explain why this is so important. If no one or nothing collected history and remembered it from years ago, then we would not have a past. Todays’ generation would not know about World War One or World War Two.  How could we learn about events that happened so long ago if no one or nothing collected documents from decades before? Museums collect history and keep it safe for all of us to remember past events, people and objects. This is why museums are awesome.

Thirdly, and this might make me sound a bit bias, I work at the Oshawa Community Museum and I think it’s the best place anyone could work at. The people are great, the atmosphere is fun and every day you learn something new. Not the kind of learning when you are in school and the teacher dictates what you learn and how much homework you will have to complete. NO, I get to learn about history every day and I get to choose how I learn it. So not only do you, the public, learn from museums, I the worker learn from museums too. Museums: the very first institutions of learning!

Victorian costumes in Henry House = Awesome.
Victorian costumes in Henry House = Awesome.

Forth, most museums have tunnels,  secret places and crawl spaces which makes them pretty awesome to play hid and seek in (something I have never done, but kind of wish I could).

Fifth, most museums have sweets and treats to eat. I know the Oshawa Community Museum has lots of treats to eat in our store.

Candy sticks = Awesome.
Candy sticks = Awesome.

Last and maybe the single most important reason why museums are awesome in every way and shape and form is that museums are ever changing yet always staying the same. Museums are your home that you just gave a new renovation to; let me explain in more detail. Your home is always your home even if you paint the walls or add in new furniture or even if you take down a wall. The foundation of your home does not change; the only thing that changes is the framework. Museums get new exhibits all the time, museums are always gaining new history and hosting new events. But the museum foundation of learning and collecting history for the future will always stay. It will always be home.

Simply put, museums are awesome. I hope that by the end of this all of the people out there who I was trying to convince will now understand (and maybe agree with me) that museums are in every way and shape and form awesome.      o1och

Student Museum Musings – Caitlan

By Caitlan Madden, Summer Student and Visitor Host

Over the summer Lisa and some volunteers have sat down with citizens of Oshawa to gather their memories of Oshawa. These past few days I have had the pleasure to go through all the memories and got a glimpse of peoples love for Oshawa.

The Four Corners, June 2013
The Four Corners, June 2013

Although being born and growing up in Oshawa, I never thought of it being this special place, and never knew it had history until coming to this museum. To me Oshawa was just a place I lived and nothing special at all. Once I started to learn about the history I grew an appreciation for this city, but going through all these memories made me feel a bit bad because you can just see the love people have for Oshawa. For many people Oshawa is just not a place they live, it’s a place that they call home and their community they call friends and family. One similar aspect they all had was how as kids they would just be with their friends exploring Oshawa on their bikes made me think of a memory I have as a child.

My Grandma lived not even a 10 minute walk away from us and pretty much every day we would go to her house. Her street mostly consisted of people her age with Grandchildren of similar ages to me and my brother, which meant there were always kids to play with. A typically day was about 10 children outside playing hide and seek on the street. We could wonder in the neighbours backyards to hide and if they were outside they would even help hide us. A lot of the neighbours also had vegetable gardens so sometimes we would pick a few and eat while we were hiding.

The other day I was at my Grandmas and on the street all I saw were these kids playing outside doing a similar thing I did. It is strange that whenever I thought of Oshawa it was just a place I lived but thinking back to my memories as a kid, it really has been a place I called home and truly is a special place.

Caitlan in the Henry House Kitchen
Caitlan in the Henry House Kitchen

 

Thank you Caitlan for your hard work this summer, and good luck with your future studies!

Student’s Museum Musings – Emily

By Emily Dafoe, Visitor Host

Over the past few months I was able to spend my time working on the upcoming Guy House book, the next book in the If This House Could Talk collection. Similar to the Henry House and Robinson House books, this upcoming book focuses on the various stages that Guy House has gone through over its lifetime. Through the time I’ve spent designing this book, I have been able to take a look at the history of Guy House as told through photographs held here at the OCM. I have truly enjoyed the experience that working on this book has provided me with. The history of Guy House differs greatly from that of Henry and Robinson House, which can be seen throughout the book.

Some of the most interesting aspects of Guy House’s history that I have discovered while working on this book, are the many different stages that this building has gone through in its time. For instance, during the mid 1900s Guy House was used as a triplex, and contained three separate apartments. While mapping out where the apartments were located can get quite confusing, I find it fascinating that this building was once used in such a way.

Guy House, May 1965
Guy House, May 1965

My favourite photograph that I came across this summer was the one pictured above. I really enjoy this photograph because it paints an atmosphere of Guy House for the audience that is so vastly different from Guy House as I came to know it when I was first introduced to this house. The combination of the house, street sign, and vehicles that are present in the photograph, it is clear that there is such a rich history to, not only Guy House, but the park as well. While this is not the oldest photograph of Guy House being featured in the book, this photograph creates such a different of the park and area than what I grew to know it as today.

By reflecting on my time spent working at the OCM these past two summers, it is clear that the time here has provided me with immeasurable experience within the information field. I have gained so much through my experience at the OCM, whether it be my speaking and interpretation skills that I have gained through the numerous tours I have given, or the software skills I’ve gained through my time spent on the Guy House book and in the database, or even the skills I’ve have gained for the information field in general. These are skills that I will be able to take with me into my future in this field, and the value in that is immeasurable. I never truly understood how important and interesting the concept of local history was prior to my time here, but I can now say that I will take my new-found appreciation for this type of history into my future.

 

On behalf of the OCM, thank you Emily for your hard work! Best of luck with your new school year!

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