Navigate / search

Wonderful World Adventures Camp

Wonderful World Adventures Camp 2015
March Break Camp – March 16-20, 2015

Programs - Camps (1)

Take an adventure through the many wonders of the world. Explore the ancient, natural, modern, underwater, and medieval wonders through games, activities and crafts.  Read on to learn some of the activities we have in store!

Camp begins at 8:30 every day but parents can drop off their kids as early as 8:15. We’ll play small group games, colour some amazing artwork, and free play with friends until 9:00 am.

What to bring: You’ll want to bring two snacks and a lunch (peanut free!), a water bottle, indoor shoes, and outdoor gear (like boots, a coat, mittens, a hat) for when we play outside.

Monday‘s theme is the Seven Wonders of the World. We’ll be learning about the Great Pyramid of Giza and decorating our own personal pyramid with our name in hieroglyphics. Another craft we’ll make is a Greek head-band called a Kotinos, and create the Lighthouse of Alexandria. In the morning, we’ll watch a nifty Power Point about all of the Seven Wonders and test our trivia in the afternoon! Today’s games are going to be tons of fun: we’ll pretend to be statues in the temple of Artemis, a statue buyer, untangle the vines of Babylon and lots more.

Tuesday is the Seven Wonders of the Natural World. A lot of neat art will be crafted today such as paper waterfalls and mountain range pastel art. We’ll explore the Northern Lights with a colourful milk experiment and coffee filter craft. There will even be volcanoes exploding!

Wednesday we’re exploring the Seven Wonders of the Industrial World. String bridges, paper trains, and milk carton boats will be on our craft table. We’ll be playing Pipeline, a game based on the industrial underground pipeline system, Ship Shore based on steam ships, and Railroad tag. We’ll also be learning what life was like before the Industrial age as we go on a tour of the Museum.

Thursday we become knights, princesses, jesters and all things medieval for Seven Wonders of the Medieval World.  We will take on a knights training obstacle course, play Gladiator ball, Keeper of the Keys, and some fun outdoor games. Crafts include Hagia Sophia mosaics, Gladiator Shields, paper lamps from the porcelain tower of Nanjing, and create the Leaning Tower of Pisa!

Friday is our favourite day because we all get to have a pizza lunch with our new friends! The theme is seven wonders of the underwater world. We’ll be doing some cool experiments, learning about underwater volcanoes and underwater archaeology. Games will include tadpole to frog, coral reef layers, and crab races. We’ll also be making some fishy friends, sea creatures and predator pins.

Camp ends at 4:30 every day and the latest time for pick up is 4:45. Camp kids will be watching a movie in our theatre space when it’s time for pick up. Don’t forget to sign out your child and bring photo ID with you!

Haven’t registered yet? Don’t miss out! You can register for single days or for the full week. Click here for details.

Family life in the Lawson Village

Longhouse display mural

It’s a typical February day in the Lawson Village. The year is A.D. 1515 and you are keeping warm around the fire that your family shares with your aunt’s family. The ground will start to thaw before the next cycle of the moon and women will soon start to prepare the fields for the spring planting, but today is cold so you stay close to the fire for warmth.

Your father and some of the other men of the longhouse left early this morning to check some traps they set near a swamp far upstream. Even with snowshoes, it is a two hour walk each way. And they might not even return with any meat! Winter is not the best time to hunt but the storage bins are looking emptier every day and your grandmother is beginning to get a little worried that the food will run out before the spring hunt can begin. The bins were full of the three sisters, blueberries, dried fish, and deer meat just a few short months ago, but over 50 mouths in this longhouse alone means that the food goes quickly. You are not worried, though. Mother says that the Bear Clan longhouse next door still has plenty of food, and you know that they will share if you run out.

Winter is a peaceful time, but it is hardly quiet. In the summer so many people are away tending their fields, hunting, trading, or going about their busy lives. No one goes far in the winter and their voices echo through the longhouse. Although it is too dangerous during winter to travel the long trade routes, on sunny days you and your mother often follow the paths to the large village where the three rivers meet to visit friends and relatives.

Longhouse reflection
longhouse reflection

As you lie on your reed mat by the fire, reflecting on this season, you overhear your older brothers talking about the trade routes they took last year and where they will go this summer. Your village grows very fine tobacco and your mother’s combs and stone jewellery are very valuable. Your brothers and cousins are planning to take a canoe down the rivers to the large lake. The villagers there have very fine sheets of mica from their cousins far away, and shells that they have traded from the sea. The village elders use polished sheets of mica as mirrors and windows onto the spirit world, and mother wants to make very beautiful jewellery from the seashells.

The fire crackles and embers cool as they hit a cool draft. Your family’s fire is in the middle of the longhouse where it is warmest. Your mother is the oldest of grandmother’s daughters and so your family shares the best fire out of the five in the house.  But no one in this house goes without. Grandmother is the head of this house and is on the village council. She is very good at running the longhouse. All of her daughters and two of her sisters live in this house with their husbands and children.

The longhouse is busy today. You aunt’s husband is sitting with some of the other men in the house grinding axes from hard stone cobbles they found in the river last fall. They will be clearing new land this spring to open a new field. After they chop down the trees they will bring back the tallest, straightest logs to repair the north wall of the longhouse which was damaged in a storm. You smile at grandmother, who sits at the end of the longhouse with your great-aunt sewing clothes for the coming summer and sharing stories.

A frigid breeze blows in and you look up to see that your father has returned from trapping with a beaver! There will be fresh soup tonight. He has more exciting news: “we’ve carved a track in the snow for a game of snow snake! Come on, let’s go have a game!” he bellows. What fun! You jump up quickly and get your fur coats, leggings, and fur-lined moccasins to bundle up against the crisp winter air. But it’s worth it for a good game of snow snake!


Share this experience by visiting the Lawson Village and the Museum of Ontario Archaeology this family day! Walk through the village on snow shoes!  Warm up in the longhouse and listen to the stories being told by the fire!  Play a game of snow snake!

Agatha Christie

This year’s Valentine’s Day blog is about the archaeology behind Mrs. Agatha Christie, a famous crime novelist with a strong and loving connection to archaeology.

Agatha Christie was born September 15, 1890 in the UK. In 1928, a visit to the excavation site of Ur (modern Iraq) sparked her interest in archaeology. She writes, ‘The lure of the past came up to grab me. To see a dagger slowly appearing, with its gold glint, through the sand was romantic. The carefulness of lifting pots and objects from the soil filled me with a longing to be an archaeologist myself.’ – A. Christie, An Autobiography (London, 1981), p. 389

It was during this time that she met archaeologist Max Mallowan, whom she married in 1930. Max Mallowan (1904-1978) was first an assistant to Sir Leonard Woolley at Ur and later a field director in Western Asia. He is known for conducting further excavations of the Nimrud ivories of the Assyrian kingdom 900-612 BC between 1949 and 1963.

For the next twenty years, she lived near various excavation sites in the Middle East, helping her husband. At some of the sites, Agatha cleaned and repaired artifacts, photographed, and catalogued the objects. She is credited with coming up with a preservation and cleaning technique of using her face cream and an orange stick to clean 3,000 year old ivories excavated by Mallowan in Nimrud Iraq.

These archaeology experiences and travels in Western Asia and Cairo also inspired Agatha Christie to write some of her most famous novels including Murder in Mesopotamia whose characters relate to people she knew on the dig site in Ur. She writes, “Archaeology and crime detection are similar because you have to clear away the debris to reveal the shining truth.” (CNN)



Valentine’s day fact:
Agatha Christie is known for this witty quote, ” An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The older she gets the more interested he is in her.”
In News Report 1954, her husband, archaeologist Max Mallowan attributed this quote to her, but she later denied saying it. Perhaps it was meant as a joke between the couple since Agatha Christie was in fact 15 years his senior.

MOA’s Connection:
MOA has a collection of Mesopotamian artifacts from Ur.  Our collection consists of pottery vessels, clay artefacts, and metal tools and many of the artifacts still have Woolley’s original artifact numbers written on them.

Learn more:

  • “The Life of Max Mallowan: Archaeology and Agatha Christie.” – by Henrietta McCall
  • Online tour (British Museum): Learn about objects from each of the sites that Agatha worked on and her photographs.

Battle of the Thames

The Battle of the Thames took place on October 5th, 1813 as part of the conflict of the war of 1812.

The war of 1812 began for various reasons including numerous attempted invasions from Americans into Canada. The efforts from this war helped shape Canadian independence from the United States. First Nation participants and our founding fathers were able to fight off invading American troops and establish a sense of Canadian nationalism. Between 1812 and 1813, Chief Tecumseh brought together First Nation tribes from across both sides of the border to defend native lands.

1812 Chippewa Experience

I was inspired by MOA’s new exhibit on the Chippewa’s involvement in the war of 1812 so I traveled westward to the location of the Battle of the Thames just outside of Chatham Ontario. At the site, there is a plaque citing both the battle significance and the accomplishments of Chief Tecumseh.  I was inspired to learn more about the Battle of the Thames and the circumstances leading up to it in the war.



Before the Battle of the Thames, the British and First Nations proved victorious under the collaborative leadership of Sir Isaac Brock and Shawnee Chief Tecumseh which lead to a defining  victory in the Battle of Detroit (August 16, 1812),  allying the First Nations with the British. However General Brock died months later in the Battle of Queenstown Heights on October 13th, 1812.

A new British General, Sir Henry Proctor was soon instated. He did not treat Tecumseh with the same respect as Gen. Brock nor did he face Battles with the same charisma and power, causing tension between the two leaders.

The height of their tension came in May of 1813 when Americans tried to rush Fort Meigs, taken by Proctor and Tecumseh only four days earlier. Six hundred Americans were killed or captured, at which point First Nations attacked the captured Americans, killing twenty of them by the time Tecumseh arrived and stopped the slaughter. (This battle was similar to the River Raisin massacre fought by Gen. Proctor in January 1813. Proctor had promised safety to the Americans but then commanded the British and First Nation soldiers to slaughter them.) At the end of the Fort Meigs battle, Proctor told Tecumseh that his people can’t be controlled. Tecumseh, knowing his people were acting under command of Proctor responded by telling the General that he was not fit for command. Proctor proved Tecumseh’s point again five days later by abandoning siege.

On October 4, 1813, the night before the Battle of the Thames, Tecumseh told those First Nation leaders who gathered;  ‘“Brother warriors, we are about to enter into an engagement from which I shall never return. My body will remain on the field of battle.’ He then gave a sword the British had gifted him to another man and said; ‘When my son becomes a noted warrior, give him this.”


The Battle of the Thames held only 950-1000 British and First Nations against 3500 Americans. Tecumseh at this point did not trust Proctor, which was later justified after Proctor only sent one British Battalion with only one single six pound cannon to battle. Regardless, that afternoon Tecumseh held strong and rode into battle with his Deputy Oshawahnah the Chief of the Chippewa leading forces from the Shawnee, Ottawa, Delaware, Wyandot and the Sac, Fox, Kickapoo, Winnebag, Potwatomi, and Creek Tribes, about 500 in all. Tecumseh died in battle with circumstances surrounding his death remaining a mystery. Proctor later fled battle to rejoin his family in nearby Moraviantown. He tried to blame his men for the loss of the Battle of the Thames, but that did not save him from disgrace, being suspended from rank and pay for six months.

To the Americans, the Battle of the Thames avenged the atrocities General Proctor lead on the American Captives during the River Raisin Massacre. The battle neutralized Anglo-First Nation threat and proved Tecumseh to be an irreplaceable loss to the war.

As I walked through the forest and along the river bank, I found it hard to visualize the former battlefield. The entire place was eerily peaceful, and it was hard to believe that the same spot I was walking was once a firing ground. The stop along the highway is simple at best, nothing remains of its bloody past, but the feeling you get when you  are in the same spot the Tecumseh took his last stand, completely surrounded by history, is simply amazing.

If you are interested in visiting the Battle of the Thames site, the directions are as follows:

From the east – from Highway 401 heading west, merge onto Highway 402 West towards Sarnia. Take Exit 86, and turn right onto County Road 2/Longwoods Road towards Melbourne/Delaware. Continue on County Road 2/Longwoods Road until you arrive at the road closure.

From the south/west – from Highway 401 heading east, take Exit 109 and turn left onto Victoria Road/County Road 17/County Road 21 (signs for County Road 21 North/Victoria Road). Turn right onto London Road/Longwoods Road (signs for County Road 2 East), and continue on Longwoods Road until you arrive at the road closure.

- Written by MOA Curatorial Staff


Wampum belts 1812 exhibit

What are wampums?

Wampums are visual memory keepers that help record history and communicate ideas. Beaded patterns represent a person, nation, event, invitation, shared values and understandings/agreements between two or more parties.  Traditional wampum belts were used as covenants and petitions for understanding. Words spoken during an agreement are made into wampum to be used for ceremony, teaching, and reminders of law and values.

Who do they belong to?

Wampums belong to the Iroquois Confederacy, or Haudenosaunee. The beads are from the Atlantic coast. The Wampanoag People along the American east coast around Boston, MA traded in Wampum with the Haudenosaunee. Ancient wampums are often replicated for educational purposes and to protect their fragility since some date back to before European contact in Canada. For example, the “War of 1812: The Chippewa Experience” is a feature exhibit at MOA on display until April 2015. It features three replica wampum belts from the late 1700s and early 1800s.

Chippewa Exhibit 1812
War of 1812: The Chippewa Experience – Exhibit on display at MOA until April 2015
1812 Chippewa Experience
War of 1812: The Chippewa Experience – Exhibit on display at MOA until April 2015


What are wampum strings?

Wampum strings can be used to invite other nations to meetings. They include the topic that the meeting will discuss based on the colour of beads and number of strings. At the end of the strings is a wooden stick with notches which tells when the meeting will take place. Notches are cut off after each passing day until none remain. This marks the meeting date.

Wampum strings can also signify a position of honour. Clan Mothers or Chiefs are passed down a special wampum string from the previous leader. Carrying their own wampum string shows their place in the community as a leader.

What are they made of?

Wampum beads are made of two different shells: the quahog and white welk shell. Quahog clam shells are purple or black in colour and represent war and suffering while welk shells are symbols of power, peace, goodness and friendship.

Shell beads are used because shells retain words spoken over it and pass these words on from generation to generation.

Beads are hand made by breaking the shell, drilling a hole, and grinding it into a tubular shape. It is  a long and delicate process.

What do they symbolize?

Today, the people who can read wampum belts are recognized as oral historians and storytellers. They have apprenticed to learn this knowledge and often how to make wampum beads.

The Hiawatha Belt

Image source: Popular Science Monthly Volume 28
Image source: Popular Science Monthly Volume 28

The Hiawatha belt is one of the most recognized wampum. It symbolizes the agreement between the 5 original Haudenosaunee nations and their promise to support each other in unity. The central symbol is a tree (representing the Onondaga Nation – where the Peacemaker planted the Tree of Peace and under which the leaders of the Five Nations buried their weapons). Four white squares from left to right represent the Seneca, Cayuga, Oneida, and Mohawk tribes. Lines extending from the tribes stand for a path which other nations may follow if they agree to live in peace and join the Confederacy.


Two Row Wampum (Kaswehntha)


This wampum is a 17th century treaty with the Dutch (when Europeans asked to live on the land). It symoblizes cooperation and serving a common interest. Two rows of purple are separated by three white rows. The white symoblize peace, a good mind, and strength. The wampum belt as a whole symbolizes one river with two vessels (the purple lines) traveling side by side. One purple line/vessel is a ship, representing the Dutch and another is a canoe, the Haudenosaunee. Inside each vessel are the people, traditions, laws, and ways of life. These two lines (or nations) are distinct and have a right to steer their own vessel without interference.

Dish with One Spoon

Wampum belts 1812 exhibit
Dish with One Spoon wampum (top left corner) from 1812 exhibit

This wampum belt is one of the most significant belts because it represents the first peace treaty made in North America between all Native nations before European contact. (Made between the League of Five Nations and its allies, and the confederacy of Anishinabek and allied nations). The dish with one spoon reminds people we only have one dish, one mother earth we can take from. We should take only what we need, leave something for others, and keep the dish clean. It also demonstrates our collective responsibility to share equally.


How can I learn more?

Wampum bead craft
Wampum bead workshop craft

Visiting groups can book a tour at MOA to learn about Wampums and make a wampum craft with a partner, learning about and creating an non-written wampum agreement.


Sources consulted:

A special Thank You to Dr. Mary Lou Smoke & Dr. Dan Smoke for their review of this information and providing further knowledge 





Lizard Pipes

In his 1914 archaeology report on Ontario Effigy Pipes in Stone, Col. Geo. E. Laidlaw writes about the unique Lizard Pipe specimens in Ontario, of which we have on display in our permanent exhibit with a unique provenance.

Lizard Pipes are ” nearly always a white or light-gray stone, [of] steatite and limestone.” Steatite pipes, being a stronger material, have held their carved features better than the softer limestone. Col. Laidlaw distinguishes two categories of effigy pipes:

“1st, Long slender stemmed pipes, with effigies, either human or lizard, clasping the front of the bowl, with head projecting above rim, and when the effigy is a lizard the tail extends along underside of stem. Sometimes only the human head is represented (in one case an animal) perched on edge of bowl.
2nd, Stemless bowls of an ovoid or vase type, with the effigies clasping, or crawling up the bowl on the opposite side of the stem hole. In this second division, so far as observed, the effigies are those of lizards, with one exception.” **

Stemmed Lizard Pipe
Stemmed Lizard Pipe
Source: Ontario Effigy Pipes in Stone.
Stemless lizard pipe
Stemless Lizard Pipe Source: Ontario Effigy Pipes in Stone.

The 1st style is on display in our permanent exhibit with the Lawson Site artifacts, accompanied by this news article:

“Rare Indian Lizard Pipe Given to the University Museum”
-  January 1943 – London Free Press news article.

Long known and coveted by collectors throughout the country, and also the subject of articles by various archaeologists in recent years, an Indian Lizard pipe of unique design has just been acquired by the Museum of Indian Archaeology at the University of Western Ontario. The pipe was originally found on the Lawson Prehistoric Village site near London, originally known as the Shaw Woods Estate. Historians have found abundant evidence of an Indian Village existing on this spot and dating back before the French explorers arrived in the 17th century. The Lizard pipe was found here by the late John Sonly, farm manager, half a century ago, while digging up a large elm root. It is of grey limestone. With the stem three inches long. The stem has a lizard clinging to it, and in front of the bowl a human head faces away from the smoker – a variation from the usual design in such pipes, where the head normally faces the person using the pipe. Col. G.E. Laidlaw, in an article on “Effigy Pipes in Stone,” appearing in the 1923 Archaeological Report, Department of Education, Ontario, says the pipe, […] is attributed to the Attiwandaron tribe. It was for many years in possession of Mr. Schreiber, of London, daughter of Mr. Sonly, who found it. It was sold by Mrs. Schreiber to W.H. Coverdale, president of the Canada Steamship Lines, who has now presented it to the University of Western Ontario where its advent is a cause of much pride to Wilfrid Jury, curator of the Museum.

** Images and further descriptions can be found in the digital version of the paper at:

Gloves or no gloves?

Glove: Fact or Fiction

To wear gloves or not to wear gloves? This is a question archaeologist and historians have been debating for decades. Traditionally gloves were used when handling all artifacts, but new evidence suggests that wearing gloves might actually do more harm than good.

Read the following statements and try to determine whether they are  fact, or just a myth! Once you have your answer, scroll down to see if you are correct!

Good luck!

#1: People have oils in their skin that can be harmful to artifact(s) they handle.

#2: You don’t need to wear gloves when handling manuscripts, touching them is actually good!

#3:  You need to wear gloves when handling all textiles and furniture, the wood and fabric will decay if you touch it.

#4:  All gloves do the same thing, and provide the same protection.

#5: Wearing gloves is necessary when handling bone

Jesuit Artifacts


#1: People have oils in their skin that can be harmful to artifact(s) they handle. Answer: Fact!

While you might not be able to see it, these oils can leave a film on artifacts that deteriorate over time and damage the artifacts. Skin secretes oils, salts, and other wastes that react with certain materials. For example, something as simple as a finger print on a piece of metal can cause corrosion and irreversible damage. The damage can take weeks, and sometimes decades! (Be careful with that coin collection!)

 #2: You don’t need to wear gloves when handling manuscripts, touching them is actually good! Answer: Fact!

The necessity of wearing gloves when handling manuscripts is a common misconception.  Manuscripts are not typically made out of paper like modern books, but rather a material called vellum.  Vellum is a form of paper that was commonly used throughout the Middle and Early Modern ages.  It is made out of calf skin and could be made into many shapes and sizes to produce scrolls, letters, and large books. The process of turning the skin into vellum involves: cleaning, bleaching, and stretching the skin into the desired shape, and finishing it with a treatment of lime or chalk to help keep the ink from bleeding. If the manuscript is made of vellum, the oils in your hands are actually good for replenishing the moisture in the material which can harden and become brittle with age. It is recommended that manuscripts are handled at least a few times per year by clean dry hands in order to help keep the pages from breaking.

Fun Fact: All declarations made by the British Parliament are still printed on vellum!

#3:  You need to wear gloves when handling all textiles and furniture, the wood and fabric will decay if you touch it. Answer: Myth!

While gloves are required for handling most textiles and wooden artifacts, gloves are not always the safest option. When dealing with small wooden artifacts, or furniture pieces, the gloves can cause the handler to lose their grip on the artifact as the make an already slippery surface even slipperier. When deciding whether or not to wear gloves one must always weigh the pros and cons; sometimes no gloves are the safest bet!

#4: All gloves do the same thing, and provide the same protection. Answer: Myth!

There are many different kinds of gloves that are used for different kinds of material, and these gloves have different purposes. The two main types of gloves used in museums and archives are:

  • Disposable vinyl or latex gloves: These are non-absorbent, making them good for objects that are dusty; they are also useful when dealing with artifacts that have a rough surface as they have no fibers that can get caught.  These types of gloves can also give the handler more grip on a smooth artifact.
  • Cotton gloves: These are good for clean objects that are not very rough or very smooth. However, there has been a shift amongst museologists and archivists recently that discredits the use of this type of glove– as their thickness and seams can restrict feeling, and the gloves don’t stop moisture and sweat from leaving the handler’s hands!

#5: Wearing gloves is necessary when handling bone. Answer: Fact!

Whenever bones of any kind are being handled it is nessissary to wear gloves, not only for the artifacts protection, but also for the handlers. Bones can contain bacteria, while most of the time the bacteria has vanished, traces can still be present which can get someone sick! Further, bones are sensitive material that can be deteriorated by the oils in your hands.


We hope you did well on the Fact or Myth and that you learned a lot about the artifact handling process. Feel free to get your (bare) hands on some artifacts with our Education Programs or our hands-on displays in MOA’s permanent exhibit.

In case you were still wondering, below is the complete list of artifacts that require gloves before handling based on guidelines set by the Museum Of London. (But remember, when it comes to gloves it is best to use your own judgment to determine what is the safest way to handle an artifact!)

  • All metals
  • Painted furniture
  • Lacquered or gilded surfaces
  • Anything made from plaster
  • Taxidermy
  • Geological specimens
  • Plastics
  • Photographic items
  • Unglazed ceramics
  • Human and animal remains

Wilfrid Jury’s Christmas 1898

Jury family farmhouse
Jury family farmhouse

A Farm Boy’s Christmas, 1898

Written by Wilfrid Jury

The Christmas spirit started in November with practice on Tuesday and Friday night at the church for the Sunday school concert, one of the highlights of going to Sunday school. If you could sing or play the mouth organ, [jaw] harp or tin whistle, fine – otherwise you took part in a dialogue or gave a recitation. If you were lucky you got a ride there in a buggy, more often walked, hoping it would snow so you could get the cutter out soon. Skating wasn’t possible until Christmas, if you were lucky enough to have it cold enough by then to freeze the pond.

After the Sunday school concert Christmas preparations were in full swing. The house took on the Christmas smell – mince meat being prepared, the plum pudding mixed (everyone took turns stirring it) seeding raisins, shelling nuts, polishing cutlery. Getting the house straightened up for the big event.

Then came the Saturday before Christmas when all of us went to London.

My most vivid recollection was the time we went to  London in the cutter [a light horse-drawn sleigh]. I had saved enough to buy Mother, Dad and my sister Irene a present, a whole dollar and a half. After we finished the chores, we all got dressed up. The bricks we put in the oven the night before were put on the floor of the cutter on top of the sheepskin rug to keep our feet warm for the two hour drive to London. It was cold even under the woolen horse blanket with the buffalo robe over it. By the time we reached Cameron’s side road I was cold in the pit of my stomach. By the time we got the horse put up at the Morken Hotel (now the Mayfair) my feet, cased in a tight pair of Sunday shoes, were numb. My fingers had the hot ache. The bricks were carried into the hotel and placed on the hot water register in preparation for the trip home. Father went in the bar and had a hot drink of rum while I stood over a register, gradually thawing out. Mother and Irene had disappeared. […]

My first visit was to the Market House. On the way there through the Market I saw many of our neighbours standing beside their sleighs, selling butter and eggs, or potatoes covered with horse blankets to keep them from freezing, or a load of hay or wood. The Market House was filled with butcher shops – carcasses of beef, sheep, calves and pigs. The flanks and sides of beef were artistically decorated with ferns and flowers skillfully carved. They were hung from large iron hooks. It was a very impressive display. At George Morris’ stall hung the first prize steer from the Toronto Winter Fair. For years our Christmas roast of beef was a choice cut from it […].

Then I was off, up the Market Lane and along Dundas Street to see the window displays. Smallman and Ingram’s* (Simpson’s) had a wonderful array of toys and Christmas presents.

I was on my way to Gurds gun store then to Billy Brock’s gun shop. They both knew me from carrying the minnow pail for them when they weren’t fishing with Dad but I wasn’t wasting any of my Christmas money on percussion caps. After going up Dundas Street as far as McCormacks Biscuit Factory (where the Armouries now stand), I crossed the street but first I went to Chapman’s butcher shop to see Tom Timbrell an old friend of Dad’s.

After I had crossed the street I didn’t know anyone until I came to the dentist, Dr. Solon Woolverton’s office. He had the largest collection of Indian relics in London. My, how I envied him and his knowledge of the use of the artifacts he had collected. I went home more determined than ever to have a good collection of my own.

After that my next stop was the Oak Hall clothing store. The only thing I knew about that store was when Mother bought me a suit there, they gave me a baseball bat. By the time I got to Talbot Street I crossed Dundas, passed the City Hotel (now Belvedere) and went into Ed Platt’s store. It was there Dad often left me when I came to London with him. Mr Platt had shown me how to fold drug powder papers and put in the powder already weighed out.

I never liked being left at G. B. Coxes hide store. It was smelly and cold in winter. Only thing, he had a cute small dog that liked me. Right across the street was Charlie Cowan’s seed and feed store. […]

I was told to get my hair cut and given 15 cents and again warned to be back at 3:00 p.m. It was time now to get my Christmas presents. I’d pretty well made up my mind what to get. I went to the corner of Dundas and Richmond to Clark’s tobacco store. There was a large display of pipes from 25 cents and up. I got Mr Clark to pick me out a 50 cents pipe for Dad. Next I went to Smallman and Ingrams and got Mother a 50 cents hair comb. I had 50 cents left to get Irene a book.

Then I was off to the barber shop, Many Finch’s not far from the Morken Hotel. When I went to pay him he wouldn’t take the 15 cents, of course he was married to Dad’s first cousin and they used to visit us in the summertime. I went back uptown and bought myself a pencil box. When I got back to the hotel I was there first.[…]


Wilfrid Jury and his sister Irene
Wilfrid Jury and his sister Irene

Christmas was on Tuesday that year. Monday afternoon Irene and I took my hand sleigh and went to the cedar swamp for a well shaped cedar. I still like the clean odour of a cedar. In the evening we popped corn and strung it for decoration on our tree. Mother had a kettle of red diamond dye and we pulled our string of popcorn through. It came out a brilliant red when it was dry. Our old large red paper bell was hung over the tree – everything was ready.

Nothing on or under the tree would be opened until Grandpa and Uncle John arrived and after we had dinner. Then we had the long awaited thrill of finding out what we had and how the gifts we gave pleased everyone.

The afternoon was spent playing crockinole. We kids cracked nuts, hazel nuts, walnuts and hickory nuts that we had gathered in the fall. Some one was sure to hit his fingers. I always wound up having to crack the nuts so it was actually me. […]

Then the real game of crockinole got underway until the sing song around the organ. Prayers about 10:30 p.m., with every one on their knees. We all helped Mother wash dishes. I took the last look at my spring skates that wouldn’t fit my shoes and there were no straps but I was happy. I got what I wanted. Dad was smoking his pipe. And by New Year’s the creek might be frozen when we went to Grandpa’s and I could get out and try my skates.

Staff Profile: Digital Content Creators

Meet MOA’s newest staff: Our Digital Content Creators

Hello, my name is Jordan T. Downey and I am working at MOA as an Archaeology Digital Content Creator.
Hello readers! My name is Katrina Pasierbek and I am thrilled to join the Museum of Ontario Archaeology staff as the Digital Content Creator for Education.

We are both creating some great digital content to enhance your online MOA experience.

Jordan Downey
Jordan Downey, MOA Archaeology Digital Content Creator 2015

Over the next few months I will be writing material for the museum’s website so that you can learn more about Ontario archaeology both before and after your visit to the museum. I plan to write a series of posts about how and why we do archaeology in Ontario and how people lived at the Lawson Site and other sites like it. I also plan to invite prominent and up-and-coming Ontario archaeologists to contribute to our website with some of their own projects and experiences.

A little bit about Jordan:

I have been doing archaeology for 10 years now, both as an academic researcher and working for archaeological consulting companies. In that time I completed a field school at the Princess Point site in Hamilton and have surveyed and excavated at dozens of sites throughout Ontario. I hold an archaeology research license from the Ontario Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Sport.

Besides working on archaeology consulting teams in Ontario, I have completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto, my M.A at Trent University, and I am currently completing my Ph.D at Western University. My Ph.D. research uses satellite photos to determine when and how major political changes took place in northern Peru.

I have been fortunate to get to travel to a lot of museums and archaeological sites around the world. One of my favourites is the site museum at Cahokia. Cahokia is a large, impressive, and very important archaeological site in southern Illinois and is an absolute must-see. The museum is very well done. Besides lots of incredible artifacts and informative displays, they have done a very good job of showing how archaeologists study the past and how we make interpretations about what life was like at a North American city 1500 years ago.

I will be spending the next three months creating educational lesson plans tailored to the programming currently offered at the MOA. We hope to extend the learning of our young visitors back into the classroom with pre- and post-museum visit lessons and activities.

Katrina Paiserbek
Katrina Paiserbek, MOA Education Digital Content Creator

A little about Katrina:
My formal education coupled with my experience working in museums will prove to be an asset for my position here at the MOA. After becoming an Ontario certified teacher I completed my Master of Arts degree in History at Western University. I am also a researcher for the First World War exhibit ‘Souterrain Impressions’, scheduled to launch in April 2015. *Click the link to see an exciting video! 
I also work at Eldon House, and volunteer at Banting House National Historic Site of Canada.

An interesting fact about me is that I was featured in a 2013 short documentary entitled “For the Dead and the Living.” Three filmmakers from Western University followed myself and fifteen other Canadian teachers to Kraków, Poland where we learned how to translate the lessons of the Holocaust to Canadian students. This experience allowed us the opportunity to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, which is by far the most moving museum I have visited.

Work Study Profile: Falon

Education Assistant Falon Fox

Name: Falon Fox

How long have you been a work study student at MOA?  Since the beginning of November 2014.

What is your job title and what do you do? I am an education assistant, which means I assist in the educational programming of the classes/guests who sign up for activities. So far I have mostly been involved with the preparation phase but I am looking forward to the artifacts and tour portion of the programming schedule!

What led you to this position? The background I have for this position is my undergraduate career at Western. While studying history extensively over the past five years, it’s enabled me to memorize facts quite easily, which will of course come in handy for the artifacts and tour component of my job.

What inspired you to work at MOA? I have always wanted to work in a museum; the experience would be extremely valuable for future job opportunities. To have a job that I not only enjoy but also relevant to my future career is priceless.

What do you love about being a staff member at MOA? I absolutely love the people who work with me, they are incredibly helpful and patient which makes me excited to come to work every week! Though I haven’t quite done it yet I have a feeling that my favourite part of the job would be the artifacts and tour portion of the program.

 If there was one thing you could tell the world about MOA, what would it be? Great People, Great Stories, fun experience!

What advice can you give others?  Say to yourself: “I will try my best” and then everything will fall into place.

When you’re not at work, what do you enjoy doing? I love watching movies whether it be from the Hollywood or Bollywood industry. I also love to write in my spare time  and read plenty of books.

 Have you had some memorable experiences at MOA in your time here? If I laugh then the experience is memorable and I have already had a few at MOA.