Pop-Up Museum Activities throughout March Break
If you’re spending March break with your kids (or grandkids) you can bring them by the museum for a visit. We are open Monday to Friday from 10 am – 4:30 pm and will be featuring different ‘pop-up’ museum activities throughout the week. These will include crafts, games, and interactive exhibit additions. To find out what we are doing and at what time, pay close attention to our Facebook page where the day’s activities will be revealed each morning. Pop-up activities will include snowsnake throwing, pottery reconstruction, cookie excavations, snow painting, storytelling, and more! Regular admission rates apply.
March Break – MOA Olympics!
March break is fast approaching. Beginning Monday March 10, and continuing all the way to Friday March 14, children throughout the London region will be off school and looking for things to do. So, come join us here at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology, where we will once again be hosting our popular March break children’s day-camp for ages 5-9.
This year’s theme is the MOA Olympics; children will explore the origins of these events in ancient Greece, they will play sports and games from around the world, discover the modern day Olympics and their mascots. Everything will come together in a day of friendly competition on Friday.
MOA camps are designed to feature a variety of activities to interest all. The MOA Olympics week will be filled with games, crafts and physical activity – and of course some learning throughout!
Children will create their own olive leaf crowns, Olympic medals and mascots; they will play winter sports, such as snowshoeing, a special winter outdoor obstacle course, as well as First Nations traditional sports, such as snowsnake throwing, lacrosse and owl hop.
Children may attend camp for all five days ($135/child), or try camp for single days ($35/day/child).
Spaces are filling up fast! Registration details at www.archaeologymuseum.ca/programs/march-break/
MOA Education Programming and the Ontario Curriculum
There are many considerations to keep in mind when developing education school programs: suitability to age groups, time needed, relevance to the museum content, but the most important is compatibility with the official curriculum, which can be found here . Teachers must prove their field trips are in line with the curriculum; so, we make it easy for them.
All the Museum of Ontario Archaeology school programming is designed to compliment the Ontario Curriculum, primarily Social Studies, as that is the most fitting compliment to archaeology and First Nations history and culture. However, we also compliment the Arts, Science and Technology and Mathematics when applicable.
For example, our gallery tour for grade 2, compliments the Social Studies curriculum, specifically Grade 2 Social Studies, Heritage and Identity: Changing Family and Community Traditions, as well as People and Environments: Global Communities. Beyond Social Studies the program also compliments Grade 2 Science and technology, Understanding Life Systems: Growth and Changes and Grade 2 Mathematics, Patterning and Algebra.
The MOA education programming was updated for the new 2013 Social Studies curriculum. This new curriculum stresses the 6 concepts of disciplinary thinking, which means students should be given the tools to consider for themselves: significance, cause and consequence, continuity and change, patterns and trends, interrelationships and perspective. Museum programming has an ideally beneficial element that is more difficult to find in school settings, and that is the ease at which we can create experiential learning. Students can experience archaeology through the handling of artefacts and First Nations history by spending an afternoon in a longhouse and making traditional First Nations crafts.
Finally, another very important element within education programming is tailoring to each group of students. We do this by observing students closely, adjusting our tours and programs as we go.
Learn more about what programs we offer by visiting our Educational Programming page.
My name is Rowa Mohamed. I started working at MOA in October. I’m a museum gift shop assistant. I greet guests, answer calls, do inventory and book workshops, events, birthday parties and tours. I started working at the museum through the work-study program at UWO. I have had a variety of work experience and am always looking for a new experience. I remember the museum from my childhood and was excited to return as an adult. My favorite part of my job is meeting the diverse people that pass through! MOA is a great organization that’s a little hidden, I would recommend to everyone to visit it at some point. It is one of the few sites left to learn about Aboriginal culture. When I’m not at work I am a regular volunteer at the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, a Home Healthcare associate and a Health Sciences Student.
Hello, I’m Stephanie. I have been working at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology for the past 3 years. My position is gift shop assistant and it entails helping customers, answering the phone, booking tours and birthday parties as well as being the first impression of the museum when people come in.
I began working at the museum through work study at Western. Work study has helped me financially to make it through university. I currently work at the YMCA as well, and through the YMCA I gained skills such as customer service and good work ethics. At the YMCA I work with all sorts of people from young children, as small as three months to adults that all come from different parts of the world. This has helped me flourish at the Museum because I am able to provide a richer experience for the visitors that come.
I wanted to work at the Museum because I was interested in the First Nation culture and I also wanted to gain more experience outside of the YMCA.
My favourite part about working at MOA is all the people I have met the staff but as well visitors that have come by. Each visitor has their own story and I always enjoy learning about different cultures and customs.
If I could tell the world one thing about MOA, you always have to come back for some more. Going once around the museum isn’t enough, because when you come back there is always something else to be learned.
Since I have started working here, my job has changed, this past summer I signed up to be one of the camp counselors and was helping the educational programs whenever it was needed. Because I started to help the educational programs this has helped me out at the front desk, I am able to give detail information to the visitors and to explain the programs in depth.
People should try working at a non-profit organization at least once in their careers because it has an enriching experience that can be carried over for the rest of your life. You develop good work ethics as well as worker moral and helping others is a good feeling.
When I am not working, I enjoy reading, painting and reading.
My one memorable experience at MOA, is my disastrous experience baking in the kitchen. I was suppose to bake cookies in the oven, but little did I know that 20 minutes later I would find the oven covered in plastic and the cookies barely baked. I had accidently placed the cookies a plastic sheet thinking it was a metal sheet in the oven which then had melted all over the oven. Pictures were even taken! Since then I haven’t been asked to bake anything…and I don’t blame them!
Flotation Technique in Archaeology
What is it?
Flotation uses water to process soil samples and recover tiny artifacts that would not ordinarily be recovered when screening soil during an archaeological investigation. The reason these artifacts aren’t normally recovered is that they are so tiny that they fall through the ¼” screen typically used by archaeologists to sift the soil.
To recover tiny artifacts, a soil sample is placed on a screen and with the addition of water; artifacts are separate from the dirt particles. Light materials (called light fraction) float on top of the water while heaver materials such as bone, pottery, and stone rest on the screen. Light materials include plant remains, seeds, and insects which can reveal information about diet, environment, and climate.
Heavy and light materials are collected separately and placed on a tray to dry. Once the sample has thoroughly dried, the material is placed in archival bags for storage and further research.
What does MOA use?
We’re using the bucket flotation method to process soil samples. It is a hand method sometimes referred to as wet sieving. Large-scale excavations may use a flotation machine as more soil samples can be processed in a shorter time period.
Why are we doing it?
Many of the boxes in MOA’s collection contain soil samples which have never been processed. (We have boxes filled with bags of dirt!) Through flotation, we are uncovering these artifacts so that they can be added to our collection. (And lighten the load in our storage room!).
When are we doing it?
We started floating our soil samples during the summer of 2013, and will continue until all the samples in our collection have been processed. You can see demonstrations of our flotation process during special events like the Winter Village Family Fun Day being held on February 17, 2014 and Wilfrid Jury Archaeology Day in July.
Work study profile: Erik Skouris
How long have you worked at MOA?
I have been at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology for 6 months.
What is your job title and what do you do?
I am a Curatorial Assistant. I assist Joan Kanigan, the Executive Director, with various assigned and ongoing projects. This includes processing the Museum’s collections and registering, accessing, cataloguing, and shelving the museum’s existing objects. I also maintain inventory and documentation according to Ontario curatorial standards. I have prepared various reports regarding collection activities and conditions of archival objects as well. Currently, I am assisting in an exhibit design. The exhibition is titled, “What Archaeologists Do In The Winter”.
What is background/training have you completed for this current position?
I am currently enrolled in my third year of studies at the University of Western Ontario, while completing my Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. I feel that my education and experience, coupled with a strong social and creative desire to work amongst the arts and public, has made me an ideal candidate for this position. This position will enable me to apply my skills and talents, while engaging with others in the London art and archaeology community.
What inspired you to work at MOA?
I have always had an interest in collections, history, and the “mysteries” of a museum. I am grateful to have obtained a position at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology as it allows for me work alongside all of these passions and interests on a regular basis.
What do you love about being a workstudy student at MOA?
I enjoy working with all of the staff at the Museum of Ontario Archeology. They are extremely supportive and always willing to accommodate work study students such as myself.
If there was one thing you could tell the world about MOA, what would it be?
I would encourage the public to plan a visit to the Museum of Ontario Archaeology. The museum has a vast and interesting collection of local material. I believe that it is important and crucial to know about our city’s (London, ON) past.
What are you currently working on?
As previously mentioned, I am currently assisting in an exhibit design. The exhibition is titled, “What Archaeologists Do In The Winter”. Joan Kanigan, knew of my past design and creative experiences and asked that I help conceptualize and plan the winter exhibition. Before I began, I needed to think through every exacting detail and leave nothing to chance. This requires a lot of preliminary research on my part.
The “What Archaeologists Do In The Winter” exhibition is intended to inform the public of what Archaeologists do in the cold, Canadian winters when excavating is not an option. The exhibition consists of four stations that give the public of a “behind the scenes” experience that is not normally displayed. These four stations are titled: Cleaning, Floating, Re-boxing, and Cataloguing. Each station displays text panels, images, and museum staff and volunteers performing their regular duties for all to see. The exhibition is very informative.
Currently, the museum has Timmins Martell Heritage Consultants assisting with the exhibition as well. Timmins Martell are cleaning and cataloguing their excavated material from the Fugitive Slave Chapel site in London, ON.
How has your job changed since you started?
I am beginning to get more involved with exhibition design and planning. I want to pursue exhibition design as a potential career following post-graduate education, so this experience is relevant and rewarding on a long term basis. Also, as I am becoming increasingly aware of the museum and its daily functions and projects, I am able to train new volunteers that are keen and interested in assisting and getting involved.
What advice can you give others?
If one is interested in pursuing a museum-related career, I would suggest getting involved in any way possible. This may include volunteering for casual or regularly scheduled positions, or researching programs (such as the University of Western Ontario’s Work Study Program) that may offered an income and experience.
When you’re not at work, what do you enjoy doing?
When not at the museum or school, I am also a practicing artist. My work exhibits an interpretation, proximity, and relationship of an artist’s constructed environment, landscape and human presence. I avidly paint and draw in spare time. My website is eskouris.wordpress.com. I also play hockey, work with the City of London, and have an Internship at a London-based contemporary art gallery.
Do you have a favourite moment or story you would like to share?
This Christmas, the museum ordered in Wok Box for all to eat and enjoy. I ate 6 full plates worth of food. All the staff members were astonished at what a 20 year boy could eat.
How Archaeologists Get a Date
A Valentine’s Day blog post
Archaeologists like to use several dating methods to find out more about artifacts. It all depends on what the object is, where the archaeologist is located (what resources he/she has access to), and how old the artifact appears to be.
What is eligible for dating?
Not every artifact is eligible for all dating methods; for example, an artifact must be made from a carbon-based material to use radiocarbon dating (stone, for example doesn’t have carbon). A stone artifact can be dated based on the way it looks and/or the way it was made. Over many years of research chronologies of stone tools (and pottery) have been built, based on styles (called Seriation).
Archaeologists can also be matchmakers by using the context, which is the where, when and how an artifact is found. In the end, archaeologists often use a few different methods on an group of artifacts found together to come up with a reasonable date.
Relative Dating: Doesn’t mean an archaeologist is dating his Aunt Betty….
Relative dating gives you the age of an artifact in relation to another object.
- Objects found deeper in the ground are older (law of superposition)
- Type dating (Seriation): types of artifacts are arranged chronologically according to style. Type dating can be done with modern cars to stone tools.
- Fluorine dating: bones buried at the same time will absorb the same amount of fluorine from the soil which means they must be the same age.
Calendar dating: According to the New York Times, the best day to go on a date is Wednesday….
- Absolute dating: Only possible with objects that have dates inscribed on them (ie: coins)
- Chronometric dating: Measures the time since something has elapsed.
- Radiocarbon dating: This method is based on the radioactive decay of carbon-14 isotope (14C). When a carbon-based organism dies, any 14C absorbed during its life begins radioactive decay at a rate measured by “half-life” (how long it takes half of it to decay). 14C has a half life of 5,730 years. A mass spectrometer is used to measure how much of the half life is left and calculates the time that has elapsed since it died. Problem: it has been discovered that levels of 14C in the atmosphere fluctuated in the past but has been calibrated by comparison to dendrochonological records. Archaeologists & physicists can only date organisms as old as 50,000 years with this method.
- Tree-ring dating (dendrochronology): Here’s a cheesy pick up line you’re welcome to use: “You may fall from the sky, you may fall from a tree, but the best way to fall… is in love with me.”
Dating based on growth rings of a tree. Archaeologists can find the specific year a tree was cut to make a wooden object. (This requires enough wood in an artifact to see the rings.)
- Potassium-argon: “Do you have a K-Ar? because you Auto be my Valentine.” (That was a bit of a stretch!)
This method measures the radioactive decay of potassium into argon gas. It has a “half life” of 1.31 billion years but the artifact needs to have the required minerals (such as mica, clay minerals, tephra, and evaporites).
- Archaeomagnetism: Archaeologists are so attracting!
Iron particles in heated soil align themselves with the poles. The North Pole’s magnetic field shifts at a known rate so archaeologists can measure the magnetic alignment in the ground and compare it with today’s alignment.
- Thermoluminescence dating: This is where things get really hot!
Measures the accumulated radiation dose of the time since the artifact containing crystalline mineral was heated (ceramics) or exposed to sun.
- Lead corrosion
- Amino Acid
- Obsidian hydration
- Optically stimulated luminescence
White, Nancy Marie. Archaeology for Dummies. Hoboken, NJ : Wiley Publishing, Inc., 2008. Print.
Staff Profile Blog: Joan Kanigan
I joined the Museum of Ontario Archaeology as Executive Director in May of 2012. This was an exciting change for me as it allowed me to merge two of my passions – museums and archaeology. What excites me most about working at MOA is that I believe museums can profoundly change people, and that MOA has tremendous potential to inspire the archaeologist in everyone. Museums are great for unleashing our natural curiosity, expand our understanding, and, broaden our sense of place in the world. What makes MOA unique is the connection the museum has to past human experiences. I believe museums connect people through shared experiences, and through archaeology, we can connect with the countless generations that have come before us.
Since joining the MOA team, the museum has seen many changes. With input from many community members, we redeveloped our mission statement to clearly articulate our “why” what we do is important. We have also created a new logo to support our belief that archaeology is (first and foremost) about people and that the role of the museum is also (first and foremost) to serve people. We will soon start planning for a complete redesign of the museum’s permanent exhibits and I am looking forward to involving the community throughout the planning and design phases.
As a museum manager, I am committed to increasing community engagement by providing opportunities for groups and individuals to share in organizational decision making, developing programs that meet identified community needs, and establishing partnerships that build capacity within the cultural sector. I believe museums must be socially responsible institutions and serve the communities they represent and I am excited to be a part of making this happen for MOA.
Prior to joining MOA, I was Executive Director of the Brant Historical Society for 5 years and was responsible for the Brant Museum and Archives, Myrtleville House Museum and the Museum-in-the-Square. Originally from Saskatchewan, I have always had a passion for heritage and non-profit organizations. I’ve worked as a senior manager for over 18 years, working to improve not only the organizations I serve, but also the communities that they serve.
Before coming to Ontario, I served as Executive Director for the Museums Association of Saskatchewan (MAS). During that time I was responsible for overseeing the development of a new strategic plan, significant revisions to Saskatchewan’s Museum Grant Program, and the introduction of a marketing campaign to raise the profile of museums in the province. In 2004, I took a one-year leave of absence to serve as Heritage Policy Analyst for the Department of Culture, Youth and Recreation in the Government of Saskatchewan. During this time I redeveloped the Provincial Heritage Property Designation Program and establishing management options for the Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation and Claybank Brick Plant National Historic Site. Prior to working for MAS, I was the Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Organization for Heritage Languages.
I am an advocate of continual learning whether formally or informally. Currently I’m studying to receive my Certified Association Executive designation through the Canadian Society of Association Executives. I have a Master of Arts in Anthropology from Trent University, a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Political Science from the University of Regina, and a Certificate in Museum Management and Curatorship from Sir Sandford Fleming College. Informally, I read books and articles on topics of interest, following thought leaders (via social media) both within my industry and more widely in areas of leadership and management, and take advantage of opportunities to network with peers. I also like to take advantage of my daily commute which is about 45 min. each way to listen to audio recordings and podcasts.