Navigate / search

Lawson Site Changes: Part 1

For the past number of years, visitors to the Lawson Site will have noted an ongoing state of deterioration.  Over the years, weather, animals, and time have not been kind to the interpretive signs, gardens, and buildings.  The process of remediating the site and developing an ongoing management plan are now underway and over the next few years, visitors will start to see ongoing improvements.

Small longhouse as it appeared in 2015.
Condition of small longhouse in 2015.

One of the first big changes at the Lawson Site was the removal of the small reconstructed longhouse adjacent to the forest.  Originally built in 2002, the small longhouse helped illustrated the variation in house sizes at the Lawson Site but was closed to the public about 5 years ago when it became unsafe.

In 2015, the decision was made to dismantle the small longhouse, and thanks to a group of staff and volunteers the longhouse was removed at the beginning of the summer.  The initial plan was to leave the main support posts to mark the original location of the longhouse but unfortunately, the posts were so badly deteriorated that they had to be completely removed.

Images of the small longhouse being dismantled and the final area after being cleaned up.
Dismantling the small longhouse and the final area cleaned up.

With the small longhouse removed we turned our attention to the gardens, especially the large Three-sisters garden located by the longhouse.  The Three-sisters garden is an important interpretive feature, but has always struggled to be successful because the deer and woodchucks have been particularly appreciative of the easily available and very tasty plants our volunteers have strived to grow.  From an interpretive perspective, having the gardens inside the village is also problematic since the Three-sisters were grown in vast fields surrounding the Lawson Village and not within the site itself.

During the winter, plans were developed to move the Three-sisters garden to a location outside the palisade walls and with support from the City of London’s SPARKS grant, the new garden will be built this summer.  Although the existing garden is being dismantled, we are taking care to ensure that two important perennials, the Sweet grass and Jerusalem artichoke are preserved.  The sweet grass will be planted throughout the current garden area to keep the weeds at bay and the Jerusalem artichoke will be moved to a safe location until the new garden is ready to be planted.

In addition to the changes in the garden, the old signs are being removed this summer and a general clean-up of the site is under way, including removing any trees in the forest which have become unsafe due to age and disease.

We are also very excited about the archaeological field school being offered by the Department of Anthropology at Western University this spring.  The course has been specifically designed to address the long term care of the Lawson Site.  The plans for the field school and the work being undertaken will detailed in Lawson Site Changes: Part 2.

We’re excited about the changes being made at the Lawson Site and grateful to the volunteers who are helping us make these significant improvements.  If you are interested in getting involved with this project, please check out the volunteer opportunities available or contact us at (

Museum Governance Matters


While you may be aware that MOA has a Board of Directors, have you ever considered what the Board does?  Or why museum governance matters?

By definition (Canadian Museums Association) museums are not-for-profit institutions created in the public interest.   While museums have operational functions that differ from other not-for-profit organizations, as institutions, they still operate within the same legal, ethical and business frameworks of any other not-for-profit organization.

Because museum are created in the public interest, they have two fundamental public trust responsibilities: stewardship and public service.   The Canadian Museums Association’s Ethical Guidelines defines stewardship and public service as follows:

  • The trust of stewardship requires museums to acquire, document and preserve collections in accordance with institutional policies, to be accountable for them, and to pass them on to future generations of the public in good condition.
  • The trust of public service requires museums to create and advance not only knowledge, but more importantly, understanding, by making the collections and accurate information about them, physically and intellectually available to all the communities served by the museum.

Stewardship and Public Service are the hallmarks of museums and the basis for the respected status that they have in their communities.  Not only keeping but growing the respect of their communities requires museums to be public focal points for learning, discussion and development, and to ensure equality of opportunity for access.

This is why museum governance is so important because it is with the governing authority that the responsibility for everything the museum does rests.  Simply put “governance” is the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented.  Whether the governing authority is a Board of Directors (as with MOA) or a municipal council (as with many municipally operated museums), governance is the way in which authority, control and direction over the museum’s activities are enacted.

So What is the Board’s role in Museum Governance?

The Board is the highest level of decision-making and legal authority in a museum.  By law, it is ultimately accountable for, and has authority over, the museum’s resources and activities.  The Board articulates and communicates the museum’s vision and defines the parameters within which the museum carries out its work.

At MOA, the Board of Directors has chosen to operate under a policy governance model.  What that means is that the Board provides leadership through policy development and strategic direction and assigns the implementation of day to day activities to the museum’s staff.

Museum governance and how authority is delegated.

MOA is governed by a 13 member Board of Directors, each bringing unique skills and knowledge, as stewards of the museum now and into the future.  Currently, MOA is going through a period of transition which will result in the renewal of the facility, museum exhibits, and community relationships.  While this presents a great opportunity for the museum to re-establish itself as a hub for archaeology in Ontario, it will take significant effort and resources on the part of all involved to achieve this goal.

Serving on any Board of Directors requires commitment, energy, and enthusiasm for the museum’s mission and the service it bring to its community.  With this commitment also comes the excitement of working with others to champion a cause you care passionately about.  For more information about serving on MOA’s Board of Directors, check out our Board Recruitment Package.

Board Recruitment

Look Back: The Pipe Site Pipe

Long before the creation of this blog, and before the digital Palisade E-Post, the museum sent out paper newsletters.  First published in February 1979 each Palisade Post issue is a snapshot of what was happening in Ontario archaeology during this time, and is the basis of our Look Back series.

The Pipe Site Pipe

(Spring 1993, Volume 15 No. 1)

“Of all the pits, in all the fields, you had to pop out of mine.”

No, it’s not a bad line from a great movie, it’s just my way of introducing this article, which deals with the experience of finding that one artifact, in one test pit, on one survey.

This happened in November, 1992, when the Contract Archaeology crew conducted an archaeological assessment of approximately 64.5 hectares (160 acres) of land in Flos Township, Simcoe County.  Only 30 percent of this property could be visually surveyed.  The rest of the property that had both natural and reforested woodlot had to be surveyed using a technique known as ‘test pitting’.  Using this method we were able to recover three isolated find spots and one undisturbed village.  After a brief description of the survey technique, I will discuss the find spot which produced the pipe pictured here.

Test Pitting

Test pitting is a technique used when the surface of an area has little or no visibility.  A pit no smaller than 30×30 cm (12×12 in.) is dug from surface to subsoil.  In this case the depth was approximately 25 cm (10 in.).  The top soil is sifted through a 6 mm (1/4 in.) mesh screen and any cultural material removed.  The hole is then back-filled and the sod replaced.

On this survey, the property was considered to be of high archaeological potential, because of its location in Huronia, and its physical setting.  There are numerous registered and unregistered sites close by.  The physical setting has great potential because of the number of high knolls, the Lake Algonquin beach ridge bisecting the property, and the well-drained, sandy loam soil.

When it came to digging, pits were placed in five meter intervals.  In this survey, that translated into approximately 4,000 holes!  So, it was either a touch of luck, or skilled field intuition, that led Ernie Salva to choose the spot that produced the pipe.  First, he found two fragments of the pipe bowl while turning the earth, then he found the stem in the screen.  The rest of us narrowed the interval of test pits to between one and three meters around the find spot, but no other artifacts were recovered.  We had a complete limestone pipe in three pieces, which we could glue together back in the lab.


The pipe is made from a soft chalky limestone.  The overall length is 100 mm (4 in.), and the height is 69 mm (2 1/2 in.).  The pipe has a very rough, unfinished look, but this condition could have been produced by the acidic soil ‘eating’ away at the surface.  As you can see, holes have been successfully drilled through the stem and the bowl making this pipe functional, although there is no evidence of charring or residue to suggest it was used.  The bowl is decorated with four punctates.  These round impressions are four to fine mm (1/4 in.) in depth, and evenly spaced at 20 mm (3/4 in.) apart.

The hardest part of an analysis of a single artifact find spot is assigning a date to it.  There are relatively few samples of pipes made of stone of any kind and even fewer limestone pipes.  The punctate motif is most often associated with clay pipes of the Huron people, and with the close proximity of large Huron villages in the area, a date of 1300-1500 A.D. is a reasonable assumption.

This exquisite find from the Pipe Site tells us there was movement of people through the area.  Every piece of evidence, even a single find spot such as this one, adds to our knowledge which is invaluable in the research and understanding of the prehistory of Ontario.

The Museum would like to acknowledge Cyril Chase and Malone Given Parsons’ consulting firm for allowing us the opportunity to survey the property.

Written by Karen Mattila, Archaeology Technician at MOA in 1993.

The Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone

Swinging through tombs, jumping into dark caves and discovering rare artifacts, Indiana Jones has a way with luck that surprises many people. Because of these characteristics, you’d expect someone like Indy to find something as culturally important as the Rosetta Stone. However, this Indy-worthy find was actually made by a French solider in 1799. Pierre Bouchard, who was simply trying to increase the size of a French fort in Rosetta, Egypt, stumbled upon the Rosetta Stone. It was located in an old wall that was being demolished for the expansion of the fort. Fortunately, the commanding officer recognized its importance and extracted the piece. At the time of its discovery, Napoleon, the emperor of the French, was invading Egypt, so the Rosetta Stone was claimed as French property until 1801. Soon after its discovery, the British defeated the French and claimed all of their important cultural artifacts. Since 1802, the stone is held in the British Museum for viewing. The ownership of the stone has caused a lot of controversy over the years. Many Egyptians feel that the stone belongs to their country and should be held in a museum on Egyptian soil.

How was the Rosetta Stone created?


The Rosetta Stone was created in 196 BCE for Ptolemy V, the king of Egypt at the time. It is a black basalt slab with an inscription, also known as a stela. It measures about four feet by two and a half feet and it was originally a part of a bigger slab that was located in a temple at Sias, about 35 miles North of Alexandria. The stela presents a decree issued in Egypt that praises Ptolemy V for his achievements and states that a statue will be set up in his honour. The text further decrees that the king’s birthday and coronation date be celebrated with festivals and sacrifices. The Rosetta Stone was a landmark in understanding Egyptian culture. It was written in two languages, Greek and Egyptian, and three scripts. A script is a writing style using a particular alphabet. The scripts included Greek, Egyptian hieroglyphics and Egyptian demotic. In antiquity, all Egyptians used one language to communicate; however, priests and many elites used hieroglyphics and the common people of Egypt used demotic as their form of writing.

For years, archaeologists were unable to decode the writing of Egyptian hieroglyphics, but the Rosetta Stone gave them the answers they were looking for. The same passage was inscribed on the stone three times, in three different scripts. This allowed English scientist, Thomas Young and French scholar, Jean-François Champollion to decode the Egyptian hieroglyphic script. Thomas Young started the process by decoding a few symbols, but Jean-François Champollion is credited with deciphering the majority of the Egyptian hieroglyphic alphabet using his knowledge on the ancient Greek language. At last, the culture of the Egyptians could be understood in its full context and the inscriptions on tombs, pyramids and other structures could be read. This was a momentous moment, not only for scholars, but the Egyptians as well. It allowed them to further understand their past and read the inscriptions of their late kings and queens. In the end, you could say that Pierre Bouchard, the French soldier who uncovered the Rosetta Stone, was just as lucky as Indy.

Written by Monique Gill for Adventures in Pop Culture Archaeology taught by Dr. Lisa Hodgetts, Western University.

MOA’s Edu-Kit

What’s an Edu-Kit you ask?

The MOA Educational Kit (“Edu-Kit” for short) is full of resources and artifacts that anyone can rent.  Containing over 30 artifacts, a teacher’s guide, and reading resources, the Edu-Kit is an excellent tool for elementary school teachers, homeschooling groups, or youth groups with an interest in history and archaeology.  It’s great for exploratory learning and is a way to bring the museum into your classroom.

edu-kit guide, teachers resource

Resource Guide

Starting with the Resource Guide is the best way to get the most our of the Edu-Kit.  The Guide provides a stress-free way to use the Edu-Kit materials in your group.  Lesson plans on First Nations History and Archaeology are included along with customizable PowerPoint slides on a USB drive and artifact identification tools.  The Guide also includes additional history information for grades 6-8 or advanced learners, worksheets, and activity pages, along with First Nations myths and legends, and project ideas.


In addition to the Guide, the Edu-Kit includes a variety of books suitable for learners from 6 to 14 years old.  The books are full of different materials you can use to complement the lesson plans in the guide and include colouring pages, traditional songs, historical information, a biography of the Jury Family, and research materials for archaeology and history projects.

reference books, edu-kit

The most exciting part of the Edu-Kit- the artifacts. Each of the artifacts is a genuine, irreplaceable piece of history and date from the Paleo-Indian Period (11000-9000 B.C.E.) to the Late/Terminal Woodland Period (900-1600 C.E.), and vary in material and purpose. The kit includes artifacts such as pottery sherds, ceramic pipes, animal bone ornaments, and stone projectile points.

artifacts, edu-kit

The Edu-kit is ideal for students who work at their own pace and is also an excellent option for groups on a tight budget.  The EduKit is available to rent for $25/2 weeks. If you are interested in renting our Educational Kit, contact Katie, our Learning Coordinator.
Please note that due to the fragile nature of the artifacts included the Edu-Kit must be picked up and dropped off at the museum, shipping is not possible.

Vikings of L’Anse aux Meadows

Frequently Axed Questions About the Vikings of L’Anse aux Meadows

archaeology, Newfoundland, L_Anse_aux_Meadows, Vikings

Did Vikings come to the New World? Yes. Are we talkin’ Ragnar and Lagertha? No. What’s a L’Anse aux Meadows? Newfoundland’s L’Anse aux Meadows is a Canadian National heritage site and it was also declared a world heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1972 (Kristensen & Curtis 2012, 70). It is marketed for archaeological tourism that focuses on the fact that it is the first and only pre-Colombian Norse settlement in North America. In addition to viewing the ruins and re-creations of Norse structures, visitors who make the 12hr drive north from St. John’s can participate in “traditional” Viking games, arts and crafts (Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism). The site is also notable for having been occupied by numerous Indigenous peoples for thousands of years (Kristensen & Curtis 2012, 71). Despite this, public interest in the Norse dominates the narrative of the site.

Image of L'Anse Aux Meadows foundations
Credit: Torbenbrinker, Wikicommons 2012

L’Anse aux Meadows is a site that is of interest to archaeologists and historians. Centuries before Christopher Columbus set sail in 1492, Norse ships landed in the New World. The Norse, also known as Vikings, were a Scandinavian civilization of raiders and traders that crossed the Atlantic between 800-1300 CE (Common Era) (Suthren 2009, 42). Before there was physical evidence of the Norse in North America, indications were read in the 14th century Groenlendinga Saga (Wallace 2009, 116). These tales recount the voyage of Icelandic explorer, Lief Eriksson, who described the lands of Helluland (Flat Stone Land), Markland (Wood Land) and Vinland (Possibly translated as Grape Land). Sea routes and geographic descriptions suggest these are Baffin Island, Labrador and Newfoundland respectively (Suthren 2009, 44). Furthermore, portrayals of conflict with a group of “skraelings” (Foreigners/Barbarians) in Vinland point to the ancestors of the Innu and Beothuk who inhabited the Labrador and Newfoundland area during the period. The descriptions in the saga fuelled archaeological debate that led to the 1960 discovery of a Norse site at L’Anse aux Meadows by the husband and wife team of Norwegian explorer Helge Ingstad and archaeologist Anne Stein Ingstad (Suthren 2009, 45). Their excavations throughout the 1960s revealed Norse artifacts, remnants of sod buildings and iron forges.

Although the Indigenous history of the site is not represented prominently in the tourist marketing and archaeological investigations, pre-contact archaeological research has revealed rich activity in the area dating back six thousand years from the present. These hunter-gatherer excavations uncovered stone tools and ways of life from numerous Indigenous cultures (Kristensen & Curtis 2012, 71). The proliferation of Indigenous archaeological material in the area demonstrates that although L’Anse aux Meadows helped to challenge the notions of what it means to “discover” the New World by predating Columbus, it must be emphasized that people had been living in the area for generations and contributing to Canadian heritage.

Written by Clayton Needham for Adventures in Pop Culture Archaeology taught by Dr. Lisa Hodgetts, Western University.


Kristensen, Todd J., and Jenneth E. Curtis. 2012. “Late holocene hunter-gatherers at L’anse aux meadows and the dynamics of bird and mammal hunting in Newfoundland.” Arctic Anthropology, 49 (1): 68-87.

Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism. “L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site,”, Accessed February 10, 2016.

Suthren, Victor. The Island of Canada: How Three Oceans Shaped Our Nation. Toronto: Thomas Allen Publishers, 2009.

Wallace, Birgitta. 2009. “L’Anse aux Meadows, Leif Eriksson’s Home in Vinland.” Journal of the North Atlantic, 2 (sp2): 114-25.

Changing Landscapes: London Parks

Springbank and Victoria Parks are two well know London Parks.  The archaeology of these parks reveals a history that stretches over 12,000 years in London that includes aboriginal, pioneer, and early military functions. With new development and reuse of our landscape,  London’s history can be studied through excavated archaeological sites, archived stories, maps, and photographs.  Part of the Changing Landscapes exhibit at MOA, Springbank and Victoria Parks illustrate how our use of the land has changed over time.

Springbank Park, Byron Ontario

London Parks - Springbank Park including Northern Hotel 1880
The Pumphouse complex, including the Northern Hotel, in 1880 before the flood in 1883.

Located in Byron Ontario, Springbank Park is a multi-use park consisting of gardens, nature trails, bicycle paths, grassed and natural areas along the Thames River. Springbank park is part of the Springbank Cultural Heritage Landscape and is highly valued by Londoners since its history and memories weave the past with the present while contributing to the community’s sense of identity and rich cultural fabric. Through historical research and archaeological findings, we can piece together the history of Springbank Park and it’s changing landscape.

Pre- Contact Aboriginal Occupation

Over the past two decades, park improvements have contributed to an increase in archaeological knowledge of the site. Excavations lead by Timmins Martelle Heritage Consultants in London Ontario have revealed that Springbank Park was occupied on numerous occasions over thousands of years from the late Middle Archaic Period (3050-2550 B.C) to the Late Woodland Period (A.D. 900- 1650). One site within the park located on the Thames River revealed over 6800 Aboriginal artifacts, animal bones, and plant fragments. This particular site was occupied on multiple occasions during the Middle Archaic (3500- 2550 B.C.), Late Archaic (1500- 500 B.C.), and Middle Woodland (400B.C- 500 A.D.), and Late Woodland periods (1400-1650 A.D.).

Euro-Canadian Occupation

As many as five 19th and 20th century Euro- Canadian archaeological sites have been located in Springbank Park.  Interestingly, the discovery of these sites are attributed to picnic goers visiting the park as opposed to archaeologists. Artifacts found during excavations include structural items (nails, window glass), table ceramics, and kitchen related items.

Early Park

Springbank Park - Amusement park prior to Storybook Gardens

In 1914, the Springbank Amusement Park was opened and featured a cannon ball roller coaster, merry-go-round, bowling alleys, shooting gallery, and Ferris wheel, among other thrills.  However due to lackluster performance, the park eventually closed and was removed by 1942.

In 1958, Storybook Gardens open to serve the families of London and the surrounding area.


Victoria Park, London Ontario

Sitting Prominently in the heart of London, Victoria Park attracts thousands of visitors each year. With known Pre-Contact remnants, military history, and the remains of an earlier park, the archaeology of Victoria Park reveals layers of London’s history that spans thousands of years.

Discovered in London Parks - Victoria Park
Flow Painted Ewer found during excavations, reconstructed.

Archaeological fieldwork conducted by D.R. Poulton & Associates has continued at intervals in Victoria Park over the last 18 years. The vast majority of archaeological remains uncovered relate to the British Military occupation of the site between 1840-1853 and 1861-1869 then the early park landscape design features. The high level of preservation on this site provides interesting details such as some interior walls in the barracks were covered in whitewashed plaster and some were covered in red plaster.

Since the discovery of what lies under the lush canvas of Victoria Park, archaeological excavations are undertaken before the city makes any improvements to the park. This is done to ensure the park’s historical layers are preserved. In addition to supporting the archaeological fieldwork, the City has erected plaques in Victoria Park to commemorate the history of the property. To date, excavations have recovered hundreds of thousands of artifacts which will eventually find its new home in the collections of Museum London.

To discover more about London Parks, come in to see the Changing Landscapes: Unearthing London’s Past exhibit to see the complete timeline of Springbank Gardens and Victoria Park along with additional photos, and excavated materials.

We are now in the final week of MOA’s Feature Exhibit Changing Landscapes: Unearthing London’s Past.  Don’t miss your last chance to check out this exhibit before it closes on March 21st and explore the course of London’s 12,000 year history.

London Parks - Springbank park pump house (1)

Why Mission Matters


Do you know why you do what you do? Mission does matter.

I am always amazed, when I sit back and think about it, how much goes on behind the scenes at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology.   I like to compare museums to icebergs – because what you see when you visit is just a small part of everything that is going on.  From working with the collection, researching exhibits, planning programs and events to the things we rarely consider as “museum work” but are critical to any business, like marketing, managing the finances, fundraising, and health and safety just to name a few – museums are busy places.  It’s because museums are so busy that our mission matters.

For all of this activity to have meaning, everything we do must flow from a deep sense of purpose  – our mission matters.  It’s through our mission that we articulate our reason for existing.  How we strive to serve our communities,  meet our public trust responsibilities, and hopefully make a difference in the lives of the people we serve.

Museums have two fundamental public trust responsibilities: stewardship and public service.  Stewardship means that we are responsible for the collections we acquire and that we ensure they are available for future generations.  Public service means that we make the collections and the information about them accessible to everyone we serve.  (Canadian Museum Association’s Ethical Guidelines).  A museum’s mission defines how it will meet its public trust responsibilities and more importantly why it exists in the first place.

A good mission expresses the difference a museum is trying to make in its community and ultimately must answer the question WHY.  Being able to articulate WHY, and more importantly, share that with others, is key to a successful museum.

Knowing your WHY is not the only way to be successful, but it is the only way to maintain a lasting success and have a greater blend of innovation and flexibility.  When a WHY goes fuzzy, it becomes much more difficult to maintain the growth, loyalty and inspiration that helped drive the original success.¹

While this concept may seem simple, it is surprising how difficult it can be to articulate WHY a museum exists.  It is easy to talk about WHAT we do and HOW we do it, but WHY can be elusive and difficult to articulate.  In his book Start With Why, Simon Sinek does a great job of illustrating the difference in effectiveness between organizations and movements that have a clear understanding of their WHY vs. those that don’t.  This idea is summed up nicely in Simon’s TED Talk.

Having a clear sense of WHY our museum exists, beyond the “stuff” we collects, is a critical step in building long term sustainability and community engagement.

For the Museum of Ontario Archaeology, developing a mission focused on WHY has resulted in a significant increase in volunteers and increased engagement within the community.  Getting to our WHY was not an easy process, but it was filled with excitement and optimism about our future.  Especially because our WHY was developed with input from many people, all of whom contributed to a stronger sense of purpose and direction for us.

MOA Mission Matters Meeting 2014.
MOA Mission Meeting 2014.

Mission Matters – MOA’s mission is;

Through stewardship, research and education the Museum continually strives to advance our understanding of Ontario’s archaeological heritage.  We bring the human past to life, make it relevant to understanding the present, and inspire an appreciation of, and respect for, Ontario’s cultural diversity.

Simply put, we believe that archaeology brings to life the stories of how people lived.  These stories connect us to our shared human heritage and give us a sense of place in the world.  We connect with each other through our stories and by sharing them we understand and appreciate each other more.

This is our starting point, our WHY, and the difference we hope to make through our programs and collection.

¹ Sinek, Simon (2009).  Start with Why:  How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. London, England: Portfolio / Penguin, page 50.

Oneida and Anishinaabe Language Exhibit

Oneida and Huron Language Exhibit

The Creator gifted each human being with a voice and language to use. Indigenous languages are verb-based rather than noun-based. They tend to describe people, places, and things instead of labelling them. Within southern Ontario, Indigenous languages are no longer peoples’ mother tongue. However, more Indigenous people are revitalizing and preserving their languages. Indigenous languages carry a peoples’ culture and whole philosophy in life. This is why it is so crucial to keep Indigenous languages alive. Many Indigenous people have lost some of their ways and traditions, so the best approach to retaining knowledge and tradition is to relearn their language.

Shekoli/aanii/hello, the Museum of Ontario Archaeology will be incorporating a new exhibition focused on Indigenous languages. The Onʌyota’a·ká· (Oneida) and Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) languages will be highlighted within this new feature exhibition. The curator at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology, Nicole Aszalos, had approached me and asked if I could assist her in putting together an exhibition on Indigenous languages. I had agreed to help since it is in my line of work. I have a passion for our Indigenous languages because it is in my blood – it is a part of who I am. My primary focus is on Oneida language right now, and I thought it would be a great idea to include another Indigenous language since we are all so diverse. I asked Monty McGahey to do an Ojibwe language piece for the exhibition, since he is knowledgeable and works within his community, Chippewa of the Thames, on keeping the language alive


A Previous Exhibit.

I had curated The Story of Our “Grandfathers”: Our Original Medicines previously for the Museum of Ontario Archaeology. By taking that experience and working with language, I had come up with an interesting idea to convey Indigenous languages without strictly text. It is interesting, fun, and educational, not only in Indigenous languages but also about the past and present interactions between different Indigenous nations. Within Indigenous languages, there is no past, present, or future; it is all inclusive of each other. This is why there is a past feel but with a present sense within this new exhibition.


I encourage everyone to come and check it out. It opened this month and will be on until February 2018.

Dakota Ireland
Dakota Ireland
Monty McGahey
  • Written by Kalo·lóks Dakota Ireland

March Break Adventure 2016

March Break Adventure Location South America

Is your Young Explorer looking for a March Break Adventure?

A March Break Adventure is closer than you think at MOA’s Adventure through South America camp being offered from March 14-18, 2016.  Campers will explore the people, environment, and animals of South America as they stamp their ‘passport’ with days of exploration!

March Break starts on Monday with a Welcome to South America party where we will explore the countries and geography of the region while playing some great games.  On Tuesday, we’ll be checking out South America’s Food and Culture!  Not only will our Explorers learn about South America foods, they will also become farmers and plant their own bean crop.  We’ll be watching our beans grow throughout the week before our Explorers take their plants home.

Animals to discover on the March Break Adventure - Monkey

On Wednesday we are moving into the trees for a Tree Top Adventure in the rainforests.  Did you know that the Amazon Rainforest, also known as the Amazon Jungle, is the largest rainforest on earth, covers 40% of the South American continent, and is home to over 2000 different animals!  We will be doing a lot of exploring this day.

Celebrate with friends during the March Break Adventure

Thursday is Archaeology Day! and we will have a lot of ground to cover as we explore Macchu Picchu in the mountain tops of Peru before going underground into the network of tombs found at  Tierradentro near the south west coast of Colombia.  We definitely won’t want to miss Serra de Capivara in Brazil where you can find cave paintings that are more than 25,000 years old!

Friday is our favourite day because we get to have a pizza lunch with all our new friends! And we will learn all about The People of South America: Past and Present.

Explorer’s will 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.


Programs - camp (2)

A typical camp day includes warm up activities, team and friendship building exercises, crafts and games related to each day’s theme, two snack breaks and one lunch break, outdoor fun and exploration of the site around the Museum, and a video at the end of the day (while we wait for parents).  Camp begins at 8:30 every day and 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.  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. Please remember to sign out your child and bring photo ID with you!

How to Register for the March Break Adventure

Register for the whole week or a couple of days. Combine March Break with upcoming Summer Camp weeks for multi-week discounts!