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Meerschaum Pipes

Meerschaum Pipes

The Origin of Meerschaum

Meerschaum, also known by its technical name sepiolite, is a hydrous magnesium silicate formed from the shells and bones of prehistoric sea creatures. Meerschaum originates from Turkey and can vary in colour from white to light grey or even yellow. It is very porous and light, ranked as a 2 in hardness on the Mohs scale.  Meerschaum is mainly found in veins mined as deep as 400 feet below the surface but it can also naturally occur as lumps that look similar to sea foam floating atop the surface of the Black Sea.

Mainly used to create pipes, the first pipe recorded using meerschaum was created in 1723 by a shoemaker in Budapest. He discovered meerschaum is highly absorbent and he repeatedly dosed it in water to make it more pliable while carving. The experiment proved successful and the first meerschaum pipe was created. Currently, it housed at the Hungarian National Museum in Budapest. Read more

Caring for Family Heirlooms

Like the family heirlooms you have at home, museums are responsible for protecting a community’s cultural heritage for future generations. Caring for these unique and meaningful objects until they can be shared with children and grandchildren is not difficult, and we’d like to share some simple things you can do to ensure your heirlooms are protected.

Museums care for and preserve many different types of artifacts.  One area critical to long term preservation is how they are stored. Proper artifact storage is not as hard as it seems and is one of the easiest ways to prevent physical and environmental damage. Read more

Tin Type Photographs

Although not exactly like pictures we encounter today, tintype photographs set the stage for photography in our era. Tintypes began in 1856 when an Ohio chemistry professor Hamilton Smith patented the tintype image. While not a new concept, the tintype was a combination of earlier experiments in imaging and existing commercial processes. Even though these photographs are known as a ‘tintype’, they are not actually made from tin. During their production in the 1800’s these pictures were were called ferrotype, in reference to the material they were created on; ferrous (AKA iron).

Jury Collection Tintype
Jury Collection Tintype

 

Before tintypes existed, the two main types of photographic images, the daguerreotype and the ambrotype, were created by treating glass with light sensitive collodin. Read more

Work Study Profile: Summer 2015 Curatorial Interns

An interview with our Summer 2015 Curatorial Interns, Erin Fawcett & Mary Simonds.

Mary and Erin 2015
Mary and Erin working on reboxing artifacts

We’ve worked at MOA since May 2015 as curatorial interns. Both our duties involve collections, curatorial work, and research. We have been doing an inventory of the ethnographic collections and helping set up incoming exhibits. We’re working on reboxing and rehousing artifacts and re-configuring the storage room in order to better preserve the numerous items held here. (Erin:) I am currently working on the inventory of the ethnographic collection and I am starting the plans for re-configuring the storage room collections.  (Mary): I am concentrating on finding the best way to catalogue and digitize the archaeological artifacts and all of the associated material. Read more

Adopt an Artifact

Artifacts for Adoption

Are you, or someone you know, passionate about archaeology… cultural heritage… history? Are you looking for a way to connect with Ontario’s archaeological and cultural heritage? Trying to find a unique gift for the person who “has everything”?

How you can Adopt an Artifact

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Work Study Profile: Dane

Dane Ferry

Hello, I’m Dane Ferry. I have been with the museum since February of 2015. I came to here of this position through Western University’s Work-Study program and thought it would be an enriching and educational employment experience. My previous employment in the service industry combined with over six years of volunteering with local non-profit organizations has prepared me well for my duties at the museum. The work environment here is unlike any other in which I have experienced, it is fun, lively and enthralling. Read more

Woodland Painting Workshop

Woodland Painting Workshop and Norval Morriseau

Moses Lunham art
Moses Lunham art at Pow Wow Sept 2014

Woodland Style painting was invented by Norval Morrisseau (Copper Thunderbird), an Ojibway artist from the Sandy Point Reserve, near Beardmore, Ontario. He was born March 14, 1932 and died in Toronto, December 4, 2007. One of Canada’s most well known Aboriginal artists, he left behind thousands of paintings and a whole new art form that has influenced three generations of artists. Read more