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Museum Governance Matters

governance

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,  they still operate within the same legal, ethical and business frameworks. Read more

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. Read more

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 France, 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 has been 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. Read more

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. Read more

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, focusing 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 12 hour 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. Read more

Changing Landscapes: London Parks

The archaeology of Springbank Park and Victoria Park reveals a history that stretches over 12,000 years in London and includes indigenous, 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.  As 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, and 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 contribute 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 its changing landscape. Read more

Why Mission Matters

Why_Question

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: 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.  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. Read more

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 tongues. However, more Indigenous people are revitalizing and preserving their languages. Indigenous languages carry a people’s culture and whole philosophy in life. This is why it is so crucial to keep Indigenous languages alive. Many Indigenous peoples 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 Read more

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, offered from March 14-18, 2016.  Campers will explore the peoples, 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 American 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. Read more

Changing Landscapes: Kensal Park Norton Site

Imagine you are next up at bat in the baseball diamond in Kensal Park. Did you know you are also standing on the remains of a 15th century Iroquoian village officially known as the Norton Site?

Kensal Park – Norton Site

The Norton site was brought to the attention of Canadian archaeologist William Wintemberg in the early 1920’s when he was conducting extensive surveys at the Lawson Site. Although he mentions this discovery in his report of the Lawson excavations, no fieldwork was attempted at the location. At the time, the Norton family had been continually farming the adjacent land since the 1800’s and had recently acquired the land where the site is located.

Kensal Park finds, Changing Landscape Exhibit

The site was later rediscovered in 1987 in connection with a proposed water main being built in the north end of the park. The survey, conducted by Archaeological Services Inc. from Toronto, recovered a sample of artifacts that were similar in time to that of the Lawson Site. Further investigation revealed nine longhouses, a palisade, and one midden dating 1400-1450AD. In addition to flaked stone projectile points, bifaces, ceramics, and groundstone tools, worked bone items such as awls, beads, and a perforated antler object were recovered. Based on the evidence, the people living on site are identified as Ancestral Neutral.

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