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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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Family Day 2016

Family Day 2016 new

Since the first Family Day was observed on February 18, 2008, many Ontarians have enjoyed taking advantage of the holiday to spend time with their family and explore their communities.  Family Day 2016 falls on February 15th and you don’t have to look any further than MOA for something fun to do as we continue our tradition of hosting a Family Fun Day filled with wonderful indoor family activities.

FamilyMuseum07-180213-MMweb___Content

Families will be able to listen to and share stories with Mi’kmaq storyteller Nina Antoine-Ogilvie as well as explore and shop at First Nations Craft Vendors throughout the day!  Children can discover the secrets to archaeological digs by uncovering and mapping chocolate chips in our Cookie excavation and explore the importance of First Nations Wampum as a means of communication through our wampum activity. Read more

What’s in a Collection?

Help preserve our collection with the Adopt an Artifact program

The recent discovery of Beatrix Potter’s Kitty in Boots in the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Beatrix Potter archive highlights the tremendous challenge museums can face in managing their collection and the information about them. With often thousands of objects and documents held in trust within museum collections the task of knowing not only what’s in the boxes but where in the museum things are located often falls to a select few people.

Museums hold their collections in trust for the public, and that responsibility includes not only caring for the collection but making the information and knowledge about it accessible.  Having worked with and for museums for over 15 years, I’ve seen examples of extraordinary collections management processes as well as “We don’t know what we’ll do if (fill in name) retires.  They’re the only person who knows where everything is.” Read more

Artist Profile: Hugh Hill

Hugh Hill

Hugh Hill (Laka’tos), from the Oneida Nation, lives in St. Thomas, Ont. A drum maker for the past 18 years, Hugh has been making and sharing the traditional crafts he has been taught through his elders.  Attending and participating in traditional dance at many pow wows and traditional gatherings throughout the year (including MOA’s which takes place the third weekend in September) provides Hugh an expression of his native roots.
Hugh has been gifted many teachings.  Respectfully talking and listening to elders (among others) in his travels has contributed to the repertoire in his workshops. As with all of the teachings he has learned along the way, these teachings are to be passed along. Read more

Why be an Education Volunteer?

Why should you volunteer as an Education Assistant at MOA?

Do you enjoy making crafts, playing games, and helping children explore, discover and learn? If the answer is yes, then being an Educational volunteer at MOA might be for you.

Educational programming aims to create an engaging and interactive museum experience for visitors of all ages and volunteer opportunities within this area are ideal for those who enjoy working with children and have experience with or hope to go into teaching.  It is also an excellent opportunity for those interested in gaining experience in museums, as it allows the opportunity to interact directly with museum audiences.

Simulated digs are really popular at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology.

Benefits of volunteering with Museum Education and Interpretation:

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Look Back: The Formative Years

The History of the Museum of Ontario Archaeology

Long before the creation of this blog, and before the digital Palisade E-Post, the museum sent out paper newsletters.  The museum’s first newsletter was published in February 1979.  That newsletter chronicled the early history of the Museum of Ontario Archaeology.

As 2016 begins let’s look back on the formative years of the Museum of Ontario Archaeology.

The wording of the newsletter has been changed slightly.  Changes are enclosed in [ ].

February, 1979, Vol. No. 1 Read more