What did First Nations people wear for fashion? Or for ritual purposes? What did the decoration on their clothes and these objects look like? How were they made? These can be some of the questions one might ask when referring to the objects that First Nations made through beadwork. Read more
There are many things Ontario Doug and Dr. Lucy Troweler want to explore while at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology. In addition to the various exhibits and Lawson Village, there are a lot of different activities happening at the museum this summer.
Dr. Lucy is really interested in what’s happening behind the scenes and has already started exploring the museum’s on-line collection to find out more about the museum’s artifacts and how they can be used to inspire an appreciation for Ontario’s cultural diversity. Dusty and Seabiscuit are really looking forward to checking out all the fun stuff our future archaeologists are doing at the museum during Summer Camp and Ontario Doug can’t wait to help out during the Youth Dig-It Camp in August. Read more
Collections: Emergency Treatments for your Collectables
If we could prevent disasters, we would never have to worry about the safety and housing of our collection. In reality, disasters are unexpected and can cause irreversible damage to some of our most precious objects (take a look at the video of the sinkhole at the Corvette Museum). Some artifacts, fortunately, can be salvaged bythe work of experts. A local example was the 2004 flood in Peterborough, Ontario in which 1 meter of water seeped into the vault of the Peterborough Centennial Museum Association (PCMA), affecting many of the Roy Studio photographic materials. (You can read about the restoration initiative here.) Read more
Context in Archaeology or “where did it come from?” is one of the most important questions archaeologists ask. One of the primary philosophies in archaeology is reconstructing daily life of human history and prehistory through material remains. Although one artifact can outline the potential age of a site and its trade relations between communities, it cannot tell you the bigger picture of how the object is understood and what it means to the daily life of the people unless you look at its association with the environment and other material remains that surround it.
So how do we look at context in archaeology? The stratigraphy (the layering of soils and remains) of a site and the objects within each layer are examined in order to understand the meaning of the object and its association to the site. Soil develops layers over time; therefore objects found in one layer are considered to be related and date to a similar time of use, while objects found in another layer, either above or below, are deposited at an alternate time and indicate a different period of use. Read more
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 in 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 that 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 is housed at the Hungarian National Museum in Budapest. Read more
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
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).
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
An interview with our Summer 2015 Curatorial Interns, Erin Fawcett & Mary Simonds.
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
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
The Traditional Games workshop offers an interactive way for visiting school groups to learn about Canada’s First Nation traditional games. Weather permitting, we play Inuit games, lacrosse, and double ball outside with small groups. It’s an active and hands-on opportunity to teach students about traditional games. Read more