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Work Study Profile: Vasanthi

Vasanthi profile picture

Hello! My name is Vasanthi Pendakur, and I just started working at the museum in September 2014.

As part of my program at Western, I will be working at the museum for the next year as an Education Assistant. I was drawn to this position because of all the new skills I could gain from it. I also have some background in First Nations history from when I worked for a private research company specializing in land claims and rights. This position seemed like the perfect place to combine this knowledge with the interpretation and educational programming skills I could learn. Read more

Medicinal Teas

Herbs and hot drinks have been around for a long time. Certain herbs can be used for medicinal purposes and have been made into teas. Medicinal teas can have a lot of different affects and can help with a lot of different sicknesses or problems. The uses of these herbs for medicinal purposes have been linked back to Native Americans.

Examples of medicinal teas/plants and their uses:

  • Pitcher plant was used by Native groups as a tea made from the root as a specific cure for small pox. The treatment not only shortened the term of the disease but also prevented the formation of “pox” marks or scars.
  • Wintergreen berries were used by the Mohawks as well as the Ojibwes. They knew the teas, as a medicine as well as a healthful beverage. Wintergreen contains methyl salycliates, the active pain killers of aspirin, useful for colds, headaches, and to bring down fevers. Tea was used to treat kidney problems, colds, fever and asthma. Tea and berries were used to increase the mother’s milk flow and delay menstruation. Also used as an aromatic antiseptic to relieve sores and joint aches.
"FountainSpringsWintergreen" by Mike Serfas - Own work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://bit.ly/1oCZdlu
“FountainSpringsWintergreen” by Mike Serfas – Own work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://bit.ly/1oCZdlu

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Work study Profile: Samantha

Samantha_Keller

My name is Samantha Keller and this summer I am working as an Education Assistant at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology. I just finished my undergraduate degree at the University of Western Ontario with an Honours Specialization in Archaeological Anthropology and a Minor in History. I am very excited to be working at the Museum this summer with the excellent summer staff!

In June, my job mostly consisted of running programs for the visiting school groups who came to see the Museum. Once school was over at the end of July, I began working on developing a new program. The program I am working on is called “Context in Archaeology”. This program has to do with looking at the artifacts we find at a dig site as “clues” to understand what a room or area was used for. It also has to do with understanding how the different layers in the soil can give us some idea about how old an artifact or a site is. Read more

Journey Across Canada Camp

For this week’s summer camp theme, the campers will embark on a journey across Canada starting from the West Coast.

On Monday, we will learn all about Canada’s westernmost province, British Columbia, and explore this beautiful, mountainous area replete with sparkling lakes and volcanoes. Since northern BC is rich in Aboriginal culture and home to several ancient village sites, the kids will also be crafting their very own miniature totem poles. They will get a chance to practice the symbolism commonly used in Aboriginal culture and choose animal totems that they believe best represent them. There are various cool symbols such as horses for freedom, a sun for energy, and wolves for leadership. Another cool activity for this day will be examining ancient woodland art, and striving to replicate the styles and imagery with our own woodland paintings.

Canada
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Tuesday is when the campers will travel eastbound into the flat land of the Prairies. Consisting of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, this region is also known as Canada’s “bread basket” as the Prairies are a major source of wheat for Canadians. We will largely focus on the furry residents of the Prairies, such as the prairie dog, owl, fox, and bison. The kids will have the opportunity to learn more about the prairie food chain through a fun, interactive game, and even construct their own prairie dog as a craft. Read more

Work Study Profile: Jonathan

Jonathan_English

Hello! My name is Jonathan English, and I work as one of the Education Assistant at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology. My role over the summer at the museum is to facilitate tours in the gallery and the Attawandaron village; plan the senior camps; and revise and expand educational programming.

I was raised in Northern Ontario along the north shore of Lake Superior, and was exposed to many Aboriginal traditions and less common veins of early Canadian history. This kindled my passion for history, and has led me to pursue a degree in History at Western University. I enjoy writing, reading, and spending copious amounts of time exploring the history of the world through various mediums.

I am most excited to rethink and expand several preexisting activities to incorporate a greater variety of learning styles, and encourage a passion for history amongst students. One of my focuses this summer has been re-examining our Early Societies/Ancient Civilizations workshops. I also immensely enjoy providing tours of the Attawandaron village, and the surrounding rivers and forest. My favourite part of the Museum of Ontario Archaeology is the recreated village and the Iroquoian longhouse.

Canada’s First Peoples Camp

This week’s summer day camp theme is First Peoples of Canada! We will be learning about the various groups of First Nations who lived in Canada, such as the Iroquois people, the Mi’kmaq people, the Northwest Haida people, and the West Blackfoot people. We will also learn about the Attawandaron people; this group of First Nations were the very first people to live here around the museum.

Since we are an archaeology museum, we have displays of hundreds of artifacts used by these first people and hosting a Canada’s First Peoples Camp is a natural. The campers will get to participate in a scavenger hunt, and in the process, they will tour the entire museum! They will also get a chance to explore the longhouses located in the village outside of the museum. The longhouses are a replica of the long, narrow, single-room building that housed the First Nations. Some longhouses had 50 people living in them! Read more

Learn from home – Endangered Animals

Have fun with Endangered Animals week by learning from home! Endangered Animals week at MOA brings with it a host of fun and educational games and activities that can be carried over from camp and into the home.

food-web

Food webs: Cut out pictures of animals in a specific ecosystem and connect them using string to demonstrate predator/prey relationships. This can teach children important ecological concepts such as niches, and help them understand the one species’ extinction can have on the other populations in its environment. Furthermore, these types of activities can be extended to teach children about bio-accumulation of pollutants, one of the reasons why so many predators near the tops of their food chains find themselves at risk of becoming endangered or extinct. Read more

Staff Only: Behind Scenes Part 1

“STAFF ONLY”:  Behind the Scenes at MOA Part 1

I am often amazed, when I sit back and think about it, how much goes on behind the scenes at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology. 

museumiceberg

 I like to compare museums to icebergs – in that what you see when you visit is just a tiny part of what is actually happening.  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.  There is a lot happening at MOA that we want to share.

This blog series opens the “Staff Only” door to reveal what it takes to run a museum.  The planning, preparation, and work necessary to ensure we serve our community and, for us specifically, inspire the archaeologist in everyone.

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