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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.

Featured Artifact: Seal Skin Artwork

Artifact Profile: Seal Skin Artwork

sealskin

Artist: Helen Kalvak Elihakvik

Provenance: Holomon Island (Ulukahaktok), NW Territories

Kalvak was born in 1901 on Victoria Island located in the Northwest portion of the Northwest Territories. In her youth she lived a migratory lifestyle with her family; Migrating between camps along the coast in the winter and camps in the interior in the summer. Her father was a well-respected angakug (Shaman) and much of his teachings informed her artworks in her later years. After moving to Holoman Island (Ulukahaktok) she moved into a Co-op which provided her the opportunity to draw. Between 1962 and 1978 she created over 1800 drawings and stencils. The theme in her artworks focus on the transformation between angakug and his/her own animal spirit helpers or guides through illustrations of how people used to dress and live. Read more

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

The Wandering Museum Consultant…

Karolina (L) and Katie (R) at Dublin Museum Hunt
Karolina (L) and Katie (R) at Dublin Museum Hunt

Hello. I’m Katie Urban, MOA’s Learning Coordinator. It has been two months since I started my leave of absence from the Museum of Ontario Archaeology and started out on my equal parts crazy and awesome Wandering Museum Consultant project. The MOA has asked me to write a blog post to let everyone know what I have been up to and what I am still looking forward to in the next few weeks before I head back home in August.

So, what exactly is the Wandering Museum Consultant? Basically I am travelling around the UK and Ireland; spending time at host museums, volunteering and offering volunteer consulting when I can. In short I am engaging in professional exchanges and professional development, with an aim to building my international experience and consulting skills, as well as broadening my knowledge of museum practices through exposure to new and differing methods. 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.

Read more

Endangered Animals Camp

Here at the museum, we like to draw from the native cultures of Canada and emphasize the importance of respecting our environment. Through programs such as our summer day camps, kids learn how our actions can disturb the delicate balancing act of the natural world and the importance of protecting it. In the past few decades, scientists have observed a rapid loss of biodiversity, with extinction rates estimated to more than 1000 times the natural extinction rate. Through the activities we do during Endangered Animals Camp, we hope to instill awareness and a sense of empathy for the plight of the animals around the world.

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                Our trip across the globe starts in North America, the theme for Monday. We learn a lot of cool facts about polar bears, like how they slide on their belly to avoid breaking through thin ice (something there is a lot of with rapidly melting ice caps). The kids then get to make polar bear masks with cotton balls which are very fluffy and soft to touch! We also learn about bald eagles and make our very own. We do a scavenger hunt around the museum gallery where the campers get to identify and learn about other endangered animals of Canada. We finish off the last hour of camp when parents arrive by watching Ice Age! Read more

Soapstone Pendants

gorget: stone used in pendants
Gorget Approximately 300-1000 years old

Creative Workshop: Soapstone Pendant Making

Soapstone pendant making is a creative workshop offered at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology to compliment the understanding and appreciation for First Nation gorgets.

Gorgets are typically made from hard slate stone and are drilled to make into a necklace and personal ornamentation. They were made during leisure time as the slate takes a large amount of time and skill to shape (with an abrader/flat rock) and hand drill. Some even featured symbols and other markings.

During this 30 minute workshop, we have modified the tools but kept the traditional method the same. Instead of slate, students are each given a piece of soapstone, a soft rock which is easy to mould. Similar to the traditional method of creating a hole in the gorget, students can hand drill their own hole through their gorget by using an arrowhead attached to a wooden stick. Read more

Underwater Archaeology

Underwater Archaeology is one of the many hands-on workshops offered at Museum of Ontario Archaeology. This program explains how archaeologists use context and critical thinking while excavating in order to understand the site and to put together stories that artifacts may reveal about the culture of the site.

Underwater archaeology is more difficult than archaeology on land as you have to know how to dive, breathe under water, maneuver through dark or muddy waters, communicate to your team, avoid sharks (this is very important!), and write and record your findings while under water. You air tanks even limit the time you can spend excavating.

Instructions: Read more