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Ontario Doug – The Adventure Begins

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.

Ontario Doug with Poetter
Checking out the pottery activity.

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

Emergency Treatment for Your Collectibles

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

Meerschaum Pipes

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

Tin Type Photographs

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).

Jury Collection Tintype
Jury Collection Tintype


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

Work Study Profile: Summer 2015 Curatorial Interns

An interview with our Summer 2015 Curatorial Interns, Erin Fawcett & Mary Simonds.

Mary and Erin 2015
Mary and Erin working on reboxing artifacts

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

Adopt an Artifact

Artifacts for Adoption

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

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Work Study Profile: Dane

Dane Ferry

Hello, I’m Dane Ferry. I have been with the museum since February of 2015. I came to here of this position through Western University’s Work-Study program and thought it would be an enriching and educational employment experience. My previous employment in the service industry combined with over six years of volunteering with local non-profit organizations has prepared me well for my duties at the museum. The work environment here is unlike any other in which I have experienced, it is fun, lively and enthralling. Read more