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Workstudy Profile: Erik Skouris

Work study profile: Erik Skouris

How long have you worked at MOA?
I have been at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology for 6 months.

What is your job title and what do you do?
I am a Curatorial Assistant. I assist Joan Kanigan, the Executive Director, with various assigned and ongoing projects. This includes processing the Museum’s collections and registering, accessing, cataloguing, and shelving the museum’s existing objects. I also maintain inventory and documentation according to Ontario curatorial standards. I have prepared various reports regarding collection activities and conditions of archival objects as well. Currently, I am assisting in an exhibit design. The exhibition is titled, “What Archaeologists Do In The Winter”.

What is background/training have you completed for this current position?
I am currently enrolled in my third year of studies at the University of Western Ontario, while completing my Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. I feel that my education and experience, coupled with a strong social and creative desire to work amongst the arts and public, has made me an ideal candidate for this position. This position will enable me to apply my skills and talents, while engaging with others in the London art and archaeology community.

What inspired you to work at MOA?      
I have always had an interest in collections, history, and the “mysteries” of a museum. I am grateful to have obtained a position at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology as it allows for me work alongside all of these passions and interests on a regular basis.

What do you love about being a workstudy student at MOA?
I enjoy working with all of the staff at the Museum of Ontario Archeology. They are extremely supportive and always willing to accommodate work study students such as myself.

If there was one thing you could tell the world about MOA, what would it be?
I would encourage the public to plan a visit to the Museum of Ontario Archaeology. The museum has a vast and interesting collection of local material. I believe that it is important and crucial to know about our city’s (London, ON) past.

What are you currently working on? 
As previously mentioned, I am currently assisting in an exhibit design. The exhibition is titled, “What Archaeologists Do In The Winter”. Joan Kanigan, knew of my past design and creative experiences and asked that I help conceptualize and plan the winter exhibition.  Before I began, I needed to think through every exacting detail and leave nothing to chance. This requires a lot of preliminary research on my part.

The “What Archaeologists Do In The Winter” exhibition is intended to inform the public of what Archaeologists do in the cold, Canadian winters when excavating is not an option. The exhibition consists of four stations that give the public of a “behind the scenes” experience that is not normally displayed. These four stations are titled: Cleaning, Floating, Re-boxing, and Cataloguing. Each station displays text panels, images, and museum staff and volunteers performing their regular duties for all to see. The exhibition is very informative.

Currently, the museum has Timmins Martell Heritage Consultants assisting with the exhibition as well. Timmins Martell are cleaning and cataloguing their excavated material from the Fugitive Slave Chapel site in London, ON.

How has your job changed since you started?
I am beginning to get more involved with exhibition design and planning. I want to pursue exhibition design as a potential career following post-graduate education, so this experience is relevant and rewarding on a long term basis. Also, as I am becoming increasingly aware of the museum and its daily functions and projects, I am able to train new volunteers that are keen and interested in assisting and getting involved.

What advice can you give others?
If one is interested in pursuing a museum-related career, I would suggest getting involved in any way possible. This may include volunteering for casual or regularly scheduled positions, or researching programs (such as the University of Western Ontario’s Work Study Program) that may offered an income and experience.

When you’re not at work, what do you enjoy doing?
When not at the museum or school, I am also a practicing artist. My work exhibits an interpretation, proximity, and relationship of an artist’s constructed environment, landscape and human presence. I avidly paint and draw in spare time. My website is eskouris.wordpress.com. I also play hockey, work with the City of London, and have an Internship at a London-based contemporary art gallery.

Do you have a favourite moment or story you would like to share? 
This Christmas, the museum ordered in Wok Box for all to eat and enjoy. I ate 6 full plates worth of food. All the staff members were astonished at what a 20 year boy could eat.