My name is Rowa Mohamed. I started working at MOA in October. I’m a museum gift shop assistant. I greet guests, answer calls, do inventory and book workshops, events, birthday parties and tours. I started working at the museum through the work-study program at UWO. I have had a variety of work experience and am always looking for a new experience. I remember the museum from my childhood and was excited to return as an adult. My favorite part of my job is meeting the diverse people that pass through! MOA is a great organization that’s a little hidden, I would recommend to everyone to visit it at some point. It is one of the few sites left to learn about Aboriginal culture. When I’m not at work I am a regular volunteer at the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, a Home Healthcare associate and a Health Sciences Student.
Hello, I’m Stephanie. I have been working at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology for the past 3 years. My position is gift shop assistant and it entails helping customers, answering the phone, booking tours and birthday parties as well as being the first impression of the museum when people come in.
I began working at the museum through work study at Western. Work study has helped me financially to make it through university. I currently work at the YMCA as well, and through the YMCA I gained skills such as customer service and good work ethics. At the YMCA I work with all sorts of people from young children, as small as three months to adults that all come from different parts of the world. This has helped me flourish at the Museum because I am able to provide a richer experience for the visitors that come.
I wanted to work at the Museum because I was interested in the First Nation culture and I also wanted to gain more experience outside of the YMCA. Read more
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”. Read more
Staff Profile Blog: Joan Kanigan
I joined the Museum of Ontario Archaeology as Executive Director in May of 2012. This was an exciting change for me as it allowed me to merge two of my passions – museums and archaeology. What excites me most about working at MOA is that I believe museums can profoundly change people, and that MOA has tremendous potential to inspire the archaeologist in everyone. Museums are great for unleashing our natural curiosity, expand our understanding, and, broaden our sense of place in the world. What makes MOA unique is the connection the museum has to past human experiences. I believe museums connect people through shared experiences, and through archaeology, we can connect with the countless generations that have come before us.
Since joining the MOA team, the museum has seen many changes. With input from many community members, we redeveloped our mission statement to clearly articulate our “why” what we do is important. We have also created a new logo to support our belief that archaeology is (first and foremost) about people and that the role of the museum is also (first and foremost) to serve people. We will soon start planning for a complete redesign of the museum’s permanent exhibits and I am looking forward to involving the community throughout the planning and design phases. Read more
Photographing Fugitive Slave Chapel Artifacts
Larry has volunteered to take photograph some of the important artifacts from the Fugitive Slave Chapel site. In the early afternoon, he was taking pictures of important bottles for future research. We caught him photographing a medicine bottle with the words “pain killer” and “vegetable”. Researchers will find a date and more details about the product.
You can do a quick search for “pain killer vegetable bottle” on Google and see what you find! Who knows, the artifact featured in this video could be Perry Davis’ vegetable pain killer…
Photography and archaeology:
The attached videos feature Rebecca who is working on the “in between” step to help the cataloguer. She is using an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of the items found in the field bags. If any interesting items are found or notes need to be made associated with the unit items being cleaned, they are documented. This will help the cataloguer and make it easy to access certain artifacts when all items are put into storage.
Artifacts are also sorted into smaller bags within the larger field bag. For example, ceramic patterns are sorted and matched if possible and bones might be put together.
Some of the coolest things that have been found are bottles with embossed writing. A lot of information can be gained from these bottles. One item was found to be from a quack doctor’s “miracle medicine” concoction. Read more
Artifact Washing Process:
Small groups of 6-8 people work to help wash artifacts from the Fugitive Slave Chapel site. In the summer, 1 meter square units were excavated on the site and any materials found in that space were documented and kept together in “field bags” with attached provenience information: site number, unit coordinates, level, date, and excavator’s initials. Each bag is given a separate number for the site. Artifacts from the completed units are taken to a lab for processing.
At the Museum of Ontario Archaeology, volunteers are taking items out of the field bags to wash. Read more
Meet Laura Walter, Education Assistant
I am in the Public History MA program, at Western University, and I am currently carrying out my research assistantship at the museum. I started last September, and was thrown into a very busy fall, with a different school group visiting, roughly every Monday and Wednesday that I was at the museum. I help with providing tours, conducting First Nations craft sessions, preparing curriculum based programming, and outreach programming. My favourite part of the position is getting to interact with the children, seeing their faces light up as they step back in time and learn about the First Nations people in Southern Ontario. Particularly with Museum School, which is an excellent program, as it allows for me and the others working in education to get to know the children, and see their knowledge of First Nations history and culture develop, as they spend their week at the museum.
Coming from Penetanguishene, and having previous experience at Huronia Museum, in Midland, I was expecting the museum to have the typical archaeological artifacts in rows of glass cases, but the gallery space is visually pleasing; with historical wall paintings, a hanging canoe, and longhouse, along with being interactive; as one can step into Wilfred Jury’s office or dig in an archaeological site. One of the great aspects of the school tours, is that children can physically handle artifacts, while learn about their purpose, to gain an overall idea of how these early people lived.
To those who are interested in volunteering at the museum in education, if you enjoy learning and sharing history and like a busy energetic environment, the education department can always use the extra hand, as the visiting group size increase all the time. Although, it is a lot of information at first, with time and practice, you will be able to increase your First Nations knowledge, communication skills, and time management ability, while having fun.
To follow my journey through the Public History program at Western University, check out my blog lwalter23.wordpress.com
Hello! I’m Jennifer, the (newly titled) Experience Coordinator at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology. I’ve been working at MOA for 2.5 years. I work on Public Relations and social media, manage the Quillbox Gift Shop, and am the Receptionist. I am lucky to be the one who gets to greet visitors and talk with everyone! 🙂
What led you to this position? Read more