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What’s in a Collection?

Help preserve our collection with the Adopt an Artifact program

The recent discovery of Beatrix Potter’s Kitty in Boots in the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Beatrix Potter archive highlights the tremendous challenge museums can face in managing their collection and the information about them. With often thousands of objects and documents held in trust within museum collections the task of knowing not only what’s in the boxes but where in the museum things are located often falls to a select few people.

Museums hold their collections in trust for the public, and that responsibility includes not only caring for the collection but making the information and knowledge about it accessible.  Having worked with and for museums for over 15 years, I’ve seen examples of extraordinary collections management processes as well as “We don’t know what we’ll do if (fill in name) retires.  They’re the only person who knows where everything is.” Read more

Look Back: The Formative Years

The History of the Museum of Ontario Archaeology

Long before the creation of this blog, and before the digital Palisade E-Post, the museum sent out paper newsletters.  The museum’s first newsletter was published in February 1979.  That newsletter chronicled the early history of the Museum of Ontario Archaeology.

As 2016 begins let’s look back on the formative years of the Museum of Ontario Archaeology.

The wording of the newsletter has been changed slightly.  Changes are enclosed in [ ].

February, 1979, Vol. No. 1 Read more

Welcome to 2016

HappyNewYear

On behalf of the Board and Staff at MOA, I hope everyone enjoyed the best of the holiday season. We’re looking forward to an exciting year at the Museum and I wanted to take this opportunity to share what’s happening over the coming months.

The Board of Directors is looking forward to re-affirming our partnership with Western University. Since the days of Wilfrid and Amos Jury, MOA has had close ties with Western and the MOA Board is committed to maintaining a positive and productive partnership with the university. As we transition from our previous agreement (which has recently expired) to a new agreement, we are excited about the positive role the museum can play, not only at Western, but throughout Ontario. Read more

Changing Landscapes: Archaeology in London

Introduction and Summerside Site

WP_20151020_001

Welcome to our four-part blog series titled Changing Landscapes that takes us on the journey into London’s archaeological past! Although there are hundreds of archaeological sites located throughout London and its surrounding area, we are going to focus on four sites in this series. These sites are featured in our feature exhibition Changing Landscapes: Unearthing London’s Past until April 2016 and highlights archaeology in London.

Before we dive into specific sites, let’s consider why these sites are excavated. The archaeological process in Ontario is not as simple as picking up a trowel and digging a square! The process is guided by rules and regulations set by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport under the Ontario Heritage Act. Since 1974, this act has defined the process that evaluates, investigates, and manages the cultural heritage resources of our province. Read more

We’re Hooked on Archaeology

The staff at MOA wanted to share how we became hooked on archaeology.  We would love to hear how you got hooked on archaeology too, so please leave us your story in the comment section below!

 

Joan, Executive Director

Gilmore
Gilmore

Some of my earliest memories as a child are the many family visits we took to the Royal Saskatchewan Museum and the RCMP Museum.  I can still clearly visualize many of the exhibits that fascinated me as I imagined what life must have been like so many years ago.  My interest in people and cultures led me to Anthropology in university, but it was my first field course in archaeology that set me on my career path.  We were excavating a bison pound site and the experience of uncovering the bone bed and tools needed to hunt these massive animals and survive on the prairies was exciting. Read more

Changing Landscapes: Unearthing London’s Past

Bird's Eye of Victoria Park
Birds Eye View sketch of the Barracks.
Courtesy of D.R. Poulton & Associates

 

Our changing landscapes can reveal much about how communities develop and we can learn much about London’s past by studying how our landscape has changed.

Did you know that London Ontario contains hundreds of archaeological sites scattered throughout the city? Some of these sites might even be located in your neighborhood.  A new exhibit at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology will explore London’s Changing Landscapes and provide insight on how archaeology is conducted.  The early history of London includes aboriginal, pioneer, and early military functions. With new development and reuse of our landscape,  London’s history can be studied through excavated archaeological sites, archived stories, maps, and photographs. Read more

Exhibit Redevelopment

MOA is seeking input to guide plans for exhibit redevelopment and renewal.

Gallery (2)

As most OAS members know, many Ontario archaeologists can trace the beginnings of their working lives to the Museum of Ontario Archaeology (MOA) at Western University. The Museum continues to offer programs in archaeology to southwestern Ontario students and to the public at large, and the London Chapter of the Society still holds its meetings at the Museum.

Sustainable Archaeology is now adjoined to the Museum although it will operate independently for several more years. The innovative technologies at Sustainable Archaeology present exciting opportunities for the Museum to refresh its public programming and exhibits, both inside and outside in the Lawson village. – Read more

Pow Wow Celebration

Pow Wow drum

Pulsating drums, multi-coloured regalia and the rhythmic steps of the dancers are the trademark of the pow-wow.  Today, these special gatherings are held by Indigenous peoples across North America.  As an inter-tribal celebration pow-wows take the form of either a competition in which dancers and drum groups compete for prizes, or as a traditional pow-wow.   The traditional pow-wow is a ceremony for the purpose of honouring the Creator, Mother Earth, or phases in the seasons. Read more

Collection Storage Project

Non-archival boxes previously used.
Non-archival boxes previously used.

This summer, MOA’s curatorial team began its next big project to repack ethnographic artefacts and maps in our collection storage area. Thanks to a grant from the London Community Foundation, MOA was able to purchase archival quality storage materials which will allow us to preserve our remarkable collection for many more generations to come. While it sounds like an easy project, repacking artifacts isn’t as simple as taking things out of one box and putting them in another.  So how are we going about this?

MOA’s ethnographic and map collection consists of more than 3000 objects.  Due to the size of this project, the curatorial team used this opportunity to inventory the entire collection by going through each box one by one.  For every object found in a box, the curatorial team updated its catalogue record, location, condition report, and took digital pictures.  After a box was complete, all objects were re-wrapped in acid free tissue with a new object barcode placed on the tissue surrounding each object. Read more