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Behind the Scenes: Meet Kylie

My name is Kylie Kelly. I have been working as student assistant curator at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology since September 2013. I am fortunate that with my position I get to experience every aspect of the museum, from cataloguing artifacts, organizing exhibits, to assisting with the education programs. I am currently attending Western University for Classical and Medieval studies; I wish to pursue a career in Roman or Egyptian archaeology, specifically in museum and conservation, after I am done my undergrad. My passion for history is what initially drew me to work at the museum. I love everything old. Along with my love of history I am also of Native American descent, so working here has also given me a unique chance to see my own heritage and culture.

The project I am currently working on is cataloging the museums ethnographic collection into an online database. The artifacts I come across range from ancient arrowheads from 5000 BCE, to Austrian Smoking pipes, and all the way to beaded bags from the War of 1812. Every day is new and exciting; I never know what artifacts I will find when I open up one of the many boxes that have been in storage. After I have a few artifacts I then hunt through files to find out what the artifact is, its history, and the story that goes along with it. From there I take all of the information I find and put it into the museum’s Past Perfect system. Past Perfect is the museum’s operation system that acts as an electronic file that holds all of the artifacts information, pictures, and donation records.


Along with cataloguing I have also had the opportunity to help design and plan exhibits. My first day working at the museum I was actually unpacking a travelling exhibit from the Royal Ontario Museum. As someone who has been there many times it was amazing to actually be able to see and handle the artifacts. Recently, my co-worker Nicole and I updated the Roots of a Nation permanent exhibit to include textiles, toys, and tools of the Metis, Inuit, and First Nations across Canada.

I have noticed tremendous progress since I started working at the MOA. From making our files and artifacts accessible to the general public through online databases, to the growth and expansion of the education program, the museum is evolving and growing every day.

People quite often disregard Ontario’s history, many don’t even believe me when I tell them there are ongoing archaeological excavations here in London, but Ontario and Canada’s history is so expansive and interesting if one takes the time to learn about it. Canada’s has tens of thousands of years of diverse history; walking through the museum you can see the evolution of North American Civilization.  If you start at the museum’s prehistoric display case you can follow the story of Canadian people starting from Ice age all the way up to the European Contact age. Being able to see, learn, and teach the amazing history of Canadian people makes my job simply amazing.

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