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Past Exhibits

Earth & Fire: The Craft and Form of Ontario Earthenware Pottery Traditions

In Partnership with FUSION Potters Guild and London Heritage Council

Curated by Nicole Aszalos with Dr. Rhonda Bathurst

Archaeologists recognize pottery of many shapes, sizes, and purposes as one of the most common artifact types found on archaeological sites, almost anywhere around the world. Made of earth and hardened by fire, even fragments of pottery can endure as archaeological evidence for thousands of years, providing insight into domestic foodways and an artisanal craft that continues to thrive, today.

This exhibit explores the materials and processes involved in making earthenware pottery from ancient examples originating from what is now the province of Ontario, to modern experiences of creating pots from a local clay source. Follow this narrative as it is shared through three voices: The Archaeologist, the Traditional Knowledge Keeper, and the Potter.

Designing Digital: New Methods in Interpreting the Past

Curated by Nicole Aszalos with Dr. Neal Ferris (Western University) and Dr. Michael Carter (Ryerson University)

Imagine a fire crackling and smoke rising from a fire tended down the central corridor of a longhouse, as you step out of the cold and into the warmth of your home. Your family is sitting all around the fire chatting, working, cooking, and enjoying each others company.

Archaeologists try to make meaning of archaeological traces to understand different moments in time. Explore visual representations of these moments in time, from early dioramas to using virtual archaeology, and learn how these new technologies are shaping our understanding of the past.

Farming Before Canada: The Harvest Season at Lawson Site

Co-Curated by Joel Wodholms and Nicole Aszalos

Long before Canada and long before London, a thriving and vibrant village settled at this location. The inhabitants were busy throughout the year collecting the plants of each season and preparing for the winter, when fresh food was scarce. Agricultural plants were labour intensive, but provided a reliable food source for year-round consumption and the harvest time of year that was one of the busiest. The air around the village would have been thick with the smell of wood smoke and roasted food and the sound of busy voices, ceremonial songs, reunited laughter, barking dogs and chopping wood.

As you celebrate the harvest this season, remember that these foods and this season have been celebrated since a time immemorial.

Indigenous Matters

Curated by Dr. Susan Hill and the Intro to First Nations Studies Class, Western University

Indigenous Matters is the result of a year of creative and critical reflection by the students of Indigenous peoples and culture in Canada, and beyond, and why ‘it matters.’
The students explored Indigenous representations in both Indigenous and non- Indigenous media, institutions and communities, examining historic and contemporary Indigenous life.
Among the items created by the students are photos, sculpture, fabric arts, paintings, leather work and carvings.

Selections from the Collection: History, Culture, Legends


Co-curated by Claude Bock and Nicole Aszalos 

Selections from the Collection: History, Culture, Legends exhibits contemporary First Nations art from the Museum of Ontario Archaeology’s growing contemporary art collection using work created by Indigenous artists from across Ontario.

The artists featured in this exhibition combine history, culture, and legends along with present day realities. Similarly, the collection of Mohawk pottery is a melding of traditional patterns and symbology with contemporary interpretations. Through presenting these artworks, the Museum of Ontario Archaeology aims to encourage visitors to learn more about the artworks, artists, and traditions.

Selections from the Collection is the result of a recent archiving project conducted by Claude Bock for his MA in Art History at Western University.

Decolonizing Frames: Questioning, Critiquing, and Celebrating Indigenous Representation

Exhibit Postcard

Curated by Dr. Rick Fehr and the Intro to First Nations Studies Class, Western University

Decolonizing Frames charts the creative journeys of students as they studied topics ranging from the history of colonialism in Canada, Indigenous Knowledge systems, residential schools, food sovereignty, representation, and self-determination. Some expressions reflect the personal journeys of the students themselves, while others reflect on the deeper histories of treaty relationships in the lower Great Lakes, while others explore family lineages, Indigenous landscape modification, and gender. Ultimately, Decolonizing Frames is about questioning, critiquing, and celebrating Indigenous representation.

Changing Landscapes

Curated by Nicole Aszalos, Museum of Ontario Archaeology, with Rob Pihl, ASI; supported by the Good Foundation.

October 21st, 2015 – March 20th, 2016

Take a journey exploring London’s earliest settlements to see how these sites have evolved and are being used in our community today.

Did you know that there are hundreds of archaeological sites throughout the city of London, Ontario? Some of these sites might even be part of your neighborhood!

The early history of London includes aboriginal, pioneer, and early military sites. With new development and reuse of our landscape, London’s history can be studied through excavated archaeological sites, archived stories, maps, and photographs.

Changing Landscapes explores four areas of our city where archaeological sites have been investigated: Victoria Park, Springbank Park, Jackson District, and Kensall Park.

Weaving Together the Northeast


A joint exhibition between students at Huron University College and the Museum of Ontario Archaeology

June 17th, 2015 – October 15th, 2015

Weaving Together the Northeast is a special exhibit curated by the students of Professor Thomas Peace from Huron University College at Western University in partnership with the Museum of Ontario Archaeology. The exhibit concentrates on the history of northeastern North America between the 16th and 17th centuries, and how the First Nations people in Southwestern Ontario connected with the broader context of Canada.

Discover this collaborative exhibition interwoven into the permanent exhibitions in the main gallery space. Students had the ability to bring their research into a feature museum exhibit by using artifacts from MOA’s collection to illustrate their work.

Incorporated in this exhibit is a section of First Nations beadwork, including pre-European contact beads and Wampum beads.  This section of the exhibit is the work of the students from Historian’s Craft from Huron University College.Weaving Together the Northeast highlights the relationship between the First Nations and the European settlers and the complex interconnectedness of the various First Nations societies by understanding the importance of First Nations history and this time period.

No Word for Art


An exhibition featuring the creative works of Santee Smith by Woodland Cultural Center

May 27, 2015 – October 8, 2015

For the Onkwehon:we the concept of art is not defined. Creative endeavours were a part of life, and those who created shared their gifts for the pleasure of all. No Word for Art is an exhibition highlighting the artistic achievements of Santee Smith, an accomplished dancer, choreographer, performer and pottery designer, and one of Six Nations’ finest creative artists.

Santee Tekaronhiáhkhwa Smith is a mother and multi disciplined artist from the Kenien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) Nation Turtle Clan of Six Nations, Ontario. In 2005, she founded the internationally acclaimed Kaha:wi Dance Theatre based on her first major choreography work of the same name. Since then, her artistic endeavours have grown and have granted her numerous nominations and awards, including a Canadian Aboriginal Music Award and a Dora Mavor Moore for Outstanding Choreography. As an artist, Santee commits to sharing Indigenous stories that speak about identity, humanity, and relationship to the natural world. She often teaches and speaks on contemporary dance, performance, and First Nations arts and culture around Canada and the United States.

War of 1812: The Chippewa Experience

1812 Chippewa Experience at Museum of Ontario Archeology

Developed by Antler River Associates on behalf of the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation
January 3rd to May 4, 2014

Learn about the significant communication methods of wampum belts, trade goods, and trail marker trees during the war. Explore art and artifacts depicting life during the War of 1812 from the Chippewa experience.

Blood Memories: Pieces to a Puzzle

Museum Exhibits in London Ontario

Curated by local Métis artist Ken Rollinson
September 13 to December 19, 2014

Ken Rollinson is a Métis Artist with Abenaki/Mic mac and European ancestry.  His show will feature carvings, illustrations and photographs documenting his research into the use of plants in aboriginal traditional medicine, through the use of meditational prayer and heritage tobacco.  The imagery documents his spiritual connection and communication with the plants he works with as was done in the past.  The hope is to help people to understand the belief that all things are connected through spirit and when that is respected the result is the sharing of information that enables survival for all.

Exhibit poster

The Story of Our “Grandfathers”: Our Original Medicines

 Curated by Dakota Ireland with Nicole Aszalos

May 28, 2014 – August 25, 2014

The Story of Our “Grandfathers” featured Indigenous plants and medicines. Visitors explored the interconnections of plants, food, medicines, and spirituality by journeying through the First Nation story of the origin of plants and foods.  The exhibit featured many different indigenous plants to the Great Lakes region, how they were collected, their medicinal and practical uses. View our Press Release for further background information.

Watch this video on the Haudenosaunee creation story which accompanies the exhibit.

“What Archaeologists Do in the Winter”

January 6, 2014 – April 28, 2014

When excavating in the field gets too cold and frozen to dig, what do Canadian archaeologists do? They move into the lab and work on artifact conservation, site reports, cataloguing, and more!  This exhibit also featured selected artifacts from the recent excavation at the Fugitive Slave Chapel site at 275 Thames Street.

Postes et Telegraphes button
This button originates from the postal service in France. It’s a mystery how it ended up at the FSC site in London, Ontario.
Ceramic artifact
This Wallis Grimson & Co 1884 ceramic piece was one of few items found fully intact at the FSC site.
Many interesting 19th c./early 20th c. bottles were found in what may be small refuse pits on the site including this Vaseline bottle
Many interesting 19th c./early 20th c. bottles were found in what may be small refuse pits on the site, including this Vaseline bottle
Winter Archaeology Museum Exhibits

 O’h ya’h ohdiwenagoh: Through the Voices of Beads

September 14 – November 10, 2013 in the Feature Gallery

Bead workers have played a vital role in preserving Iroquois beliefs over the centuries. This exhibit, from selections of the ROM collection and Iroquois beadwork artist Samuel Thomas, revealed the meaning expressed in Iroquois beadwork and culture which still thrives today.
Additional details and media information: Press Release

Iroquois Bead Exhibit
Corn Husk display

Artifact Re-boxing project

June – August, 2013 in the Feature Gallery

Artifact handling

The Feature Gallery was buzzing this summer with Western University work study students and volunteers working on the Museum’s artifact re-boxing project. Our assistants prepared the Museum’s collections for transfer to the Sustainable Archaeology facility by removing any non-archival materials, such as cardboard and paper bags, and transferring them into inert and acid free archival materials.

Legacy of the Grand River Exhibit

March 4-April 30, 2013 in the Feature Gallery


The story of the Grand River, and the significance of the region to the American Revolutionary Wars, the War of 1812, and the Industrial Revolution, was explored in this exhibit. Click here to view the poster: Legacy of Grand River



Hello there.

I would like to speak with someone regarding an “Our Lady of Lourdes Statue” 1860-1880s?

If was found in a cave in Northern Ontario in 1939.
Is there someone I could speak with to learn more about how and why this statue was in this cave?
Thank You

Heather Hatch

Hello Kevin,

This sounds like a really interesting find – however it
would be really difficult to narrow down specifics. If you have more context about the find, you can send us an email to, but I can’t guarantee that we will be able to get a precise answer.

Patti Dolman

I’m wondering if your museum has ever come across an artifact used by indigenous people to grind or break nuts and referred to as a Nutting Stone? There are many photos of them online and as many opinions as to whether they are natural ( pertaining to water erosion) or man-made. They are often 8x5x3 inches. Some have multiple divets others have only one.

Heather Hatch

Yes, we have examples of these in our collections. Indigenous peoples used grinding stones for nuts, corn, seeds, and even clay.