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Work Study Profile: Summer 2015 Curatorial Interns

An interview with our Summer 2015 Curatorial Interns, Erin Fawcett & Mary Simonds.

Mary and Erin 2015
Mary and Erin working on reboxing artifacts

We’ve worked at MOA since May 2015 as curatorial interns. Both our duties involve collections, curatorial work, and research. We have been doing an inventory of the ethnographic collections and helping set up incoming exhibits. We’re working on reboxing and rehousing artifacts and re-configuring the storage room in order to better preserve the numerous items held here. (Erin:) I am currently working on the inventory of the ethnographic collection and I am starting the plans for re-configuring the storage room collections.  (Mary): I am concentrating on finding the best way to catalogue and digitize the archaeological artifacts and all of the associated material.

Erin, what educational experiences led you to this intern position at MOA?

I am currently completing my post-graduate degree from Georgian College in Museum and Gallery Studies, this internship is part the program. Before coming to MOA I worked two seasons as a Museum Assistant (summer student position) at the Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Homestead in St. George, Ontario. I also had a high school coop placement in 2010 at the Bell Homestead in Brantford, Ontario. I have had a long standing interest and passion for museums ever since.

What about you, Mary?

I just finished the first year of my Masters in Museum Studies at the University of Toronto; this internship is actually part of my course work. I did my undergraduate degree in Anthropology and Classical Studies at Western. I have always been interested in archaeology/artifacts and I had hoped to somehow turn my interest into a career. MOA is exactly the type of institution I hope to work in once I graduate and I know the experience I gain over the summer will be a big asset when I apply to jobs in the future.

How did you hear about this position at MOA?

Erin: I heard about this position through the curator Nicole Aszalos. Nicole was in the same program as me at Georgian College last year and completed her internship at MOA as I am doing now. The position listed for curatorial/collections duties sounded perfect as I knew at that point that anything involving collections is where I wanted to be.

Mary: I have to complete an internship as part of my program at U of T. I am originally from London so MOA came to mind straight away. The focus on archaeology and the associated archaeological site (Lawson Site) were big attractions for me. Most of my background has been in Classical archaeology so it is nice that I will be broadening my experience by working here.

Do you have a favourite moment or story you would like to share?

Erin: One day I was doing inventory in storage and pulled out a box which I expected to hold some of the very large collection of the Monaghan baskets. Instead I found an African lion’s skull. I remember staring at it for quite a while before I started actually recording the information. It was definitely a cool surprise! Part of my job is to make sure we know what’s in the boxes before handling them through the use of inventory lists so that surprises like this don’t happen.

Mary:  My most memorable experience so far has been working on the small long house out on the Lawson site. Lawson site is definitely one of my favourite things about MOA! I find it really cool that a lot of the artifacts on display in the museum came from the archaeological site right next to it. I think it helps visitors connect more with the artifacts being able to see exactly where they came from.

If there was one thing you could tell the world about MOA, what would it be?

Ontario’s archeological heritage is very interesting. It is amazing what things have been discovered in our own backyard! MOA is full of wonderfully  interesting artifacts that tell the amazing story about the first peoples who lived in this area.


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