2010 News Archives

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood -- New Exhibit at ARCC

Public History students have curated a new exhibit for the Schweitzer Gallery at Western Archives in the Weldon Library. This exhibit, which explores heritage properties in London's Old South, stemmed from their research on 14 homes and recommendations for designation under the Ontario Heritage Act. This research was conducted for the City of London Heritage Planner and the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario. This exhibit will be on display throughout the spring and summer.


New Book by Claire Campbell - A Century of Parks Canada, 1911-2011
From the University of Calgary Press

When Canada created a Dominion Parks Branch in 1911, it became the first country in the world to establish an agency devoted to managing its national parks. Over the past century this agency, now Parks Canada, has been at the centre of important debates about the place of nature in Canadian nationhood, and relationships between Canada's diverse ecosystems and its communities. Today, Parks Canada manages over forty parks and reserves totalling over 200,000 square kilometres and featuring a dazzling variety of landscapes, and is recognized as a global leader in the environmental challenges of protected places. Its history is a rich repository of experience, of lessons learned - critical for making informed decisions about how to sustain the environmental and social health of our national parks. A Century of Parks Canada is published in partnership with NiCHE (Network in Canadian History and Environment). http://niche-canada.org/


On Display - Objects from the UWO Medical Artifact Collection

An artificial leg, a French surgical set, a fetal stethoscope, homeopathic drugs and more ... are now on display at Weldon Library!  "Instruments and Devices: The Material Culture of Medicine" is a 5-case display mounted by graduate students Caitlyn Dyer, Kira Westby, Jennifer Bonder, Brent Wiancko, Adair Harper, Joanna Dawson, and Jessica Dubinsky that showcases the material culture of medicine -- or the "things" used by practitioners in the practice of medicine.  These objects are taken from the UWO Medical Artifact Collection, which contains over 1,000 objects, ranging from bloodletting instruments and surgical sets to microscopes and pharmaceuticals, representative of late 19th- and early to mid-20th century practice and teaching of health and medicine in southwestern Ontario.


Alumnus Featured in Heritage Profile Series

Krista McCracken (2008-09), currently an Archives Technician at the Residential School Research and Archive Centre at Algoma University was recently interviewed by Kayla Jones, an Ontario Heritage Planning Specialist for her series on new professionals.


London Heritage Portal Launch

After 3 years, London Heritage Council launched its Heritage Portal in January of 2011. Meaghan Nelligan (2008-09) acted as the first Portal Coordinator and Annique Sanche (2010-11) has also worked towards the launch as part of her Research Assistantship.


Echoes and Reflections: A Multimedia Curriculum on the Holocaust, by Catherine Caughell from ActiveHistory.ca

As teachers, we constantly strive to engage the students in our classrooms both emotionally and intellectually; we choose learning materials we hope will resonant with them and initiate discussions aimed at inspiring their intellectual curiosity and critical thinking. If we’re very lucky, what we do in the classroom ultimately leads to personal reflection, growth and a life-long passion for learning. In the social sciences, study around the Holocaust gives us, as educators, an amazing opportunity to enter into discussions with our students about topics such as stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination, and what can happen when fundamental human and civil rights are denied to individuals or groups of people. That said, because of both the nature of the material and the sheer depth of research surrounding the Holocaust, it is possible for teachers approaching the subject to feel overwhelmed when trying to develop lesson and/or unit plans.Read more...


Accessibility of Canadian History, by Krista McCracken from ActiveHistory.ca

The desire to make Canadian history more accessible to the general public is nothing new. Accessibility takes many forms: educational programming, the use of photographs to spur interest in a subject, opening archives to the general public, and the use of technology to bring history resources to a wider audience. Technology is used widely in the heritage field to increase accessibility. Technology has facilitated the creation of publicly available history databases, an increased digital presence of heritage institutions, and the development of heritage specific digital tools. There has been a rise in history databases designed for the general public. These databases often contain images and primary sources which were previously restricted to academics. Increased accessibility of primary sources assists academic research, genealogy, and the work of amateur historians. Increasingly, digital archival holdings are open to everyone regardless of professional qualifications. Read more...


Smithsonian Curator Visits UWO

Public History and Material Culture students welcomed Judy Chelnick, Associate Curator, Division of Medicine and Science, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution on February 7th. Chelnick led a two part day-long workshop on collections management and care, and the use of artifacts in the study of medical history.


Students to Present at the Canadian Museums Association Annual Conference

The annual CMA meeting, themed "Evolve or Die!" will be held in London this coming spring and four of the 2010-11 Public History students will be presenting their research on Thursday, April 14. Jennifer Levin-Bonder is part of a panel exploring the use of technology in the engagement of Gen Y with museums. Jennifer Nelson will present on her work to dramatize the nineteenth-century Hendershott murder in St. Thomas. Brent Wiancko and Terran Fader will discuss the Public History group project which uses the open-source software Omeka to create a virtual exhibit for the J.P. Metras Museum.  For the full CMA program and to register, see here..


Heritage Designation Research

On December 1, 2010, Public History students presented their heritage designation research on selected homes in High Street area of Old South in London to the London Advisory Committee on Heritage. This research will be used by the City in their deliberations to designate houses as heritage properties under the Ontario Heritage Act, and by the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario in their annual summer historic homes walk.


October Convocation

Congratulations to the 2009-10 Public History grads who convocated last week on October 29th!


New Twitter Feed

The UWO Medical Artifact Collection has a new Twitter account here. Follow us to see the research and collections management tasks we are working on.


Rogers TV to Profile Public History at UWO

Director Michelle Hamilton, and students Caitlin Dyer, Jennifer Nelson and Michelle Goodridge spoke about the Public History program with Fanshawe journalism student Sarah Shore in October. The segment will air on Rogers TV in early December.


Environmental History in the Classroom, by Adam Crymble, August 20, 2010

Every year thousands of university students write thousands of exams to prove they have learned something. Each year, a groups of UWO Master's students in the Public History program opt instead for something more practical. Just in time for Earth Day -- April 22nd -- this year's students are putting the finishing touches on a series of historical lesson plans that engage elementary school students with environmental problems for our past. Read more from the NiCHE website.


Now Far From Home, by Shelagh Staunton Now Available!

For more about this book, see Shelagh's blog. Please contact Director Michelle Hamilton if you would like a copy at mhamilt3@uwo.ca.


Memories of L'Anse Aux Meadows, from ActiveHistory.ca

Megan Arnott writes about some of her experiences during her internship at this national historic site in Newfoundland.


Oil Legend Debunked? From the Sarnia Observer

Dana Johnson talks about some of the social history research she conducted during her Lambton County Fellowship internship at the Oil Museum of Canada.


Ridout/Talbot Heritage Research Project Featured on FM106.9

Director Michelle Hamilton was interviewed by Bill Paul, on "Straight Talk," about the 2009-10 students' heritage research and designation project. The piece was broadcast on Sunday, July 25.


Public History Student Wins Accelerate Canada Internship Grant

Congratulations to Dana Johnson, who has recently been awarded an Accelerate Canada matching grant for her summer 2010 internship at the Oil Museum of Canada. Dana, also funded by the Lambton County Fellowship, is researching the social aspects of the oil booms of 1858 and 1863 to determine their impact on the community of Oil Springs and the rest of Canada.


Now Far From Home: a World War One Letters Project, by Shelagh Staunton

As historians, we seek to be objective in our understanding and representation of the past. But at the same time we strive for this goal, we acknowledge the obstacles in our way. Can the past ever be separated from our present perceptions? Our own life experiences? Does how we represent history tell us more about ourselves than the past we try to capture? These questions have often been the focal point of class discussions in my Public History program this year, but I have also asked them of myself as I work towards completing a project that is more personal than any essay I have ever completed for school. This past winter I approached Dr. Jonathan Vance, my Social Memory professor and the Canada Research Chair in Conflict and Culture, about a collection of family letters from the First World War. They were written to my great-grandmother, Kathleen Jones, from her fiancée who was serving overseas. Dr. Vance was kind enough to allow me to compile and edit the letters for my class project, and the product of five long but incredibly rewarding months of transcribing, scanning, researching, and editing will soon culminate in a book that will be published this summer. I have titled it Now Far From Home: the First World War Letters of Captain Gerald Edward Blake. Read more on the Young Historians blog, from Canada's National History Society.


International Museum Day at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, by Tasha Diloreto, June 24, 2010

Since 1977,International Museum Day has taken place across the world on, or around, the 18th of May. This day is meant raise public awareness towards some of the daily challenges that museums face and allows members of the public a glimpse into the way a museum operates. Each year the International Council of Museums (ICOM) chooses a theme that it encourages participating museums to work with, and the theme for 2010 was Museums for Social Harmony. According to ICOM’s Theme Statement, museums “are in a position to address the urgent need for safe-guarding cultural diversity and bio-diversity as the common heritage of humanity.” Read more at http://activehistory.ca/.


Public History Alumni Speak at Recent Conferences

Sarah Maloney (2008-09) recently presented her work with the 1812history.com project with Brock University, Our Ontario and numerous museums in the Niagara region at the annual Archives of Association Annual Conference. Tim Compeau 2005-06), Devon Elliott (2007-08) and Erin Semande (2003-04) all spoke at the Ontario Heritage Conference in June. Tim presented "Crowd-Sourcing Your Collections: Using Wikis in Small Museums," and Devon's talk was entitled "Digital Tools and Media to Protect and Publicise Historic Buildings." 


Banting Beaker Finds a More Public Home, by Sara Sirianni, May 27, 2010

At the start of next summer The University of Western Ontario's Medical Artifact collection and the Department of History will be moving to the building formerly known as Stevenson-Lawson.  One item not making the move is a very average-looking beaker that belonged to Sir Frederick Banting. Read more of Sara Sirianni's article in the Western News. Sara is interning at the Banting House National Historic Site this summer.


Architectural Conservancy of Ontario Uses Public History Research

The London Branch of the ACO will incorporate the research of the 2010-11 Public History students in their 37th annual Geranium Heritage House Tour. The 2010 tour will be held on June 6 and will feature houses in the historic Ridout and Talbot street area. Read more about the project in the ACO newsletter on page 2.


Lessons from the 36th Congress on Party Rigidity Today

Public History student Jordan Goldstein writes about partisan politics for the History News Network. Read more.


Environmental History in the Classroom:  EcoKids, NiCHE and The University of Western Ontario, by Dana Johnson and Megan Arnott, May 5, 2010

Graduate students in the M.A. in Public History program at the University of Western Ontario are trained to apply their skills to projects outside the realm of academia. In the fall semester of 2009 we received an exciting opportunity to work in conjunction with two outside partners in the preparation of environmentally-focused lesson plans for educators across Canada.Read more 


From Eek to Chic:  A Look at Maternity Wear

Nowadays, celebrities pose on the red carpet looking glamorous, while showing off their rounded bellies. Fashion designers have caught on to this trend and are now competing to offer expectant mothers clothes that will accentuate their womanly curves. But has this always been the case? Here is a look at the evolution of maternity wear... with many surprising fashion twists! Read more about the research on and collecting of maternity wear by Krista Cooke and Andrea Melvin at the Canadian Museum of Civilization.  


UWO Public History on YouTube

Following the lead of the National Council on Public History initiative, we now have a YouTube channel to feature the work of our students and graduates. If you have a piece you would like to share, please email Michelle Hamilton at mhamilt3@uwo.ca


Public History Bloggers

Many of our former students are in demand as bloggers. Jenna Leifso (2008-09), Archives Assistant at the Stratford Festival Archives, has begun a blog featuring the unique artifacts and documents held there.  Canada’s National History Society invited Vicky Tran (2008-09) to be the new BC blogger for Canada’s History, their re-named magazine formerly known as the Beaver. See her first piece at http://www.canadashistory.ca/Education/Young-Historians/History-Vinhgnettes.aspx. Dana Johnson has also guest-blogged for the Society at http://www.canadashistory.ca/Education/Young-Historians/Public-History-Blog.aspx. Adam Crymble (2007-08) and Krista McCracken (2008-09) have joined the bloggers at ActiveHistory.ca. Tim O'Grady (2009-10) has guest-blogged for ActiveHistory about his Digital History project. Check out their thoughts here. 


Shingwauk Project Launched at Algoma University

As Library Director at Algoma, Ken Hernden (1997-98) has been recently involved in the Shingwauk Project which makes accessible to the public three decades of archival material related to Indian Residential Schools in Canada. Thousands of documents, photographs, publications, and audio and video recordings will be digitized for public access. For more information, click here and here.


1812History.com Website Launched

In celebration of the upcoming bicentennial of the War of 1812, this new website features photographs, documents and objects from Niagara region heritage, cultural and educational institutions, including the Brock University Archives, the Niagara Historical Society, the Jordan Historical Museum, the Grimsby Museum, the Niagara Falls History Museum, the Port Colborne Historical Museum, and the RiverBrink Art Museum. It also offers educational plans for teachers. Sarah Maloney, a 2008-09 Public History graduate, was one of the team members for this exciting new resource.


The Maternity Clothing History Project

Andrea Melvin, a 2007-08 graduate, is researching the history of maternity clothing, including collecting objects for the Canadian Museum of Civilization. If you are interested in contributing, see the project page here.