I am beyond excited to be back working at the museum; the artifacts, the exhibits, sufficient desk space, all of these things make me happy. Being back in my work happy place means I can take a deep breath and get back to getting things done, and boy has there been a lot of tasks to accomplish.
I have been spending a portion of most days adding artifacts to the museum’s online collection. I get to spend my time researching these amazing artifacts and finding out what their stories are, and when I do, I get to share them with the internet. I get so jazzed about finding an artifact I can really sink my teeth into, all I want to do is stand up on the steps of the museum and shout: Look how cool this is! Fortunately I am pretty good at repressing that particular urge. That being said I am going to highlight the potato masher seen above, which will be added online soon. This artifact belonged to the family of Jessie Bruce O’Hara, a first generation Canadian, born in 1888, she was the youngest child of seven and her family lived in Camden Township. In 1911 Jessie married Acton Meredith Robinson, a local farmer. Jessie held on to this potato masher until the age of 70 when she donated it to the Lennox and Addington Historical Society in 1958.
As fun as researching artifacts is, most of June has been occupied with preparing for several exhibits. The main space I’ve been working in has been the space previously occupied by the Gibbard Gallery. This gallery has gone through a truly breathtaking transformation. Brick and stone walls have been revealed, along with a few other surprises. The exhibit space has been outfitted with new display cases, hanging systems, and as you can see above, is just starting to have artifacts brought in for the new exhibit ‘Affectionately Yours’.
One of the shocks I experienced while setting up the exhibit was exactly how much time it takes getting this large of an exhibit ready. One example of this was how much time it takes to get protective backing off of acrylic display cases. Above is a photo of the process partway finished with one large case all unpapered, and the second still completely covered. At the point when this photo was taken I had spent approximately two and a half hours taking the adhesive heavy paper backing off of the one case. This was an excellent learning experience for me; give yourself a lot of time for every task, especially the ones that look like they will only take a few minutes, because you never know.
A series of events that kept me laughing for about two weeks was dealing with one of the beautiful wedding dresses that are being featured in the exhibit. This colourful, layered, and flowery dress could make a textile lover out of anyone. However, it was not just the dress that caused the amusement but the mannequin. As I found out, one does not simply place a garment on a mannequin. No, instead the dress goes on, the dress comes off and repeat as many times as is necessary. The primary reason the dress came off was because one of the mannequin’s legs became bent when the shoes were added and refused to straighten. I am extremely glad no one got a photo but I’m sure it would have been a hoot to see both myself and the curator pinning a mannequin to a table trying to get the legs even. Eventually the mannequin’s leg was straightened, it was completely redressed, and it looks amazing right along with the rest of the exhibit. The last month back at the museum has been a whirlwind of excitement, exploring the collection, and gaining a ton of new experience.