An Update on Life Outside the Museum

A lot of my past posts lately have related to life at Fanshawe Pioneer Village, or the things I’ve learned in Digital History. But what else has been going on in my other classes?! The suspense!

Seeing as I only have three classes, I’m limited in what else I can talk about. So! I will focus on my Introduction to Public History class. Which provides, in my humble opinion, a lot more than an introduction.

For this class, we have to design and create an exhibit for Museum London (opening February 23, 2013), surrounding the theme “London Works“. In the main lobby of the museum, they have a large cabinet where they show items from their archives that don’t often meet the public eye. This is where our display will go.

We divided our 10-people program into three groups and we each took a sub-category of “work and labour”. The groups are: labourers, professionals, and domestic work.

I am in the professional group with Erica Gagnon and Paulina Johnson. Together, we will RULE THE WORLDDDDD! Well. The professional world. Of London. Maybe.

This is just a teaser into the real lives of our group and the display we are creating, but hopefully through the MANY hyperlinks in this post, I have caught your attention (probably not- sorry about the lack of pictures, there isn’t much to document yet) and I will keep you “posted” (ha, get it?!) on the developments in this glorious historical world of public history.


What Happens When Winter Comes?

It clearly has been a long time since my last post since I’m talking about shutting down Fanshawe Pioneer Village for the winter and that happened at the end of December. But if you’re really curious, perhaps you’ll forgive me my absence and read on. Either that, or you haven’t been reading all along and didn’t even notice the break. Either way, just what DOES happen when winter comes at FPV??

A glorious thing called site shut down. It actually is really cool to do because you get to step behind the plastic barriers stopping visitors from entering rooms, move that velvet rope and trod upon historical grounds where most cannot trod. Of course it also means sweeping, dusting, looking for mice nests and mopping everything until it gleams, but that’s all part of the excitement.

Carriage shed before its extreme make-over...

Carriage shed before its extreme make-over…

So. If you have a historical building (like the one above) and are looking to close it down for the winter, here’s what you do:

First, dust EVERYTHING. We use a fine-haired duster to brush all things off.

Dusting away!

Dusting away!

Next, clean all clear surfaces such as windows and plastic dividers with a less harmful cleaner than Windex.

Sweep EVERYTHING. It’s pretty satisfying to see the dirt piling up in a place that rarely gets swept, but has groups of children visiting every week.

Mop it all! This is the best part. The floors can look so shiny:

Freshly mopped floors in the Masonic Centre.

Freshly mopped floors in the Masonic Centre.

Once all is dusted, swept, wiped, mopped, vacuumed (if you can), you cover the main items in the room with large, plastic tarps.







In some cases, the tarps are to protect from sun damage (we also use sheets). In others, they’re in case of leaks in the building. In buildings with smaller objects, prone to leaks, we moved items into the centre of the room and covered them under one tarp. (That is what we did in the first “Tarped…” photo)

And that’s pretty much all there is to it – if a montage was created for this event, it would take no time at all and would probably involve singing. As it is, site shut-down is the work of week and the efforts of many different people. There are a lot of buildings to tuck in for a long winter’s nap!