Caught in action doing what I love. Telling people about life in the oceans before the dinosaurs. In particular, the Middle Cambrian life found in the amazing fossil deposits of the Burgess Shale in Yoho, B.C. Above me a case with rope lava from Hawaii, amethyst geode from Brazil and a Paloma Picasso gem necklace. On the table, a fossil coral, the papercraft Anomalocaris and pieces from the Parks Canada Burgess Shale kit. I’m holding the knitted nautiloid (see previous post).
This is where my favourite museum collection resides at present.
This is the room where they will be featured in sometime in 2014.
Thanks to Mother Nature, I was treated to a glorious display of colourful trees on a trip to a meeting in nearby St.Catharines this past week. Plus I got to see a ship going through the Welland Canal at the St.Catharines museum. Take a look.
Here is the vantage point at Lock #3 to view the ships traveling between Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.
Plus the day started with a double rainbow at sunrise. Does it get any better?
Well winning the lottery might…but until then, I feel blessed.
Today marks one year since my spouse and I left for our trip to England, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland. I find trips always change me. One cannot be drenched in another culture without absorbing some intangible essence that seeps into one’s bones.
Ireland was like that. A new experience for both of us.
Although I have an Irish last name, due to an adoption somewhere in the great-great past, it may not be the family name after all. That gives me the opportunity to be from anywhere and everywhere.
And of course, I loved the museums I visited, especially to see what has been excavated from peat bogs – from gold neck collars to preserved people.
I’m sure I learned about Medieval Europe in grade 9 or 10, but not much of that early training is memorable. Instead, I fall back on visual portrayals such as movies and TV shows for my knowledge of what happened during those times. So I probably owe most of my understanding to Monty Python’s The Holy Grail. After all, I attended its first showing in Toronto and was given a coconut on my way in.
So to consider staging a Medieval Europe event as an Outreach program for my museum was a bit daunting. But soon I discovered that the act of conceiving and planning the program was a process of discovery itself.
First, I took off for the European Gallery. What artifacts, signage and multi-media content could give me inspiration? Then I dug out the notes I copied down anytime I heard a curator speak on subjects like ‘motte and bailey’ castle design.
I turned to photos of my latest travel adventure in Ireland. Next came DVDs and books from the public library, and google-driven explorations into the cyber-world.
Slowly the program has taken shape. It will include:
- a three part challenge to become a Knight
- design your own coat of arms on a bristol board shield
- learn the Nine Man’s Morris boardgame and build one out of an old CD case
- learn about crown jewels and then decorate your own crown
- how castles were built for defence and how to use a trebuchet (catapult)
- online games to build a castle, enter a jousting match (via Wifi)
- plus a toddler’s area where castles can be built from plastic blocks
- a touch table of artifacts from the Medieval Europe Edukit (http://www.rom.on.ca/schools/edukits.php)
The program will develop and be refined as our Outreach team gathers tomorrow for our prep meeting and ultimately tests the activities with families at Ronald McDonald House. Of course, no program is complete without feedback afterwards. Not every activity will end up working as well as one imagines during the concept stage. Not to worry. There are always ideas to substitute. After all, the Medieval world lasted for centuries and included more than Europe. There is a vast vista yet to be discovered.