Tag Archives: University of Toronto

Meet Our Collections Team! Introducing Lily J.

29 Sep

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Hi everyone!
I’m thrilled to be a brand-new addition to the team here at MIA while the museum undertakes a collections audit – a lengthy, intensive, but critical process that ensures everything is a collection is in order (spoiler: it’s usually not).

As a result of changing technologies, changing people, and changing practices, the ways in which a museum keeps track of it’s collection can change drastically over time. Collections audits are regular procedures undertaken to ensure that, despite these changes, a museum can still uphold it’s mission, mandate and vision.

I’ve been a big fan of collections work ever since my somewhat non-traditional entrance into the museum profession during my undergraduate degree. An Environmental Geography student, I was enrolled in my university’s Co-op education program, looking for typical environmental work (think environmental monitoring, GIS). In late spring, worried I would spend the summer with no job at all, I took a job as a Curatorial Assistant working with the collection and exhibition at the University of Victoria Art Collections. I loved everything about it, from the work (centering around another collections audit but also involving curation), exhibition design and installation, to interacting with artists. My tasks were creative, stimulating, and I believed deeply in the importance of it all. Thanks to that experience I went on to work as a Summer Museum Interpreter at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, and with my Environmental Geography degree in hand I began an education in the Master of Museum Studies program at the University of Toronto this summer.

Collections work is meaningful for everyone who interacts with a museum: visitors, artists, staff, researchers, you name it! The objects carry a multiplicity of stories, meanings, and geographies. To be entrusted with working directly with them is immediately inspiring and endlessly fascinating. The collections at MIA are, for me, are particularly important because they are voices from one of the most rapidly changing places on the planet. Furthermore they are cared for and presented by a small institution with a small staff, and it’s often these places that mean the most for particular communities. I was very fortunate to visit the Canadian Arctic during a youth-based research voyage studying climate change and art. The collections at MIA remind me of that time and of that place, and also add new layers to that experience. For these reasons and so many more I am very much looking forward to my time at MIA!

- Posted by: Lily Jackson, MIA’s Collections Management Volunteer

Intern Insights

3 May

Hello again!

I can hardly believe it, but the first week of internship is over and I’ve managed to get quite a lot done. It’s been a productive week and I’m excited to move into the next phase of teacher resource development for the MIA.

After getting through some comprehensive literature about museum policy, programming, accessibility and governance, I jumped right into the best part about this internship—lesson planning! To be honest, it was a bit overwhelming at first, in terms of figuring out what grade level to start with, what direction to take with the lesson (Arts-based? Language-focused? History-oriented?), and making sure to include as many pertinent details and guidelines for teachers as possible. I decided to start with the grades I knew best—Junior-Intermediate. For those that may not be too familiar with teacher speak, that means grades 4-10. Luckily, I had the wonderful opportunity to experience teaching grades 4-8, so I was quite familiar with the general concepts and basic expectations covered in the curriculum.

Kamiks (Arctic snow boots made of animal skin) worn by Labrador Inuit

After consulting with my supervisor, Alysa, we decided a little “museum field trip” was required. On Wednesday, I shadowed a docent at the Bata Shoe Museum giving a tour to a group of middle school students. It was truly fascinating to see how an everyday item that we sometimes take for granted, like footwear, can have an extraordinary history and offers rich insights into the culture that produced it. My visit here also reinforced the importance of artifact-based teaching and learning as an excellent way for students to develop multidisciplinary skills. It’s certainly a learning model that the Bata Shoe Museum and the MIA have nurtured successfully via their docent program.

With some research of my own, and a few great online sources recommended to me by Alysa, I was able to pull together several arts-based lesson plans for grades 4-12 with cross-curricular connections to Social Studies, Language and even Science. The next step will be to edit, polish and tack on assessment guides to these materials before getting a stamp of approval from the Museum.

More updates to come during week 2!

- Posted by: Aviva German, MIA’s Educational Intern

Introducing Our New Educational Intern!

29 Apr

Greetings!

Aviva

My name is Aviva German and I’m the newest member of the MIA team! Over the next month, I’ll be working here at the museum as an Educational Intern. As a teacher candidate from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto, and a previous volunteer at the museum, I’m thrilled to come back and begin my internship at this one-of-a-kind site!

I’m looking forward to developing and sharing a variety of exciting pre- and post-museum visit materials and outreach kits, in alignment with provincial curriculum expectations, to complement any school group visit to the MIA. My goal is to provide educators with the tools they need to begin the museum experience inside the classroom, and encourage students to continue exploring critical themes related to Aboriginal peoples and cultures following their visit.

I hope these materials will be prove to be an invaluable resource for teachers and students alike!

- Posted by: Aviva German, MIA’s Educational Intern

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