Confessions of a Curator

I am writing this blog on the day the biggest snowstorm has hit in years!  I honestly sit here in a bit of awe that we are still in the midst of this pandemic almost 24 months later and that I am yet again working from home. But alas, here we are and do want to know the most scary thing of all?  – I am left alone with my curatorial thoughts… so many of those and let me tell you… yikes!

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The view of my backyard and my snowy birds just trying to find their meal.



What is a curator to do when her museum is closed?  Quite simply – I organize and organize some more…I have been working diligently over the past 2 years to organize and navigate our amazing museum collection.  We have close to 15,000 objects in our collection and I recently completed a collection plan for the site.  This plan included an in-depth review and physical inventory of the collection.  If there is ANY blessing to COVID, it is the gift of time.  I have had time to think and do things for our collection that would have otherwise been waitlisted.  

Much of my job doesn’t get seen by the public. I would say a good 75% of my day is “back of house” projects that make the “front of house” (ie exhibits and programs) look good. As tasking as it all seems sometimes – if the backend is navigable and all things traceable, my future self will be happy! The means better collecting, better exhibits, and more comprehensive programs.

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The Curatorial team made great headway in 2021 to organize several storage spaces in the museum. Here is the dynamic duo pictured in the furniture storage room.



What I am now working towards in the wake of this review is filling in the known gaps and making sure our County story continues beyond the 19th century.  The museum collection needs to start infilling post war story telling. Our grandparents and even more so now, our parent’s generation is now historical and as much as we don’t want to think about it, the stuff that is from their childhood, their angsty teenage years and early married days…are wanted for the museum. Objects from the 50s, 60s, 70, 80s, 90s and everywhere else….are needed. We need to make sure we tell the whole story of the County so that years from now and when there is someone else caretaking the County story….I know I have done my part in the collective preservation. 

My curator’s brain had to orient itself with that thought. The entire existence of our County history was not formed just 200 years ago….it was formed 25 and 50 years ago too and continues to be formed now…through these unprecedented COVID times and our everyday lives beyond this pandemic.  The stories that are in our parent’s living memory matter and we need them preserved.  I would love to hold some of the more obscure County tales in my hands….those unique objects that shape the physical, emotional, social landscape and character around us. While we have started this collecting with a couple of 1960s and 1970s wedding dresses, vintage toys, and household items…we still have a long way to go. 

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Wedding Dress worn by Debbie Morgan at Roblin in 1976. This accession is not yet available online, however it came complete with shoes, veil, catalogues, and photos.


 

To help perhaps inspire some of you…the museum is hosting a vintage space toy exhibit “FUN IN SPACE” this spring. These toys will surely bring back many memories of your own childhoods or that of your parents. These incredible toys, from the 1950s and 1960s, are demonstrative of a time when kids were in constant awe of the world above them, when the Space Race was full on, and when the moon landing was front-page news.  This collection represents a period of time when our world as we know it was changing, when technology was changing daily and it was widely believed that living off planet wasn’t too far off.  Our imaginations were soaring and the creation of these toys was a result of these exciting times. 

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Space People c1950.


 

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Space Patrol Walkie Talkies c1955.


 

This time is in living memory, so while NASA was not in our backyard here in L&A County- the narrative and the technology influenced our lives here 50 years ago and it changed an entire generation forever!

This is just an example of how one event impacted our lives. I haven’t even started with clothing, music, art, literature, social customs, County events and programs, and home trends, that also  need to  come together to give us a solid picture of these times from our not so long ago.

The Museum of Lennox and Addington want to collect for everyone and to tell stories from all walks of life.  Can you lend a hand?  Do you have story to tell me from these “newly historical” decades?  Email me at museum@lennox-addington.on.ca.  Your stuff may be just what we need!

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