Meet the Team
Hi there! Here we have a new blog, and a new person writing it. My name is Liz, and I am thrilled to join the Museum team as the new Digital Content and Social Media Assistant. If you’re wondering what the heck that actually is, please read on!
Let’s start with some trivia: Did you know that on average, only 10% of a museum’s entire collection is on display for the public to see?
That’s where I come in – I want to share the other 90% (okay, that might be a stretch, but I’m dreaming big). The museum has already done a fantastic job of making the collection accessible online (you can check that out here); however I am going to bring it to life in different ways – more images, videos, blogs and beyond that will pique your curiosity and showcase all the museum has to offer.
So, what about the person behind the title? I could have a background in marketing, communications, journalism… but I actually come from a pretty varied museum background. Something I have been asked many times before when told that I work at a museum is, “well how did you get into that?” In this (hopefully not too lengthy) blog, I will answer the above question…
It would be too simple to say that “I’ve always loved museums and knew I wanted to work in one.” My path to the museum world was very meandering, and something I never considered until well into my academic pursuits – and even then, it was on a bit of a whim!
My first memorable trip to a museum was near my hometown of Peterborough at the beloved Lang Pioneer Village. I was supposed to go with my school on a class trip to the Village, but was sick and couldn’t go. The next day, I was still not quite well enough to go to school, but my mom thought I was well enough to go to the Village (thanks, Mom). I loved it. I visited the old inn, the log cabins, the one room school, and the barns… life “back then” really appealed to me, even at a young age.
Image credit: https://kawarthanow.com/2014/10/17/lang-pioneer-village/
Fast forward a few years later to high school, and I was excited for Grade 10 History. I never did well in subjects that I wasn’t interested in (Science or Math? I shudder at the thought…). My “success” in school always correlated to my interest level. I wrote my first official essay for that class, and I loved the research aspect. I still have a copy of that essay I wrote all about the Chernobyl incident. I carried on taking History in high school in grade 11 and 12, and kept up with my theme of choosing topics around the world that interested me – the farther away and bigger the event, the better. With all this traveling across the globe through research, the log cabins and the spinning wheels that I loved at the pioneer village faded into the background…
I continued with my trip around the world by choosing history as my undergraduate degree. I took a few Canadian History courses here and there, but my degree mostly took me to Germany, Russia, Chile… you get the idea. As I neared the end of my studies, the dreaded “what are you going to do next?” questions began. I had absolutely no idea. I just studied History because I loved it. I considered doing a Masters in something related to History so I could keep learning, but the problem with that? There was no way I could just pick one thing. By doing so, my trip around the world would end. There was still so much I wanted to know – places I wanted to travel to through my studies.
The story here, being, my whole life.
During the last year of my undergrad, I decided to volunteer at a museum just to see if I would like it. I was running out of options, and time (of course this wasn’t true… but don’t you remember feeling like you had to have it all figured out by 22? And that what you decided then would determine the course of your entire life? Ha!) To try to make a long story short, guess what? I DID like it. I really liked it! To me, this museum was so… peaceful. I discovered that I didn’t have to study major events in faraway places to appreciate history. This museum put my mind at ease. I liked wandering the galleries and watching the artisans work away at their crafts; I liked reading the resource books and getting to look in collections storage… it took me back to what I loved about that first museum visit so clearly: the “everyday life” aspect of history. Eventually, my volunteer work turned to full-time work at this museum. Can you guess where based on the picture below? Hint: it features the largest collection of paddled watercraft in the world…
“Other duties as required.”
Sure, I still love learning about the big events and faraway places, but it’s always been the social aspect that appealed to me the most – how did those big events affect the average person? I now have such an appreciation for local history and community museums. I’ve been volunteering and working in museums for nearly ten years now (how?!), and have been so fortunate to explore different collections. While I will always have a fascination for the artifacts, I can’t lie… it’s the stories that get me, and it’s why I’m so excited about this role. I can’t wait to delve into the collection at the Museum of Lennox and Addington to share the collection with you. I hope that by doing so, you’ll start to appreciate the “everyday” aspects of history, too.