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Planes, Trains, Automobiles, & A Ferry: My UK Adventure

This summer I spent three glorious weeks exploring museum collections, historic ships, archaeological and historic sites, and local cuisine in England and Scotland.   Here’s the stats on this trip:

  • 8 cities
  • 22 museums & galleries (including 4 historic ships)
  • 15 heritage sites (including archaeological sites)
  • 2 17th century pubs (for Nonsuch Gallery research!)
  • 380,504 steps (according to my iphone health app)
  • 10 days of train travel
  • 1 roundtrip ferry to Orkney
  • 4 days of driving (eep!) in Orkney

I went on this whirlwind trip with two major goals: to view collections related to the HBC; and to conduct research for our upcoming Nonsuch Gallery renewal.  I came back exhausted, but also incredibly inspired and I can’t wait to start pulling all of my photographs and notes together.

For some folks my itinerary might seem a bit museum-heavy, but for a nerd like me it was heaven!  In fact I really only started to experience museum fatigue on my last stop, in Edinburgh (which just means I’ll have to go back!).

So, did I achieve my goals?  YES!

Viewing collections housed in other institutions is important to get a sense of what else is out there and learn more about the people collecting Indigenous artifacts during their employment with the HBC. Some of the artifacts I viewed were quite similar to ones here within the HBC Museum Collection, including some beautiful embroidery that was likely made by the same women from Norway House that made the pieces my colleague Maureen Matthews exhibited last year.

I also had great meetings with people who care for Cutty Sark (in Greenwich), Victory and Mary Rose (Portsmouth).  I feel quite lucky that our Nonsuch is indoors and does not have to deal with the elements which pose much greater conservation issues than what we deal with in our climate-controlled gallery!

I hope to blog about specific stops along my journey as time permits so stay tuned, but here’s a small sample of photos!



Dr. Amelia Fay

Curator of HBC Collection

See Full Biography

Amelia Fay joined The Manitoba Museum in September 2013. She received her BA in Anthropology from the University of Manitoba, an MA in Archaeology from Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN), and recently completed her Doctoral degree from MUN. Amelia’s research has focused on Inuit-European contact along the Labrador coast, and her interests are continually expanding to explore Indigenous-European contact throughout Canada during the fur trade era.

Amelia’s job as Curator of the Hudson’s Bay Company Museum Collection involves building the collection, responding to public inquiries, preparing exhibits, and conducting her own research.  Her research interests centre on the interactions between Europeans (including HBC employees) and Indigenous peoples as they negotiated space, material culture, and their daily activities.  Amelia’s goal is to showcase this amazing collection, and highlight the important role that Indigenous people played in the establishment of the Hudson’s Bay Company.