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Category Archives: Collections & Conservation

Behind the Scenes with the Collections and Conservation Summer Student

Post by Kim Cielos, Collections and Conservation Assistant – Young Canada Works Summer Student  It has been an exciting summer as the Collections and Conservation Assistant summer student at the Manitoba Museum.   This is not my first job in a museum; previously I had summer positions at the Transcona Museum as a Collections and Research Assistant and at the Winnipeg Art Gallery as a Collection Inventory Assistant. This is however, the first time I have had the chance to undertake conservation-related duties.  I work closely with Cindy Colford and Carolyn Sirett who are two amazing people that guided me throughout the summer teaching me about conservation work. Perhaps it’s destiny,…

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Conserving a Legend: The Bison Head Mount

Post by Carolyn Sirett, Conservator Legacies of Confederation: A New Look at Manitoba History, tells many inspiring stories and is supported by several amazing artifacts and specimens. Most visitors to the Museum do not get to see what happens behind-the-scenes in order to prepare our artifacts and specimens for display. Research is compiled, design and layouts are created, condition reports are completed, mounts are built, and in some cases, conservation treatments are performed in order to ensure the safe display of the Museum’s collections. A significant specimen in the Legacies exhibition is the bison head mount seen in the Discovery Room. Prior to the installation and opening of this exhibition,…

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Cataloguing Bird Skins

Post by Karen Sereda, Collections Registration Associate (Natural History) Where do all the dead animals come from? This is a common question we get at the Museum. People sometimes think that Museum staff regularly go out and kill birds and other animals for displays. This is not the case. Birds for example, sometimes accidentally fly into windows and die. We call these “window strikes”. If someone noticed at the time, they may go and pick the dead bird up, put it in a bag and freeze it. At a later date, that person might bring the bird to the Museum. If the Curator of Zoology, Dr. Randy Mooi, accepts the…

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Red Cross Quilt Returns Home

Post by Nancy Anderson, Collections Management Associate (Human History) When the weather turns cold many of us pull out handcrafted quilts and afghans. The comfort they bring often goes beyond the mere physical and can make us feel as if the people that created them are enveloping us in a warm and loving hug. Recently, a very special quilt was donated to the Manitoba Museum. One of thousands sent overseas by the Canadian Red Cross during the Second World War to provide warmth and comfort, it has now returned home to Manitoba nearly 75 years later.     The story of the quilt begins in Steep Rock, Manitoba where local…

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Twas the week before Christmas

Post by Cortney Pachet, Collections Registration Associate (Human History)   Twas the week before Christmas and all through the museum, Artifacts wondered if visitors would see ‘em. Some historical treasures sat smug on display, While other objects remained hidden away. These ornaments once hung on old Christmas trees, Some dating as far back as the 1920s! With the curator in his office and I snug in mine, I catalogued objects from way back in time. When deep in the vault, exploring I go, Finding boxes of Christmas lights from long, long ago. Quick to the shelf, with nitrile gloved paw, I admire the condition, in a reverent awe. The box…

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Ladies and Gentlemen…..The Beetles!

Post by Janis Klapecki, Collections Management Specialist (Natural History) [Note: This blog contains descriptions and images that may not be suitable for sensitive individuals.] In the Natural Sciences Department, we receive hundreds of specimens each year that will eventually be added to the permanent Scientific Collections. The Curators collect specimens through their many research projects, while other specimens are collected and donated by the general public. Most of these specimens require some very specific and time-consuming preparation before they can be in a state for which a researcher can use them. Fossils are exposed with precision tools, insects are painstakingly pinned, plants are pressed and artfully mounted, and mammal and…

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This is Hallowe’en!

Halloween Masks

That’s right, boos and ghouls, Hallowe’en is right around the corner! And the History collection at the Manitoba Museum does not disappoint when it comes to its Hallowe’en artifacts. Let’s journey back to a time when homemade popcorn balls and plastic masks with tiny air holes prevailed…   Costumes Elaborate costumes and accessories of today’s youth would shock the Trick-or-Treaters of yesteryear. While we don’t have any old sheets with eyeholes cut out by someone’s mum, we do have a selection of masks favoured by kids in the 1970s. Masks were often worn with matching plastic smocks and featured small eyeholes for reduced visibility and a layer of condensation on…

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A lasting legacy of a bird’s untimely death

Palm Warbler

[Note: This blog contains descriptions and images that may not be suitable for sensitive individuals.] Most people pass by a dead bird, rarely giving it a second thought and leaving it where it lies.  But there are many members of the public who notify the Manitoba Museum of the dead birds they do find, often from fatal encounters with windows.  The Manitoba Museum appreciates the opportunity to salvage these, as it does not hunt birds to add to its Ornithology collection. Before I start to process a bird, notes are taken:  donor, collector, location, date of acquisition, when it was found and prepared; observations (broken bones, external parasites, molting, etc.); then scientific…

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Dress Shop Adventure: Hats, Handkerchiefs and a “Hair Tidy”!

Over the last few weeks, I have been assigned the task of doing inventory, cataloguing, and condition reporting artifacts in “Amy Galbraith’s Dress Shop,” in the Museum’s Urban Gallery. I have also cleaned and photographed the objects. Through this process I have been delighted to learn more about the history behind the artifacts that we see in this 1920’s shop. I thought you might enjoy some of my findings! Hats were a staple of the 1920’s wardrobe. The Dress Shop has nine hats that help to portray life and style during the 1920’s. Some of the hats stand out in my memory just because of where they are from. For example, the hat with gold feathers [H9-8-396…

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What’s in a number?

Every object you see when you visit our museum galleries, from tiny insects to the Nonsuch, has a special number assigned to it that helps us to track all its movements and link important information to the object. Assigned at the time the object is accessioned – when it officially becomes part of the museum collection – the catalogue number is always inscribed on the object in an inconspicuous place, which is why you’re not likely to see many of these numbers when viewing an exhibit. Deciding where and how to apply these numbers is part of my job as the Human History Cataloguer. Methods of applying numbers depend mainly…

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