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Category Archives: Collections & Conservation

“All my love for you and you only”

Post by Cortney Pachet, Collections Registration Associate (Human History) Fifteen year old Eleanor Geib and eighteen year old James “Jimmy” Brady met at a dance hall on Strood Avenue in North Kildonan. They began courting and after Jimmy enlisted with the Winnipeg Grenadiers, exchanged love letters while he was stationed on garrison duty in Bermuda and Jamaica at the beginning of WWII. His parting words in nearly every letter were “With all my love for you and you only” and he signed many of them “Diamond Jim”, a reference to a popular comic strip of the era, according to his younger sister, Dorothy. When Jimmy returned to Winnipeg on furlough in…

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Mary Attree: A Life of Service

Post by Nancy Anderson, Collections Management Associate (Human History) You may have heard the old adage, attributed to either Napoleon or Frederick the Great, an army travels on its stomach. The saying attests to the importance of military forces being well-provisioned. A healthy food supply is especially critical for those recovering from illness or injury. Military histories rarely document the key role young women, such as dietitian Nora Mary Attree, played during World War II. Recently, Mary Attree’s niece, Janice Attree-Smith, donated a collection of materials documenting Mary’s war-time service. Mary was born in 1912 in Sapton, Manitoba, to a family with deeps roots in Manitoba. Her great-great grandfather, “Orkney” John Inkster, came to Red River…

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Dress Up For Hallowe’en All Year Long

Post by Karen Sereda, Collections Registration Associate (Natural History) We humans are not the only ones who like to dress up; sometimes animals disguise themselves to look like something else, like we do at Hallowe’en. They may be trying to look like something else or it could be a warning. The ecological term for this is mimicry. There are many different types of mimicry, and differing reasons why an animal would try “look” like something else. I was reminded of this recently when I catalogued a clear wing moth that looked like a wasp. Hover flies also resemble bees or wasps to discourage other animals from eating them, as do…

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Strange History

Post by Cortney Pachet, Collections Registration Associate (Human History) Our human history collection is full of special objects, highlighting significant points in Manitoba’s past –like Cuthbert Grant’s medicine chest or the replica of the Nonsuch. Yet we also make a point of collecting objects that represent everyday life in Manitoba – cans of soup, well-loved toys and farming implements. These mundane objects surprise people, since most of us consider objects we use routinely to have little historical value. Then there are objects that baffle even the seasoned museologist, begging questions like what and, most importantly, why? Early in my days working with the human history collection, I was searching for…

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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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