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Category Archives: Collections & Conservation

Reshaping Chemical Structures: The Conservation of a Home Chemistry Set

Post by Loren Rudisuela, Conservation Technician This home chemistry set came into the conservation lab for treatment after being selected for display in the soon to be constructed Winnipeg Gallery which is part of the Museum’s Bringing Our Stories Forward Capital Gallery Renewal Project.  The set was acquired by the museum in 1979 and was manufactured by Lotts Bricks Ltd., a toy company based in Waterford, England. It was noticed during an initial condition report that the cardboard insert was weak, ripped, and warped in several locations and needed to be stabilized before display.  Since the cardboard had warped over time, the loose and broken parts would no longer fit…

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My Summer in the Collections and Conservation Department

Matthew Gowdar, Collections and Conservation Assistant This summer, I was given the amazing opportunity to work at the Manitoba Museum through the Young Canada Woks program.  From the end of May until mid-August, I held the full-time position of Collections and Conservation Assistant. While this was not my first experience working at a museum or archive, the Manitoba Museum was certainly a step up for me, in terms of scale.  As a History major at the University of Manitoba, this opportunity was especially exciting, as it fell directly within my field of study. Each day started with a gallery walk through the whole museum.  I would check for garbage and damage…

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“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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