Diorama Details

Closeup of winter travelling scene, Ashkibokhan Diorama

Closeup of winter travelling scene, Aschkibokahn Diorama

Hello, everyone! Kristina’s blog post for this week is going to be a bit different than some of her other posts:

Over Reading Week I went to a conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, so I didn’t start any new research. Most of my work since my last blog post has been focused on continuing to figure out what is going to be involved with the QR code project, so I thought I would instead take this opportunity to blog a bit about the diorama itself.

The diorama is an astounding piece of work. Betsy Thorsteinson, an extremely talented artist, along with her skilled group of volunteers, put an incredible amount of detail into the diorama. The result of all their hard work is a diorama that, from afar, looks as if it could be a photograph of a real-life fishing camp. Taken as a whole, the diorama is beautiful.

To fully appreciate the amount of effort that went into the creation of the display, however, it helps to take a closer look. To that end, two separate monocles, or monoculars, are provided with the diorama so that visitors can get a close-up view of some of the details. The monocle lets viewers zoom in on different areas and see food being prepared in pottery vessels, birds flying amongst trees, and fish being smoked over fires.  The monocles help to focus on the thought and precision that went into the display. From the figurines of the family, to the branches of the trees, to the smoke rising from the campfires, every detail tells a story.

The monocles help visitors to zoom in on areas that make them curious. This parallels what I am hoping to accomplish with my project –  to give visitors the option of learning more about the present-day site, along with seeing the bigger picture of the site.

That’s all for this week! Please check back next week to see how my project progresses.


Dr. Maureen Matthews

Curator of Cultural Anthropology

See Full Biography

Dr. Maureen Matthews, Curator of Ethnology joined The Manitoba Museum staff in November 2011. She is a CBC Radio documentary maker and has received four awards for Investigative Journalism from the Canadian Association of Journalists for her work for IDEAS on Cree and Ojibwe ideas about the world. Her documentaries include Fair Wind’s Drum (1993), Thunderbirds (1995), Memegwesiwag (2007) and Wihtigo: Cree Ideas about Cannibals (2010) and she also received a Manitoba Human Rights award for Isinamowin: The White Man’s Indian (1990), a documentary about the harmful consequences of stereotypes about Aboriginal people. She recently completed a D. Phil. in Social and Cultural Anthropology (2010) at the University of Oxford with a thesis on the attribution of animacy and agency to museum artefacts from a joint Ojibwe and Anthropological theoretical perspective.