Saturday, 30 November 2013

OMA CONFERENCE - NOVEMBER 2013

The Ontario Museum Association is the leading cultural organization ensuring a relevant and sustainable museum sector in the province for the benefit of Ontario residents and our global community.

LAUREN WILLIAMS

The following is an abstract from my OMA Ignite presentation “That’s Insane!: Assembling an 1860s Loom on the Floor of the Science Centre”

As part of my position as Artifacts Intern at the Ontario Science Centre I was responsible for tracking down information on artifacts that had previously been stored in an off-site warehouse. One of these items was a Belgium Loom from the 1860s. Upon further investigation, we realized that the loom had been acquired by the Science Centre in the 1960s and had never been taken out of its crate or assembled.

After speaking to a loom expert from a neighboring institution, we decided to assemble the loom to learn more information and take photos. This task became especially interesting when we decided to utilize an open space in a public hall of the Centre to assemble the loom.

Courtesy of Lauren Williams
After setting up barriers and donning gloves we opened the crate and attempted to piece together the loom. With no instructions but a lot of teamwork a group of five people including myself pieced the loom together in full view of the Centre visitors. This proved to be a truly invigorating experience for both museum staff and visitors. It provided an opportunity for visitors to get a glimpse of what normally would happen “behind the scenes” and also an opportunity for staff who normally work “behind the scenes” to interact with visitors.

Courtesy of Lauren Williams
The loom became more than a static object but a living experience. The climax of this experience came when a group of pre-teens who had just left the video game exhibit exclaimed: “You’re putting together a loom? That’s Insane!”

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