In 1953 and 1957, Peacock wrote and performed a series of radio lectures for the CBC about Newfoundland folk music. In these lectures, he discussed recurring themes in the folk music traditions of the island, played a selection of his field recordings, and discussed the historical origins of many of the songs that he featured. These lectures were a multi-part lesson for Canadians about the notable features of Newfoundland life and culture. In presenting them, Peacock provided an education on what was then still a “new” province of Confederation, and a place the majority of Canadians had never visited.
This past Thursday my history/museum friends and I checked out the special event Science by Night that took place at the Canadian Museum of Nature. This was a free event that included a variety of fun activities that encouraged visitors to get up close and personal with science and the science experts that normally spend their time behind the scenes at the museum.
Kenneth Peacock made his first trip to Newfoundland in 1951. In total from the period of 1951 to 1960, he made six trips to the island during the summer months to travel and collect his recordings. In these trips, Peacock collected music exclusively in the outports of Newfoundland. These were the rural, more isolated communities, which were sustained primarily on the fishing industry. Like Barbeau, Peacock believed that authentically traditional music could only be found in the most rural areas; growing urban centres such as St. John’s had been influenced too much by modernity, especially communication technologies and thus modern culture itself.
To understand the contributions made by Kenneth Peacock, we have to first appreciate the institutional context in which he did so much of his work. His fieldwork in Newfoundland would not have been possible were it not for the earlier interests and initiatives of Marius Barbeau. When he met Peacock, Barbeau was the head of the Folklore and Anthropology Department at the National Museum of Canada. Barbeau formally retired from the Museum in 1949, before Peacock began his fieldwork, however Barbeau continued his work and relationship with both Peacock and the Museum throughout his official retirement until his death in 1969 (1).
Almost a year ago to the day, I completed my Master of Arts Degree in Public History. As part of this degree, I wrote a Major Research Essay, and now that I’ve had enough distance from it to look back on my research without cringing *too* much, I think it only makes sense to start rewriting it for this space. I am a public historian after all!
The last couple weeks have been a blur. I finished my internship in Fort St. John, and as a way of concluding my time there, I wrote a blog post on the museum’s blog with my final thoughts on the experience. If you want to read that, you can check it out here: https://fortstjohnmuseum.wordpress.com/2017/03/21/final-thoughts-from-the-intern/
Well. I left this longer than I intended…..
My only excuse is that, now that my internship is coming to an end, I have been spending my spare time on the job hunt for my next adventure. And also Netflix. And Youtube….
That being said, work has been very hectic over the last several weeks, and I have finished and begun a whole list of projects. The past couple of weeks have been all about getting messy and making mistakes, so thanks for the heads up, Miss Frizzle! In my last post, I mentioned that I had finished my first small exhibit that was going to be installed at the North Peace Regional Airport. Well that was installed shortly after that, and I couldn’t be happier with it!