When I visited Toronto for the first time this spring, one of the places that I spent some time exploring in was the BATA Shoe Museum. For those who have never been, it is about an 8 minute walk down the street from the Royal Ontario Museum, and a convenient skip over from the Museum subway stop. For someone completely uninitiated in the city, the fact that it was so easy to find was definitely a deciding factor in my decision to check it out.
Boy am I ever glad I did! Before going, I really didn’t know anything about the museum or what its exhibits would be about, but from the first exhibit to the last, the BATA is now my favourite museum that I have ever visited. Even if you aren’t interested in shoes or fashion history, don’t let that stop you from going. What I love about the BATA is that shoes are actually just the vehicle through which they explore a wide variety of important and interesting moments in history and the people carrying out their lives from all walks of life in all different types of footwear.
Continue reading “Exploring Exhibits: “Standing Tall: The Curious History of Men in Heels” at the BATA Shoe Museum.”
It should be no secret at this point that I basically live and breathe museums and want to know everything about how they work while working in and for and about them. This is how this story began. I decided to start using my free time to go to Library and Archives Canada to collect everything I possibly could that pertained in someway to Canada’s national museums. Collecting broadly and without a particular focus, I was open to whatever stories presented themselves to me and caught my attention. One of the first files that I collected was titled simply, “Specimens of wood bison for Victoria Memorial Museum.”
Continue reading “Research Ramblings: Tracking the Buffalo Exhibit at the Canadian Museum of Nature”
To conclude my research, I reflected on another concert experience that I had over the course of researching and writing about Kenneth Peacock and his role in the Newfoundland Folk Music Revival. On 21 November 2015, I attended a concert featuring two of my favourite musical groups, which I had purchased the tickets for myself several months before. My excitement over seeing the Barenaked Ladies for what would be my third time was at the highest possible level because they were being introduced by Alan Doyle and the Beautiful Gypsies, the new solo project by the Great Big Sea frontman. Somehow the fact that this would also be my third time seeing Alan Doyle perform did not diminish my excitement. For all of my building energy, months of listening to the music of both bands in preparation (despite already knowing all of their albums by heart), and sheer joy of being able to watch two of my favourite bands in one concert, what I did not expect was for the night to turn into a cathartic research moment.
Continue reading “Research Ramblings: Kenneth Peacock and the Newfoundland Folk Music Revival, Part 6.”
One major product of Peacock’s ten years of collection work in Newfoundland was a three-volume songbook series entitled, Songs of the Newfoundland Outports, which was published in 1965. The collection was comprised of what he felt was a reflective selection of the best songs that he collected, “I make no claim for the book’s completeness – even a collection ten times as big would not be ‘complete’ – but I do feel it is representative of Newfoundland’s repertoire of traditional and native song as it exists in the mid-twentieth century.” Peacock also wrote commentaries on the history and origins of the songs, as well as their development into various forms and diffusion across different regions.
Continue reading “Research Ramblings: Kenneth Peacock and the Newfoundland Folk Music Revival, Part 5.”
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.
Continue reading “Research Ramblings: Kenneth Peacock and the Newfoundland Folk Music Revival, Part 4.”
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.
Continue reading “Exploring Exhibits: Science by Night at the Canadian Museum of Nature.”
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.
Continue reading “Research Ramblings: Kenneth Peacock and the Newfoundland Folk Music Revival, Part 3.”
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).
Continue reading “Research Ramblings: Kenneth Peacock and the Newfoundland Folk Music Revival, Part 2”
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!
Continue reading “Research Ramblings: Kenneth Peacock and the Newfoundland Folk Music Revival, Part 1.”
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/
Continue reading “Exploring Exhibits: Playing Tourist in My Own Backyard.”