Category Archives: History

“21 Brothers” Screening

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Interested in film? Interested in the First World War? Interested in historical films? Saturday April 12th at 7pm is a must attend event sponsored by the HGSA – Western University and Western – Department of History!

21 Brothers is the “Longest One-Shot Film in History”

Come out for a free screening of the movie followed by discussion and refreshments with the director Mike McGuire.

Check out the poster for more details.

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Interactive Exhibit Design: The History of Nail Polish and Nail Art

Aha! An idea has formed and I have an understanding of what I need to do to bring it to fruition!

My project will be an interactive history of nail polish! Who knew you could find information out there on nail polish history?! I hope to include sections on: Early Nail Art, North American Nail Art, The Business Side of Nail Polish and Nail Artistry, different Techniques, Types of Polish, and links to neat Nail Art Tutorials that people can do at home.

Using the program Max 6 and an external webcam, I will turn your fingernails into controllers for the interactive exhibit on the various aspects of nail polish history. The first step will be for you to paint your nails predetermined colours (5 or 6 depending on the number of headings I decide to go with). This will allow the webcam and Max 6 to recognize when you select different headings within the onscreen interactive display. You will have to match your fingernail to the colour of the heading you wish to open. When you are finished reading or watching video about the topic, you can use one of your nails to go back (colour to be determined).

As I work through the Max 6 Jitter tutorials I will update you on my progress. But for now, here is a rough drawing of what I want the presentation mode of my interactive nail polish history exhibit to look like.

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Digital History & Research Success

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A few weeks ago in my Digital History class, we were fortunate enough to have guest speaker Mark Tovey come in and teach us a bit about how to digitally reconstruct historic buildings and locations. Specifically, I was excited to find out that the architectural plans that I found at the County of Oxford Archives pertaining to the old County of Oxford Jail would be of a HUGE benefit for me.

In the digital history class we are working on individual projects pertaining to historic buildings and/or sites. We are expected to use new digital formats and digitize the building the best we can. I have decided to create an interactive timeline using the program Capzles for the first half of the project. For the second I intend to learn how to use Sketch-Up through the numerous instructional Youtube videos that I have come across and then digitally reconstruct the building and create a virtual tour. A tall order I know, but I think that the jail is incredibly important as one of the Woodstock Court House Square buildings and through my research I have found newspaper articles pertaining to the “Save the Jail” campaign. The jail was slated for demolition but the people of Woodstock would not allow that to happen. I will go into detail about the “Save the Jail” campaign in my project.

In order to digitize my building I need the architectural drawings which I have access to at the County of Oxford Archives. I have found not only the elevation drawings, but also the plans for the ground, first, and second floors. I also have section drawings and aerial views which will make it easier to recreate the building inside and out. I will be able to import the drawings into Sketch-Up and then recreate the building according to the measurements and specifications on the drawings.

Below are a few of the drawings I have access to:

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As I was performing a scavenger hunt for the origin of the popular phrase “Oh the Humanity” in audio form, I came across this very interesting digital archive website with a plethora of photos, recordings and other interesting things about historical moments in American history.

Just by reading the Introduction page, you understand exactly what the site is attempting to do. Eyewitness is connecting with a wider audience than would ever have the opportunity to go digging around in the archive. The site provides personal accounts of pertinent historical events in American history, specifically those that would be most popular.  After you find the Hindenburg Disaster Broadcast, be sure to poke around under the other headings to see what else you can find!

Follow the instructions below to reach the online location of the Hindenburg Disaster Radio broadcast:

Click the tab displaying Contents.

AONA 1

Click Scenes from Hell. Click Herb Morrison- 1937 Hindenburg Disaster.

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Click 2nd tab displaying the picture of the microphone.

AONA 2

Click play on the audio player.

AONA 3

Volunteering at the Oxford County Archives 3

Yesterday was my last day volunteering at the County of Oxford Archives and it was definitely a full one (until 5:15 instead of 4:30…oops). I volunteered for a total of 50 hours this holiday season and received a crash course in the vast capabilities and responsibilities of a county archive. I was amazed by how much can be accomplished by so few people. The variety of things that the archivist Mary Gladwin conquers is phenomenal and she is a great teacher (and funny too!).

I arrived at the archives and started writing what Mary calls a Wikipedia blurb on my focus of research: Cassie Chadwick. The definition of the Wikipedia blurb is basically a short and sweet overview of the topic that will catch the attention of the students and get them excited to continue research by reading the primary documents provided with the brochure. The brochures are like a treasure hunt, the outside provides information about the County of Oxford Archives, while two of the inside panels provide the Wikipedia blurb. The centre inside panel houses a small envelope sealed with a sticker containing the primary documents. Within each envelope 6-7 primary documents are provided for each student, however each brochure package is not the same; each student will have similar but slightly different documents. This encourages group work and their ability to share to succeed in their studies. Through my research on Cassie Chadwick, I was able to find 17 different primary documents surrounding the mysterious woman and her scams as well as created a timeline that outlines her entire life. All of these were photocopied and made small enough to fit into the envelope. I was given permission to make two of the brochures to take home so that I have a copy of the work I completed.

It is pretty exciting to be part of the learning and teaching process through the use of my brochure. Later in January the COA will be implementing the educational program again using my brochure as well as another on Florence Carlyle that was completed during the last 3 weeks.

During my volunteering I learned just how much work and effort goes into even the smallest of learning materials. It took a lot longer to compile my research and focus it into a timeline format than I had expected, but because of my specific research, the Wikipedia blurb was simple to complete. I think that this program is very important to broadening the scope of history learned at the elementary school level because it allows the students to learn about local history rather than just the overarching themes of the War of 1812 and other topics studied in grade 7 and 8.

Around 4:15pm, the archivist remembered that she had promised me she would teach me how to do basic paper restoration during my time there. So we went into the restoration room and found a ‘weed’ (an historic document that is not of importance/duplicate) and she began to show me the tools needed and how to use them. She has a box of remnants of restoration papers that we tested for colour and settled on the correct one. I fixed a small hole and 3 tears in the document and let it dry while I worked on a document for the Woodstock Public Library. After the first document dried, the archivist showed me how to encapsulate the document so it wouldn’t become more damaged. She let me keep the document and gave me my own archival bone tool to keep.

The entire experience there was great and I am so thankful to Mary Gladwin, Marion Baker and Liz Mayville for making me feel so welcome. I learned so much in such a short time and it makes me look forward to a possible career in archives. I enjoyed the entire experience, even the tedious data entry. I met so many characters in the Oxford Historical Society, Oxford Genealogical Society and the County of Oxford Archives that I can’t wait to go back and visit!

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Mary Gladwin, Marion Baker and myself

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Completed Cassie Chadwick brochure

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Cassie Chadwick Timeline

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Cassie Chadwick brochure inserts

Volunteering at the Oxford County Archives 2

In the time since my last post, I entered approximately 800 more Probates of Will, Deeds of Separation and Power of Attorney into the database and finished the top drawer of the filing cabinet. The Archivist was very pleased and decided that I should get to do something a little more interesting than solely data entry. She and the Assistant Archivist developed an educational program that provides students with a take home brochure containing not only information about the Archives themselves but also about a specific historical topic. The four that I was able to take a look at covered the topics of the Springbank Snow Countess, Isabelle Gunn, James William Faulkner and the Thomas Organ Company. The brochures contain information concerning the topic as well as a small envelope containing copies of primary documents that allow the students to get a sense of the time period and the topic they are researching. The teachers are also provided with a lesson plan which gives the students the opportunity to work together and answer questions because there are different primary documents in each of the envelopes. I have started researching an extremely interesting woman from Eastwood, Ontario most well known as Cassie Chadwick. She was born Elizabeth Bigley, but changed her name multiple times throughout her lifetime. She was a con woman born in 1857 and began her life of crime at age 13. Chadwick scammed bank officials, hotels, and the men she married in order to live the extravagant life she so desperately wanted. She was quite creative and had a mind that I don’t know if anyone could replicate today. Just researching her for the short time I have so far I have learned so much and been amazed by how she accomplished so much in her short 50 years being alive. Having the opportunity to use my research skills to increase awareness of this incredible woman and educate young people is very exciting. This not only increases my research skills but it allows me increase my ability to create age appropriate lesson plans that I will be able to apply to teaching further down the road in my career. For a short overview of Cassie Chadwick’s life of crime you can visit this site: http://www.biography.com/people/cassie-chadwick-20649415

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Cassie Chadwick

http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/history/2012/06/the-high-priestess-of-fraudulent-finance/

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Springbank Snow Countess

http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/history/2012/06/the-high-priestess-of-fraudulent-finance/

Volunteering at the Oxford County Archives

Due to my interest in the Public History Master’s Program at Western University, I decided to get some experience in an archive to give me a competitive edge. I emailed the Oxford Historical Society to ask if they had any volunteer opportunities available for the holidays. The Oxford Historical Society, Oxford Genealogical Society and the Oxford County Archives are now all under one roof at 82 Light Street, Court House Square, Woodstock, Ontario. This amalgamation of services allows easy accessibility to all services related to Oxford County history. The Archivist offered me a volunteer position for the holiday season. Last Friday was my first day at the archives. I got the opportunity to tour the facilities and see the vast number of resources that the three groups have in their space. They have a temperature controlled vault containing a lot of their collections and binders and binders of important people of Oxford. After my tour I was given the task of creating an index for a collection of Probate of Wills, Deeds of Separation and Letters of Administration from the early1930’s on. During my 8 hours at the archives I entered approximately 300 into the index and Monday morning I will be continuing the project. After I finished for the day, head Archivist showed me a deed for land near Woodstock from 1801 that the archives are in the process of purchasing. It was so interesting to be able to see and touch something from the area that dates back 211 years! Even parts of the wax seal are still intact and attached with the original ribbon. I will be volunteering for the next four weeks and I hope to learn lots of valuable information about possibly working in an archive in the future. I will provide updates on future projects during my volunteer position in the weeks to follow.

Imagehttp://www.oxfordcounty.ca/ThingstoDo/Libraries,museums,andarchives/Archives.aspx