I am currently taking an Additional Qualifications course through Queen’s University. The course is called Teaching Students with Communication Needs (Autism Spectrum Disorder). It has been incredibly interesting so far! I created this handout/poster discussing the need for sensory breaks for students on the Autism Spectrum. Check it out! Sensory Breaks Poster Stephanie Johns
Wow. What a busy first few days in Germany for my Transition to Professional Practice Global Service-Learning trip with Amizade and Western University.
Day 1- arrival and first look at Berlin:
We arrived safely in Berlin and were met by our guide Mattias Hass at the airport. From there we took the bus to our really neat hostel, “Generator”. It had fun bunkbeds, a ping pong table that was never freee (too many people loved it), WiFi, and an in house bar. Even though most of us had not slept in over 24 hours once arriving in Berlin, Mattias was sure to keep us moving and give us our first glimpse of the city. Mattias is of German desent and has incredible knowledge and insight into the history of Germany in regards to the Second World War. He has his PhD, has worked in Germany as well as Philadelphia, and completed a Postdoc at UofT. Mattias began his tour by sharing with the group that Germany does not have a central national narrative to share her history. It is made up of different pieces including historic sites, events, and monuments. Mattias provided this question to us: How do Germans come to terms with the Nazi party? I think this question is an important one, and currently do not have an answer. From listening to Mattias and discussions with my colleagues, and through my own experience in the Public History field, I think that through commemorative activities such as memorials, people can begin to come to terms with difficult historical narratives. Through memorial work, people that have a lot or very little knowledge can learn and begin to change their understanding and point of view about a certain subject. I will hopefully return to this question throughout my trip.
On the first day we visited: Oranienburger Strasse (central street of old Berlin), 1860s synagoge built on the aforementioned street, stumbling stones in various locations, Alex Beer commemorative plaque, Catholic hospital, Potestant church, the art installation “Missing House”, first home of the elderly Jewish community plaque and monument, Jewish cemetary, the Berliner mischung, and the Museum Blindenwerkstatt Otto Weidt.
Mattias provided us with some background information about the thriving Jewish community that lived in Berlin prior to the Second World War. The synagoge on Oranienburger Strasse opened in 1866 and was used regularly by the growing Jewish population in the area. The Jewish community saw great success during this time up until 1933, including acceptance of their vibrant society.
Two types of decentralized commemoration work bring done in Berlin: stumbling stones and plaques. Both types need active citizenship to complete the projects and maintain them. Other commemoration work is being completed in conjunction with the government. Stumbling stones are small metal plaques fitted to the cobble stones on the ground all over Berlin to commemorate those that fell victim to the Nazis. The plaques include the name, occupation, and where and how they died. The stones are usualy placed in front of their old place of residence. There are over 5000 stumbling stones and are all provided through sponsorship and volunteer researchers.
We had our first meal in Beriln at an Italian restaurant, which was a funny thing to do, but it certainly was tasty. Later on that day we had dinner at another restaurant near our hostel, I had some yummy sausage, potatoes, and salad.
Overall, day 1 was great, even though the jetlag and exhaustion had overcome us. We had an early night and got up early to explore more of what Berlin had to offer concerning the Holocaust.
Watch for my next post about day 2 in Berlin!
My all-time favourite player, Carlos Delgado, is being Inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame! So excited for Induction weekend!
St. Marys, Ont. – Three of them starred on the field for the Toronto Blue Jays, one of them was the longest-serving manager in Montreal Expos history and the other has covered both the Blue Jays and the Expos during his storied writing career.
Former Blue Jays Carlos Delgado, Corey Koskie (Anola, Man.) and Matt Stairs (Saint John, N.B.) will be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, along with long-time Montreal Expos manager Felipe Alou and legendary scribe Bob Elliott (Kingston, Ont.) in a ceremony that will take place on June 13 in St. Marys, Ont.
“Each of our 2015 inductees has made significant contributions to the history of baseball in our country and they continue to be great ambassadors for the game,” said Scott Crawford, the hall’s director of operations. “We’re proud and excited to celebrate their careers in St. Marys this June.”
The induction ceremony will…
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Hello and thank you for visiting! My name is Stephanie and I am currently a student at the University of Western Ontario in the Faculty of Education. I am in the Intermediate/Senior stream for History and English. At the end of our year in the Faculty of Education we are required to complete a Transition to Professional Practice (T2P) component to enrich our experience at Western and the skills we offer as future teachers. We were provided with many choices for our T2P experience but the Germany/Poland experience caught my eye immediately.
The Germany/Poland experience provides community service learning through Amizade (nonprofit organization) with a focus on Holocaust Remembrance. Included in the trip cost is a visit to Berlin, visit to the Galaciz Jewish Museum, Kazimierz, Weiliczka salt mine, and service work to be completed at Auschwitz and Jewish cemetery and the restoration of artifacts. The trip lasts from May 5th to 15th and the cost includes accommodations, meals, ground transportation, a 24/7 trip guide, flight, team leader contribution, and travel insurance.
The total cost of the trip is $3542. I have applied through Western’s Global Opportunities Award program and hope to be awarded a $1000 scholarship for my trip. This is why I am asking for help raising $2542 rather than the full cost of the trip.
Why this opportunity?
The definition of a global citizen is someone who identifies with being part of an emerging world community and whose actions contribute to building this community’s values and practices. This Transition to Professional Practice trip to Germany and Poland to work with survivors of the Holocaust and historians will provide me with first-hand knowledge that I will be able to use to educate students in the future. As the last remaining survivors of the Holocaust pass away in the near future, it is our responsibility as a world community to keep their memory and experience alive for future generations. Through this experience I will be one of the community members that will share the survivors’ experience with students in Canada. Future students may feel disconnected from the Holocaust because of a generational gap between students and survivors of the Second World War. Participating in this trip would allow me to provide the next generation with important knowledge to help bridge this gap.
This international experience will contribute to my professional goals in two ways: it will provide me with concrete knowledge that I will be able to interpret and present to future students in a high school setting, and it will allow me to work in a museum or archive setting that relates closely with the Second World War and the Holocaust. My long term goal is to become an Education Coordinator in a museum or archive. This would include bringing in school groups and preparing educational activities that ignite a fire of change under students. I want students to find a passion for history and I believe I will be able to gain knowledge that will increase my ability to inspire my students through this international experience.
Thank you for any help you can provide in terms of monetary donation and/or sharing on social media.
If you would like to support my cause click here: gofund.me/ks2wek
Recently a colleague of mine asked if I would be willing to take a look at the 100 Years of Loss exhibit currently on display at the Canadian Museum of History and let her know my impressions. Of course I agreed, I had a bit of time in between volunteering for festivals and attending other museums in Ottawa and it gave me a chance to use my brand new membership card.
For those of you that do not know, the 100 Years of Loss- The Residential School System in Canada Exhibit is an exhibition developed in conjunction with the Legacy of Hope Foundation, the Aboriginal Healing Foundation and Library and Archives Canada. The exhibition “uses reproductions of photographs, artwork and primary documents to tell the story of thousands of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children who were removed from their families and institutionalized in residential schools. It emphasizes the present-day effects of the system, focusing on healing and reconciliation.”
If you are unaware of the Residential School System that existed in Canada between 1831 and 1996, you can familiarize yourself here.
At first glance the exhibit seemed out of place stuck in a corner of the museum, however, as I sat and watched other people interact with the exhibit, it was clear that it was in the right place. Every person that walked by either made a comment about the exhibit or they would mention something they already knew about Residential schools and some even stopped to read some or all of the panels. The exhibit is situated at a crossroads of sorts where people have to pass by. The history therefore cannot be ignored.
The design and colour scheme are fitting for the topic at hand. The exhibit consists of 4 pillars approximately 2.5ft in diameter which serve as text panels and a wavy wall that presents a timeline of the Residential School System. The use of various grey tones and a vibrant orange allow the important information to stand out without seeming offensive. The exhibit includes lots of grey and white space with intentional pops of orange to focus the reader’s attention on the text. The text on the pillar panels was slightly difficult to read, but it may have had to do with the placement of the exhibit under an overhang on the first floor or the font size. I am rather tall and sometimes I would have to crouch down to read the text on the lower half of the pillars, but some short people may not be able to read the text higher up, so that is really a flaw of the human race’s height diversity.
The exhibit is offered in both French and English. Four pillars in English and four in French with the wavy wall having French on one side and English on the other. Even though I cannot read any Aboriginal languages, it would have been nice to see that as an option. I am aware there are hundreds of different groups of Aboriginal people with variations in their languages and it would have been incredibly difficult to choose one or two languages to use. However, if possible it would have been nice to cater to those that may have had a firsthand experience in the Residential School System.
I sat and watched others visit the exhibit for some time to see how they reacted. I heard various responses such as “Oh, that’s the residential school exhibit!” and “is this it?”. I felt compelled to mention that it is a travelling exhibit, so it would be quite difficult to create an extravagant exhibit that would also be sturdy enough for transport. Other visitors were silent as they passed through the exhibit, some came alone. I noticed that because there wasn’t much signage, people began reading in various places, not moving in a chronological timeline. Being a good Western historian I appreciate chronologies, so I wonder if that caused any difficulties for those that didn’t start from the beginning.
I was intrigued to see that the exhibit has an app that you can download for free and use in conjunction with the physical exhibit. I quickly downloaded it and opened it up. From what I can tell it includes all of the text and photographs that the exhibit does but you can just read it from your phone. I think it would have been nice to see some supplemental information and photographs that were not featured in the exhibit itself. There is another feature that I couldn’t get to work. The app tells you to scan a barcode, but does not tell you where they are located or what will happen when you end up scanning them. I tried multiple times to scan various barcodes but to no avail unfortunately.
The content of the exhibit was thorough and intelligently organized into sections. The timeline portion included photographs as well as text to help lead you through the long history of the Residential School System in Canada. The text recognizes Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples’ points of view. The text also describes those people that had positive experiences and benefitted from their time in Residential Schools.
Even though as a Public Historian interested in Aboriginal history I am versed in the history of the Residential School System to some degree, I think that this exhibit gives a fabulous overarching explanation that goes deeper than a general introduction to the subject. I believe that the exhibit achieves the goal of educating the public about what happened here in our own country not so long ago. Thinking abstractly for a moment, as I was walking through the exhibit I was wondering why they chose to use the format they did (round pillars and a wavy wall). I came to a conclusion that possibly they were trying to represent the cyclical nature of abuse, and poor living conditions that occurred in the Residential Schools and consequently continues to this day in some Aboriginal communities. The circles of the pillars representing the cycle and maybe the wavy wall representing the ups and downs of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal relationships throughout history. But I digress.
Overall, I enjoyed the exhibit immensely. The final pillar was rather inspiring and empowered me to want to learn more about Aboriginal Peoples’ experience in Canada. I encourage anyone that has the opportunity to see this exhibit to do so!
In the last month I have been privileged to attend the Fort Garry Lectures in Winnipeg and the Canadian Historical Association’s (CHA) Annual Meeting at Brock University in St. Catharines. I also started my summer internship in the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) in Gatineau.
The Fort Garry Lectures hosted by the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba took place May 1-3. It was the first time I presented a paper at a conference and was both exciting and terrifying at the same time. My paper was the final one before the Keynote speaker on the last day which meant I was stressing the entire time I was there. However, the presentation went off without a hitch and people even had questions for which I had answers! I was fortunate to have a lovely roomie that loved museums as much as me! We got lost on the transit system, were accosted by homeless people with $3000 in their pocket (allegedly), and took #itweetmuseums selfies. My seasoned professional conference goer roommate did a fantastic job presenting her paper and was helpful in calming me down before my presentation. One suggestion for those that haven’t presented at a conference before: like I have, choose good travel buddies (your best friend may not be the best choice!)
The Canadian Historical Association’s Annual Meeting takes place every year as part of the Congress of Arts and Humanities. This year it was held in St. Catharines at Brock University. The main reason I attended is because I was chosen as the CHA Graduate Student Committee’s (GSC) English language blogger for the event. The GSC began this initiative last year in order to share with those graduate students who could not attend as well as those unsure why it would be beneficial to them and provide some graduate student insight. I posted 5 blogs on the GSC blog, if you want to see what I thought about the conference click here! I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to attend the conference as well as do what I love- blog!
A summer internship is a requirement of my MA in Public History program. I very gladly and quickly accepted the offer to intern at AANDC under Jean-Pierre Morin, historian, in the Treaties and Governance section of the AANDC. My main task is to work on commemorative activities and initiatives that will raise awareness of Aboriginal Peoples’ involvement in the World Wars. Internship updates coming soon, in the meantime these photos should give you a taste of my internship so far.
Today, the project finally started coming together! I met with my professor to get a patch and a MakeyMakey. Although I wasn’t able to get a MakeyMakey today, I will be able to pick one up tomorrow. In the mean time I used the brass paper fasteners and curled them using some needle nose pliers to make a sturdy place for the alligator clips from the MakeyMakey to connect. I thought this would be the easiest way for the contraption to stay together and look kind of cool too! I then ensured the alligator clips fit.. which they did! Yay for small successes!
After a lot of tinkering, changing file names, and searching the contents of my computer.. we finally made the patch work on my lovely Windows computer. This success was followed by a well deserved high-five.
Next, I started adding my nail polish content to the patch, ensuring the correct file names were kept and double checked that I saved after every change.
AND DRUM ROLL PLEASE……………
I was able to add all the content and add an additional output to the patch and the patch STILL WORKS! Next, I decided to figure out the ‘presentation mode” business. Using the awesome Max 6 help pages, I found step by step instructions for switching to presentation mode, selecting items to be in presentation mode, resizing and moving things in presentation mode.
After I followed all of the steps, I ended up with the screen below! YAY!
Tomorrow I will obtain a MakeyMakey and test the connection. And if all goes to plan, Max 6 and nail polish will live happily ever after in my Interactive Exhibit Design project. And if not… well I don’t want to talk about it.
As the first conference I’ve ever attended, all I can say is WOW. I was overwhelmed (in a good way) from the moment I arrived in Monterey, California for the annual National Council on Public History Conference.
I knew I wanted to get as much bang for my buck as possible, so my colleague and I filled up our days to the absolute max! On the first day at 8:30am I attended the pre-conference workshop entitled “Digital Preservation for Local History and Cultural Heritage Collections”. This workshop was led my Cinda May of the Indiana State University Library. It was incredible. Cinda May was a commanding speaker and quite humorous too. She provided us with a workbook that included all of her slide with space to take notes and a section of resources that are helpful in the field of digital preservation. Cinda May told us that it is easy to digitize things, the trick is to keep all of the digital pieces together. You have to come up with a digitization system, include metadata in the file names, and make sure you are backed-up in case of emergency. Her rule of thumb is three digital copies stored in separate locations, preferably separate geographic locations! However, she thinks that seven copies is the absolute best. Cinda May directed us to various online tools that could help us in our own institutions. Many of her online tools were actually Canadian, and being the only Canadian in the room, I felt pretty darn special. She pointed out CHIN’s Digtial Preservation Toolkit that can be accessed by anyone is a great resource for this type of digital preservation planning. Cinda May also discussed the importance of disaster planning. It’s all well and good to have a disaster plan, but if you only have a copy online, you’re going to be in a pickle when your computer gets wiped out. After three hours of intense learning, I asked Cinda May if I could get a photo with her. She was quite surprised but obliged. She was flattered when I told her that I had been live-tweeting her session, she thought it was great because then more people would learn about digital preservation! If you are interested in any of the resources Cinda May provided us, I would be happy to send them to you!
I went out to lunch with my new American friends who attend the graduate program at New Mexico State University. We had a lovely time jesting about Canadian/American differences. I was teased for using the word washroom instead of restroom and other things of that nature. The funniest part was when I asked for vinegar for my fries. The waitress looked at me kind of funny, but said yes. She returned with two small bottles, one with red liquid inside and one with green. I was confused so I asked my new friends what it was because I had asked for vinegar for my fries. To which they responded “What are you, British?” Apparently malt vinegar isn’t as common in California so I was forced to stick with ketchup. Next, I went back to the hotel and finished some homework, there is no rest for the wicked… or Canadian grad students.
That evening was the First Time Attendee and Mentor/Mentee Reception in the Museum of Monterey, followed by the Opening Reception. It was neat mingling with Public History professionals before we had really got into the meat of the conference. Everyone was very welcoming and interested in what I had to say. NCPH as a welcoming and friendly conference certainly lived up to the hype. The New Professional and Graduate Student Social at London Bridge Pub followed which allowed all the grad students to get to know one another a little better.
The next day (March 20th), I started out nice and early with session 4: “Sustainable Practices for Co-Created Exhibits” which was followed by Speed Networking. I posed the question in session 4 “how do you deal with conflicting personalities in co-created exhibits?” Everyone laughed because it can be such an issue in creating exhibits as a non-cohesive group. They suggested that not all conflict is a negative, it just means that the people involved care deeply for the project. They also suggested that Kumbaya moments make for really boring exhibits. You need someone being the final decision maker in order to make things really work. My favourite quote from the session is that “co-created exhibits are more like cooking than baking”, with cooking you can throw a little of everything in and it usually turns out alright. With baking, you have to stick to the recipe (or model) otherwise you’ll have a disaster. I really appreciated the honesty that came from the panelists. Then I attended the Speed Networking session that was phenomenal! I had the opportunity to speak with six different professionals that offered advice for moving ahead in my career and told me how they got to where they are. All of the professionals provided their cards and suggested we contact them if we want to discuss things further. It was a wonderful experience and I hope that it continues in the future.
After a quick lunch I sat in on session 17 “Broadcasting History: Radio, TV, and New Media”. Very interesting session discussing the medium through which we convey history and how it must be different for the different forms of media. I then served my volunteer shift, recording attendance in afternoon sessions and later handed out drink tickets for the Consultants Reception where I got to know a lovely grad student from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. After my volunteer shift was finished, I attended a Dine Around at a local seafood restaurant. The conversation was stimulating even though the restaurant was so popular it was tough to hear one another.
Friday March 21st, my colleague Jess and I went exploring the shops on the wharf and finally got to see the sea lions we had been hearing so much about! They were hilarious. We also had some delicious apple cinnamon caramel crepes before heading back to present in the Digital Project Showcase. I presented on my digital project on the County of Oxford Jail in Woodstock, Ontario. Check it out here. It was my first conference, so I was a bit nervous to present, but I made it through and even made people laugh, which is always a bonus! After my presentation I got to meet with my mentor Andrew T. Urban, Assistant Professor at Rutgers University. I was able to discuss my research and bounce ideas off him without feeling intimidated. It was really neat to have a professor at a university see serious merit in the things you want to research and further explore. He suggested multiple books and articles that would be helpful on topics I am interested in and offered to look over things I am working on. To say the least, I am so glad I was a part of the mentorship program, and am glad that my mentor/mentee relationship will continue into the future.
Then I attended session 44 “Public History in Practice: Strategies for Sustaining the Profession”. This topic generated some seriously heated discussion but was quite interesting and entertaining. I also attended the Public Plenary “The End of Growth” with Richard Heinberg which was well attended and incredibly pertinent to the NCPH theme of sustainability.
Saturday was not only the last day of the conference, but it was the day we flew home and wanted to go to the Aquarium that EVERYONE and their grandmother said we had to see before we left. So, as good grad students in search of summer internships, we attended session 52 “Internships: To Pay, or Not to Pay. Then I attended session 54 “Small Stories in the Big Picture: New Approaches to “Micro-Public” Histories”. Jess and I quickly said our goodbyes, grabbed last minute business cards and rushed off to pack up, check out, and burn over to the Aquarium. Luckily one of our NMSU friends was there for a second time and offered to show us all the good stuff quickly since we only had an hour until we had to cab to the airport and get on the flight home. Yes, the Aquarium was everything we thought it would be and more! Thanks again to Will, our lively Aquarium tour guide.
After attending the sessions I did and meeting the people I met, it is safe to say that Public History as a field is definitely a sustainable profession that is always expanding. I am excited for what the future brings in Public History as I am merely at the beginning of my career. After attending NCPH, I feel like I am a part of a welcoming, professionalized field that I am incredibly proud to be associated with. It was a remarkable experience and I can’t believe how lucky I am for being able to attend and be immersed in everything NCPH offered. Attending NCPH is going to be a birthday present to myself for years to come.
If you are interested in any of the sessions I attended and live-tweeted, visit my twitter feed: @1StephanieJohns
Success!! Just a little bit…
This morning I began to worry that my webcam would not be compatible with Windows 8. Which technically it isn’t. But after some discussion with classmates and the professor and few google searches, I found the driver for Windows 7 and my VX-1000 webcam. Even though I am running Windows 8, the driver still works and just warns that some capabilities will not be enabled. So far, so good! Yay! Thumbs up!
What is the main part of my project? NAIL POLISH! I left the room and painted three of my nails with different colours to test under the webcam.
Next I decided that Macgyvering a webcam stand would be the best option for finding the correct height for the video. Using my water bottle and the webcam box I found the perfect height to get both my nails and most of my hand focused on the screen.
After I set it up, I filmed a short video to track the colours of the nail polish so that my professor can help me figure out a patch for Max 6.
What are the next steps?
– using the new patch in Max 6 and troubleshooting to ensure it works with my computer and webcam
– writing a short history of nail polish or a few fun facts
– testing the patch with everything connected
Hopefully everything continues smoothly… and I succeed moderately.
I have created a Flickr account to document my project progress in the Interactive Exhibit Design class I am taking this semester. I have provided the link below for you to use at your leisure:
The account at the moment contains photos I took at Fanshawe Pioneer Village a few weeks ago for another class but are just is interesting as my project documentation will be! As an added bonus there is a photo I took on my exchange to Germany in high school that I thought was rather neat.
Stay tuned for more photos and blog posts about the ups and downs of a non-technical girl, in a very technical class.
Photo source: http://bit.ly/1azeH00