Collecting and Connecting
Curatorial blog from the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation
Although the history of Canadian metallurgy is of national significance, our collection in this area is rather small. Before, I could decide what to collect, I needed to gain a better understanding of the subject. Therefore in June 2015, I travelled to the Georg Fischer Iron Library in Switzerland where I spent three weeks as a Scholar-in-Residence. I researched the history of metallurgy, and the technology transfer between Europe and Canada.
It was a great pleasure to learn about John Colton’s service. His son was kind enough to share many of his stories with me. I would like to share one in particular which has stuck out in my mind.
Plastics are so much a part of our lives that we don’t even think about them except when we check for the recyclable symbol. Plastics in museums, however, deserve much more attention as they present significant and constant collecting and preservation challenges.
When asked where metals such as nickel comes from, most people would tell you that it is found in the ground. Evidently it is a metal you mine. But what if I told you nickel can actually be grown?
Over a year ago, I was asked to research “Canadian” video games and suggest how we might be able to develop an artifact based exhibition opening in 2016. There was just one small problem, the Museum did not have an extensive video game collection.
This first experience at collection development has been truly memorable. I met great people who are passionate about their agricultural heritage, including a group of volunteers restoring a historic barn in downtown Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines.