Museum at Home is a weekly blog series offering fun and educational hands-on activities for children to do at home over the summer. Each week throughout July and August, the St. Catharines Museum will post a new history-inspired activity aimed to spark curiousity and learning.
Become a Bedroom Archaeologist!
This is Part III of our summertime Bedroom Archaeology activity series. Before you go further, make sure you’ve completed the first Bedroom Archaeology activity to inventory your STUFF, and the second Bedroom Archaeology activity to catalogue your STUFF.
- Your Catalogue Sheet (see Bedroom Archaeology Part II)
- Your Objects
- Table or surface to build & display exhibit
- Object Labels (download/print below)
- Exhibit Text Sheet (download/print below)
- Pen or pencil
When you visit a museum and walk through the galleries where artifacts are on display, those spaces are called exhibitions. An exhibition is an organized presentation and display of a selection of objects that together, tell a story. The exhibitions at the St. Catharines Museum & Welland Canals Centre, for example, display all sorts of objects to tell stories of the history and growth of St. Catharines, the construction and evolution of the Welland Canals, Black History, as well as other stories that are important to our community.
Exhibitions are themed, meaning that the objects selected for display collectively tell a story about a particular moment or aspect of history. For example, our online exhibit, Coming Home, shares a collection of photographs depicting the special moments of men and women arriving home from Europe at the end of the Second World War. By displays these photographs together, we can tell a powerful story of family and community in St. Catharines at the end of the war. The work that goes into selecting, organizing, and presenting objects and their stories in an exhibition is called curation. A curator is a storyteller.
It’s time to curate your exhibition!
Activity: Part III – Curate Your Exhibition
- Review your Catalogue Sheet
- Take a moment to review the objects listed on your catagloue sheet and stories identified in you “Intangible Information” column.
- Write your Object Labels
- Download and print the “Object Label” document linked above. For each object selected, prepare an label to describe your object. Include the Name & Number of your object as well as a description that includes both its tangible and intangible elements.
- Arrange & display your objects
- Using a table or other flat surface, take time to arrange your objects for display. Be sure that each object is clearly visible, using stands if necessary to give an object height. Display each object alongside its Object Label.
- Using the photo above as an example for how to arrange your display. Creativity is encouraged!
- Write your exhibit text
- As the curator of this exhibit, you are a storyteller. Together, what story can you tell with these objects? What do these objects mean to you? If this exhibition was on display at a museum, what would you want your visitors to know?
- Download and print the “Exhibit Text” document linked above. Using this template, give your exhibition a title and write the story you want to tell with your objects.
- Open your exhibit
- Once your exhibition is built, it is ready for visitors! Open your exhibit to visitors and invite family and friends in your bubble to learn and explore.
Congratulations, you are officially a Bedroom Archaeologist! Over the course of these three Museum at Home activities, you’ve learned how objects, including the STUFF in your bedroom, can tell valuable and meaningful stories. You’ve learned to collect, inventory, catalogue, and display objects in an exhibition. If not for your hard work, some of the stories of the stuff in your bedroom could be lost forever!
The hard work of an archaeologist or a museum professional is never over! There are always objects to discover and histories to explore. The next time you visit a museum, take a moment to consider the objects on display and the work it takes to uncover their stories!
We’d love for you to share what you’ve learned with us! Share your bedroom archaeology exhibition on social media, and tag us on Twitter or Instagram at @stcmuseum #stcmuseum or find us on Facebook! Your story is part of St. Catharines’ story!