1. Mail-order Mix-up
Match the correct order with the person who ordered it.
Link: http://www.civilization.ca/cmc/exhibitions/cpm/catalog/cat5301e.shtml 2. Make Your Own Paper Dolls
A long time ago, children enjoyed making paper dolls with pictures they found in mail-order catalogues. Do the same by choosing a doll and clothing, than printing them and cutting them out. The documents are available in colour and in black and white. Link: http://www.civilization.ca/cmc/exhibitions/cpm/catalog/cat5302e.shtml 3. Mystery Objects
In old catalogues there are many object that were widespread at one time but difficult to recognize today. Here are worksheets about these "Myster Read More
1. Mail-order Mix-up
  1. Match the correct order with the person who ordered it.
  2. Link: http://www.civilization.ca/cmc/exhibitions/cpm/catalog/cat5301e.shtml
2. Make Your Own Paper Dolls
  1. A long time ago, children enjoyed making paper dolls with pictures they found in mail-order catalogues. Do the same by choosing a doll and clothing, than printing them and cutting them out. The documents are available in colour and in black and white.
  2. Link: http://www.civilization.ca/cmc/exhibitions/cpm/catalog/cat5302e.shtml
3. Mystery Objects
  1. In old catalogues there are many object that were widespread at one time but difficult to recognize today. Here are worksheets about these "Mystery Objects". Try to match the objects with the descriptions given in the Simpson’s 1899 Spring and Summer Catalogue.
  2. Link: http://www.civilization.ca/cmc/exhibitions/cpm/catalog/cat5304fe.shtml 
  3. Warning: Errors have crept into the answer key for The Kitchen and The Home. The letter associated with the responses does not correspond with the correct definitions. Here are the correct responses: 1.(h), 2. (d), 3. (j), 4. (k), 5. (g), 6. (m), 7. (n), 8. (c), 9. (f), 10. (a), 11. (b), 12. (o), 13. (l), 14. (e), 15. (i).
4. Make an Alphabet Book
  1. A long time ago, parents and teachers used mail-order catalogues to teach children the alphabet.Use illustrations published between 1897 and 1962 to do the same. Just print the documents  "Alphabet" , "Objects" and "Objects Names". Then glue them onto a sheet of paper and colour them.
  2. Link: http://www.civilization.ca/cmc/exhibitions/cpm/catalog/cat5305e.shtml
5. Don’t be Fooled by the Prices
  1. Were the prices in the past really the bargains they appear to be today? To find out, calculate the prices of the items from the 1918 to 1975 catalogues in 2003 dollars. The worksheet gives the equivilance of a dollar between 1918 and 1975 in 2003 dollars. If you wish to calculate the prices for this year, use the Bank of Canada Inflation Calculator.
  2. Link: http://www.civilization.ca/cmc/exhibitions/cpm/catalog/cat5306e.shtml
6. Help the Farmer and the Logger
  1. Choose the items that the farmers and loggers need. The worksheet and answer key can be found at the link below.
  2. Link: http://www.civilization.ca/cmc/exhibitions/cpm/catalog/cat5307e.shtml
7. What is it?
  1. Guess which object it is based on a part of the picture. Then check if you are right and learn more about that object.
  2. Link: http://www.civilization.ca/cmc/exhibitions/cpm/catalog/cat5308e.shtml

© Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation

On this site, there are hundreds of catalogue pages from 1880 to 1975 with text- and image-rich material. There are also photographs of objects from these catalogues, a catalogue timeline, and articles about such topics as toys, women's fashion, and oriental rugs.

How to view catalogue pages

To view the catalogue pages, we suggest you load the free MrSID plug-in software, which will download automatically from this site the first time you view a catalogue page.

The first time you select a catalogue page, a "MrSID plug-in" message box will pop up on your screen. You can view the pages without this free software, but we recommend that you install it so you can view the pages more quickly and with more control. Just click "Yes" when prompted and the plug-in will load automatically. This plug-in is free, takes up very little space on your hard drive, and will not interfere with other programs on your computer.

How to search for a catalogue item

You can search the entire collection of catalogues or search a particular catalog Read More

On this site, there are hundreds of catalogue pages from 1880 to 1975 with text- and image-rich material. There are also photographs of objects from these catalogues, a catalogue timeline, and articles about such topics as toys, women's fashion, and oriental rugs.

How to view catalogue pages

To view the catalogue pages, we suggest you load the free MrSID plug-in software, which will download automatically from this site the first time you view a catalogue page.

The first time you select a catalogue page, a "MrSID plug-in" message box will pop up on your screen. You can view the pages without this free software, but we recommend that you install it so you can view the pages more quickly and with more control. Just click "Yes" when prompted and the plug-in will load automatically. This plug-in is free, takes up very little space on your hard drive, and will not interfere with other programs on your computer.

How to search for a catalogue item

You can search the entire collection of catalogues or search a particular catalogue. If you wish to search the entire collection of catalogues, type the object name into the search box at the top of the Catalogues page.

If you know which decade you are interested in, click on Browse by Date. Once you have chosen a catalogue, click on Index to see how the objects are organized. Use the terms from the index as keywords to search for an object. Search for an object by typing its name in the search box on the left of the page.

How to print a page

Place the cursor within the page you would like to print. Right click on your mouse and select Print. Because most catalogues have restrictions on their printing, please click on the copyright button on each page before you print it. The following three catalogues have no restrictions and can be printed freely for classroom use: Goodwin's Fall and Winter 1911-12 catalogue, Christie Grant Midsummer Sale 1918 catalogue, and P. T. Legaré 1920 catalogue.

Link to browse the catalogues: 

http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/cmc/index-e.html


© Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation

English Language Arts, French Language Arts Assign different catalogues to the students. How does the language change over time?
  What words and phrases are used to sell the products in various years? Ask students to write catalogue text for an item that they own.
  Find vocabulary that is no longer used or is unfamiliar. Ask students to define the words and use them in writing of their own.

English as a Second Language Print out pages from a catalogue according to a specific theme (for example, clothing, appliances or tools), using the How to Print Guidelines in Introduction to the Catalogues.
  Show the images an Read More

English Language Arts, French Language Arts

  1. Assign different catalogues to the students. How does the language change over time?
     
  2. What words and phrases are used to sell the products in various years? Ask students to write catalogue text for an item that they own.
     
  3. Find vocabulary that is no longer used or is unfamiliar. Ask students to define the words and use them in writing of their own.

English as a Second Language

  1. Print out pages from a catalogue according to a specific theme (for example, clothing, appliances or tools), using the How to Print Guidelines in Introduction to the Catalogues.
     
  2. Show the images and text to students.
     
  3. Cut up the pages, separating the text from the images, and ask students to match the correct text with the image.

Core French
The P.T. Legaré catalogue contains text in English and French for each object.

  1. Print out catalogue pages, and use this catalogue as a resource to help students learn French vocabulary.
     
  2. Use other French catalogues and current French catalogues that your students bring in for various activities that use both the images and text.

Technology Studies
Use this site to develop your students’ skills in using the internet to perform research.

Art, Applied Arts

  1. Ask students to compare the design of covers and catalogue pages from various years.
     
  2. Discuss the similarities and differences.
     
  3. Have students design a cover or page from a year of their choice.

Drama

  1. Select several objects from a catalogue.
     
  2. Challenge your students to perform a skit that makes use of these objects.

Social Studies, History, and Geography

  1. Compare the items offered in catalogues from different regions. P. T. Legaré and Dupuis Frères served the Quebec market. The Eaton’s Fall and Winter 1918-19 and the Army and Navy catalogues were among those that served the Western Canadian market, while the Eaton’s Spring and Summer 1926 catalogue served Atlantic Canada.
  2. Use the catalogues to compare items available in different years. Areas to look at include clothing, technology, and furniture.
     
  3. Look at catalogues produced during the First and Second World Wars and the Depression. How are these events reflected in the catalogues? Look at the items offered and the images and wording that were used.

Math

  1. Practice addition by making orders from the catalogues.
     
  2. Practice fractions, percentages, multiplication, and division by making orders for items that must be measured, such as flooring, carpeting, fabric, and roofing.
     
  3. Convert imperial measures to metric.

French Immersion
The French catalogue pages on this site can be used for many activities that require text and images, for example:

  1. Print off pages from the 1975 Eaton Noël catalogue.
     
  2. Challenge your students to place an order from a page as if they were doing it over the telephone.
     
  3. Ask them to fill out an order form (forms are included in most of the catalogues).

© Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation

Toys in the Catalogues

Grades
2-3

Subject
Social Studies, Language Arts (reasoning and critical thinking, listening, and oral communication)

Theme
Change

Resources Historic catalogues from the exhibit site
Photographs of artefacts from the exhibit site

Description Project onto a screen or print out according to the guidelines in Introduction to the Resources, the toy pages of one or more historic catalogues from this site. (A few links to toy pages are suggested below.)
 
Links to toy pages:
  Eaton's Fall and Winter 1948-49 pages 502, Read More

Toys in the Catalogues

Grades
2-3

Subject
Social Studies, Language Arts (reasoning and critical thinking, listening, and oral communication)

Theme
Change

Resources

  • Historic catalogues from the exhibit site
  • Photographs of artefacts from the exhibit site

Description

  1. Project onto a screen or print out according to the guidelines in Introduction to the Resources, the toy pages of one or more historic catalogues from this site. (A few links to toy pages are suggested below.)
     
    Links to toy pages:
     
  2. As a class, ask students to name each toy they see. If your students are able to read, ask them to read out loud the text accompanying each item.
     
  3. For each toy, determine whether or not it is available today. If available today, discuss how the toy has changed.
     
    • Are there any toys that are no longer available today?
       
    • What toys do we have today that were not available in the past?
       
    • If you could order any of the toys from the old catalogue, which ones would you order and why?

Christmas in the Catalogues

Grades
Kindergarten to Grade 3

Subject
Social Studies, Language Arts (reasoning and critical thinking, listening, and oral communication)

Theme
Change

Resources

Description

  1. Consult one of the Christmas catalogues on this site (links above).
     
  2. Bring in a modern, non-specialized Christmas catalogue, such as the Sears Wish Book.
     
  3. As a class, or in small groups, compare the old and new catalogues. Begin by looking at each catalogue's index and then select one or two sections to compare, such as toys, radios and audiovisual equipment, and sports equipment. Specific areas to compare include size of catalogue, variety of items available, prices of items, and imagery used in the catalogues.

What Could You Buy with a Dollar?

Grades
1-3

Subjects
Mathematics, Social Studies, Language Arts (reasoning and critical thinking, listening, and oral communication), Economics (money)

Themes
Needs and Wants, Change, Decision-making, Economics

Resources
Historic catalogue from this site; overhead projector (optional)

Description
This is a new kind of dollar store! Imagine it is the fall of 1918, and you have just received the Eaton's Fall and Winter 1918-19 catalogue.
What could you buy with a dollar?

  1. Using the guidelines in Introduction to the Resources, print out one or two pages from the Eaton's Fall and Winter 1918-19 catalogue (links suggested below, but many other pages are appropriate too).
  2. Project these pages onto a screen or wall or photocopy for individual or group use.
     
  3. Ask students to identify what they could buy with a dollar to spend. Some of the actual prices may seem surprising from a present-day viewpoint and students may benefit from a class discussion concerning why the relative prices of goods seem so inexpensive by today's standards.


Shopping through Time

Grades
4-8

Subjects
Social Studies, History, Information Technology/Technology Studies

Themes
Change, Technology

Resources
Historic catalogues on this site

Description

  1. As a class, make a list of ten objects that your students and their families might order from a mail-order catalogue today.
     
  2. Divide your class into small groups of four or five students.
     
  3. Assign a different catalogue to each group of students, and challenge them to make an order from this catalogue that includes each of the ten objects. If they can't find an exact item, they must find the closest match (for example, a record player could replace a phonograph).
     
  4. Beginning with the group that consulted the oldest catalogue, ask the groups to make presentations about what they would order from their catalogue.
     
  5. Each group should compare the items in the old catalogue to the item on the present-day list and identify the items that were not available and what was ordered instead.
     
  6. As a class, look at the changes in each item and discuss reasons for the changes.
     
  7. Challenge your students to predict how the items on the present-day list might change in the future.

© Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation

Shopping through Time

Grades
4-8

Subjects
Social Studies, History, Information Technology/Technology Studies

Themes
Change, Technology

Resources
Historic catalogues on this site

Description As a class, make a list of ten objects that your students and their families might order from a mail-order catalogue today.
  Divide your class into small groups of four or five students.
  Assign a different catalogue to each group of students, and challenge them to make an order from this catalogue that includes each of the ten objects. If they can’t find an exact item, they must find the closest match (for example, a record player could replace a phonograph).
  Beginning with the group that consulted the oldest catalogue, ask the groups to make presentations about what they would order from their catalogue.
  Each group should compare the items in the old catalogue to the item on t Read More

Shopping through Time

Grades
4-8

Subjects
Social Studies, History, Information Technology/Technology Studies

Themes
Change, Technology

Resources
Historic catalogues on this site

Description

  1. As a class, make a list of ten objects that your students and their families might order from a mail-order catalogue today.
     
  2. Divide your class into small groups of four or five students.
     
  3. Assign a different catalogue to each group of students, and challenge them to make an order from this catalogue that includes each of the ten objects. If they can’t find an exact item, they must find the closest match (for example, a record player could replace a phonograph).
     
  4. Beginning with the group that consulted the oldest catalogue, ask the groups to make presentations about what they would order from their catalogue.
     
  5. Each group should compare the items in the old catalogue to the item on the present-day list and identify the items that were not available and what was ordered instead.
     
  6. As a class, look at the changes in each item and discuss reasons for the changes.
     
  7. Challenge your students to predict how the items on the present-day list might change in the future.

What Is It?

Grades
4-8

Subjects
Social Studies, History, Information Technology/Technology Studies

Themes
Change, Ways of life

Resources

  • Photographs of artefacts from Eaton’s catalogues (links below)
  • Teacher hints (below)

Description

  1. Ask students to select an object from the photographs included below. Note its name.
     
  2. By using the on-line catalogue pages on this site, and with the help of the indexes, students must find out when it was used, what it was used for, and what it cost.

Teacher Hints

For hints on the different objects and the list, please visit this link:
http://www.civilization.ca/cmc/exhibitions/cpm/catalog/cat4118e.shtml

Sports Equipment

Grades
4-8

Subjects
Social Studies, History, Information Technology/Technology Studies

Themes
Change, Ways of life

Resources
Historic catalogues on this site

Description
Challenge your students to explore how sports equipment has changed, from 1918 to the present.

  1. In small groups or individually, students must select one of the following categories:
    • hockey
    • baseball
    • skiing
    • camping
    • cycling
       
  2. By consulting the catalogues on this site, they must identify the equipment related to their selected category.
     
  3. After a reasonable amount of time, they must make a presentation to the class about how the sports equipment has changed.
     
  4. As a class, discuss the impact of the changes in sports equipment on both the user and the sport.

Areas to consider include: what equipment was available, how much variety there was for each item, materials used, and cost.


© Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation

Shop ’Til You Drop

Grades
7-8

Subjects
Language (reasoning and critical thinking, listening, and oral communication), Social Studies, Math, Information Technology/Technology Studies

Themes
Needs and wants, Decision-making

Resources
Historic catalogues on this site

Description On small pieces of paper, write dollar figures from $30 to $100, write the names of rooms in a house (bathroom, kitchen, living room/parlour, bedroom), and a specific year between 1940 and 1975.
  Students must select a dollar figure, a room, and a year.
  They must then shop from the most appropriate catalogue and compile an order that is appropriate and within budget.

The task could be to furnish a living room for $100 in 1950, or a bathroom for $30 in 1960. Students will practice computation and budgeting skills while developing critical thinking. Show and Tell

Grades
4-8

Read More

Shop ’Til You Drop

Grades
7-8

Subjects
Language (reasoning and critical thinking, listening, and oral communication), Social Studies, Math, Information Technology/Technology Studies

Themes
Needs and wants, Decision-making

Resources
Historic catalogues on this site

Description

  1. On small pieces of paper, write dollar figures from $30 to $100, write the names of rooms in a house (bathroom, kitchen, living room/parlour, bedroom), and a specific year between 1940 and 1975.
     
  2. Students must select a dollar figure, a room, and a year.
     
  3. They must then shop from the most appropriate catalogue and compile an order that is appropriate and within budget.

The task could be to furnish a living room for $100 in 1950, or a bathroom for $30 in 1960. Students will practice computation and budgeting skills while developing critical thinking.

Show and Tell

Grades
4-8

Subjects
Social Studies, Language (reasoning and critical thinking, listening, and oral communication), History, Information Technology/Technology Studies

Themes
Change, Technology

Resources

  • Historic catalogues on this site
  • Books and other research materials (optional)

Description

  1. Using the guidelines in Introduction to the Resources, print out one or two pages from each catalogue. Suggested pages are clothing, toys, large or small appliances, sports equipment, or audiovisual equipment.
     
  2. Circle an item on each page.
     
  3. Fold up the pages and place them in a hat.
     
  4. Ask students to select a page from the hat.
     
  5. Students must read their item’s description to the class.
     
  6. Then, on their own, students must research their item to find out how a fashion or technology item changed over time. Research sources could include the catalogues on this site, other websites, books, parents, and grandparents.
     
  7. Students make a presentation about how they did their research, what they discovered about how their item (material, use, cost), and how it changed over time.

Shopping List

Grades
7-8

Subjects
Language (reasoning and critical thinking, listening, and oral communication), Social Studies, History, Information Technology/Technology Studies

Themes
Change, Ways of life

Resources
Eaton’s Fall and Winter 1918-19 catalogue

Description
Imagine you’re a settler, bound for a homestead on the prairies.
What items do you think you would need to survive?

  1. Students work individually or in small groups to look through the appropriate catalogue (link above) and make their selection.
     
  2. Ask the students to list the items or make sketches of each.
     
  3. Once completed, students make an oral presentation of their choices and rationale to the class.

© Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation

Art, Applied Arts, Fine Arts
Ask students to compare the design of covers and catalogue pages in various years. Discuss the similarities and differences. Have students design a cover or page from a year of their choice.

Drama
Select several objects from a catalogue. Challenge your students to perform a skit that make use of these objects.

English
Assign different catalogues to the students. How does the language change over time? What words and phrases are used to sell the products in various years? Ask students to write catalogue text for an item that they own.
Find vocabulary that is no longer used or is unfamiliar. Ask students to define the words and use them in writing of their own.

English as a Second Language
Print out pages from a catalogue according to a specific theme (for example, clothing, appliances or tools), using the How to Print guidelines in Introduction to the Catalogues. Show the images and text to s Read More

Art, Applied Arts, Fine Arts
Ask students to compare the design of covers and catalogue pages in various years. Discuss the similarities and differences. Have students design a cover or page from a year of their choice.

Drama
Select several objects from a catalogue. Challenge your students to perform a skit that make use of these objects.

English
Assign different catalogues to the students. How does the language change over time? What words and phrases are used to sell the products in various years? Ask students to write catalogue text for an item that they own.
Find vocabulary that is no longer used or is unfamiliar. Ask students to define the words and use them in writing of their own.

English as a Second Language
Print out pages from a catalogue according to a specific theme (for example, clothing, appliances or tools), using the How to Print guidelines in Introduction to the Catalogues. Show the images and text to students. Cut up the pages, separating the text from the images, and ask students to match the correct text with the image.

French
The P.T. Legaré catalogue contains text in English and French for each object. Print out catalogue pages, and use this catalogue as a resource to help students learn French vocabulary. Use other French catalogues and current French catalogues that your students bring in for various activities that use both the images and text.

French Immersion
The French catalogue pages on this site can be used for many activities that require text and images. For example, print off pages from the 1975 Eaton Noël catalogue. Challenge your students to place an order from a page as if they were doing it over the telephone. Ask them to fill out an order form (forms are included in most of the catalogues).

Information Technology
Use this site to develop your students' skills in using the Internet to perform research.

Social Studies: Geography
Compare the items offered in catalogues from different regions. P. T. Legaré and Dupuis Frères served the Quebec market. The Eaton's Fall and Winter 1918-19 and the Army and Navy catalogues served the Western Canadian market, while the Eaton's Spring and Summer 1926 catalogue served Atlantic Canada.

Social Studies: History (Canadian, Business, Women's)
Use the historic catalogues to compare items such as clothing, technology, and furniture that were available in different years. Assign students the papers that relate to items in mail-order catalogues, such as phonographs, gramophones, and radios, writing instruments, houses, women's fashion, and bicycles.

Look at catalogues produced during the First and Second World Wars and the Depression. How are these events reflected in the catalogues? Look at the items offered and the images and wording that were used. The catalogues are useful primary resources for other historical themes such as the settlement of the West, changing women's roles and women's rights, urbanization, expanding consumer goods, technological development, and globalization.

Use the catalogues, papers, and timeline as resources for Canadian Business History. Assign students the papers related to the history of Eaton's, Simpson's, Paquet and Dupuis-Frères, labour in the mail-order industry, unionization, reaction from retail merchants, the role of the postal service, and the timeline of mail-order catalogues from 1870 to 2000.


© Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation

Prices Yesterday and Today

Subject
Math, History, Social Studies, Economics

Themes
Change, Technology, Economics

Resources Mail-order catalogues on this site Contemporary Sears catalogue (to bring in) Price conversion table (below)

Description Divide the class into groups of three or four students.
  Ask each group to select a historical catalogue from this site. The students must locate the catalogue on the site.
  Ask each group to create a catalogue order for ten items from their selected catalogue.
  Ask each group to convert its historical order into a contemporary order. Students must find an equivalent item in the modern Sears catalogue for each item on their original order. Calculate the cost of the entire order.
  Using the price conversion table, ask each group to determine Read More

Prices Yesterday and Today

Subject
Math, History, Social Studies, Economics

Themes
Change, Technology, Economics

Resources

  • Mail-order catalogues on this site
  • Contemporary Sears catalogue (to bring in)
  • Price conversion table (below)

Description

  1. Divide the class into groups of three or four students.
     
  2. Ask each group to select a historical catalogue from this site. The students must locate the catalogue on the site.
     
  3. Ask each group to create a catalogue order for ten items from their selected catalogue.
     
  4. Ask each group to convert its historical order into a contemporary order. Students must find an equivalent item in the modern Sears catalogue for each item on their original order. Calculate the cost of the entire order.
     
  5. Using the price conversion table, ask each group to determine the cost of the historic order in current dollars.
     
    • How does the overall cost compare?
    • Calculate the percentage increase or decrease.
       
  6. Repeat this activity for each item on the list, comparing the price of each item in current dollars.
     
    • Which items increased in price the most?
    • The least?
    • Have any decreased in price?
       
  7. Ask each group to present its findings.
     
  8. Lead a class discussion about why prices change and what historical events account for the differences in the rate of change in various years.

Price Conversion Table

Use this table to compare catalogue prices to 2003 dollars. To compare prices to current dollars, use the full table provided at http://www.bankofcanada.ca/en/inflation_calc.htm.

In 2003 you would need …

$12.04

...To match the purchasing power of $1 in 1918

In 2003 you would need...

$11.16

...To match the purchasing power of $1 in 1926

In 2003 you would need...

$11.27

...To match the purchasing power of $1 in 1929

In 2003 you would need...

$13.95

...To match the purchasing power of $1 in 1936

In 2003 you would need...

$13.49

...To match the purchasing power of $1 in 1939

In 2003 you would need...

$9.03

...To match the purchasing power of $1 in 1948

In 2003 you would need...

$8.41

...To match the purchasing power of $1 in 1950

In 2003 you would need...

$7.31

...To match the purchasing power of $1 in 1956

In 2003 you would need...

$6.57

...To match the purchasing power of $1 in 1962

In 2003 you would need...

$5.79

...To match the purchasing power of $1 in 1967

In 2003 you would need...

$3.69

...To match the purchasing power of $1 in 1975

Source: Bank of Canada Inflation Calculator
http://www.bankofcanada.ca/en/inflation_calc.htm.

© Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation

Shopping through Time

Subjects
History, Social Studies, Information Technology

Themes
Change, Technology, Fashion

Resources
Mail-order catalogues on this site

Description As a class, make a list of ten objects that your students and their families might order from a mail-order catalogue today.
  Divide your class into groups of three or four students.
  Assign a different catalogue to each group of students and challenge them to make an order from this catalogue that includes each of the ten objects. If they can't find an exact item, they must find the closest match (for example, a record player could replace a phonograph).
  Beginning with the group that consulted the oldest catalogue, ask the groups to make presentations about what they would order from their catalogues.
  Each Read More

Shopping through Time

Subjects
History, Social Studies, Information Technology

Themes
Change, Technology, Fashion

Resources
Mail-order catalogues on this site

Description

  1. As a class, make a list of ten objects that your students and their families might order from a mail-order catalogue today.
     
  2. Divide your class into groups of three or four students.
     
  3. Assign a different catalogue to each group of students and challenge them to make an order from this catalogue that includes each of the ten objects. If they can't find an exact item, they must find the closest match (for example, a record player could replace a phonograph).
     
  4. Beginning with the group that consulted the oldest catalogue, ask the groups to make presentations about what they would order from their catalogues.
     
  5. Each group should compare the items in the old catalogue to the items on the present-day list and identify the items that were not available and what was ordered instead.
     
  6. As a class, look at the changes in each item and discuss reasons for the changes.
     
  7. Challenge your students to predict how the items on the present-day list might change in the future.
Families Past and Present

Subjects
Social Studies, History

Themes
Change, Ways of life, Ethnicity, Immigration

Resources
Mail-order catalogues on this site

Description

  1. Ask students to research their own family history by talking to their parents, grandparents, and other family members.
     
  2. Ask them to recreate their family in a specific year, such as 1920, 1940, 1960, or 1970.
     
    • Who were the family members in the selected year and what were their ages?
    • Where did they live?
    • What were the occupations of the income earners and their sources of income?
    • If possible, ask them to estimate what their incomes were and what their disposable income might have been.
       
  3. Ask students to find out if their families had access to mail-order catalogues in the selected year.
    • What do they remember ordering from catalogues?
    • Are there any pieces of furniture or clothing in their houses today that they recall ordering from a catalogue?
    • If they did not have access to mail-order catalogues, find out where they obtained items such as furniture and clothing.
       
  4. Ask students to record on paper, audiocassette, or video the memories their parents and grandparents have of mail-order catalogues:
     
    • What was it like to receive them?
    • What did they want to order?
    • What do they remember ordering?
    • Ask for any other stories they may have about mail order.
       
  5. Ask each student to make a presentation about his or her family in the selected year. Each student should begin by placing a tack on a large map of the world representing where the family lived and then continue with a presentation of the occupations, incomes, and experiences with mail-order catalogues.
     
  6. Conclude with a class discussion comparing the experiences of the different families, and comparing experiences of the past with the present day.

This activity can be extended further by challenging students to find items ordered by their families in the historic catalogues on this site.


© Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation

Fashion: What’s Hot, What’s Not?

Subjects
Social Studies, History, Information Technology

Theme
Fashion

Resources Historical mail-order catalogues Custom-made to Ready-made: Women’s Clothing in the Eaton’s Catalogue, 1884 to 1930, by Christina Bates Catalogues and Women’s Fashion Read More

Fashion: What’s Hot, What’s Not?

Subjects
Social Studies, History, Information Technology

Theme
Fashion

Resources

Description

  1. Choose an item of clothing or accessory below.
     
    Items to select:
      • Fan
      • Gloves
      • Parasol
      • Spats
      • Hat
      • Bustle
      • Handkerchief
      • Petticoat
      • Stockings
      • Riding suit
      • Cycling habit
      • Waist
      • Corset
      • Top hat
         
    • What is it?
    • Who used or wore it (men, women, children)?
    • What was it used for?
    • On what occasions was it used or worn?
    • When was it in fashion?
  2. To answer these questions, find the item in as many of the catalogues as possible by using the search feature on the Catalogues page.
     
  3. Each time you find it, record the page number(s) and catalogue.
     
  4. Print out or sketch one example from each catalogue.
     
  5. When you are finished researching the catalogues, make a collage and timeline that show how the item changed over time.
     
  6. Present this collage to the class.

For additional context, read the articles by Christina Bates and Shirley Lavertu on this site.


© Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation

Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • observe and identify the characteristics of early 20th century lifestyle;
  • compare the evolution of the Canadian and Quebec society over several decades;
  • explain the similarities and differences between past and present society;
  • discuss the main events of the 20th century (economic crisis, World Wars, unionization, feminist movement) and the impact that they had on Canadian and Quebec societies.

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