Lambton Heritage Museum
Grand Bend, Ontario

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LAMBTON HERITAGE MUSEUM - A SUMMER STUDENT'S PERSPECTIVE (Anne Marie Janes, 2009)

Each summer I spent at the Heritage Museum (and there were four in total) was a positive one and one of the most interesting and varied jobs I have had. As a summer student I did everything from drywall and paint murals inside a barn for exhibits to carefully hand wash hundreds of pieces of pressed glass (a job reserved, I believe, specifically for new summer students). This was interspersed with stripping and staining woodwork, coating ploughs with linseed oil, assembling exhibits and working at the annual fall craft sales. While a lot of summer jobs would have provided specific training in one small area, my experience at the museum left me with an understanding of the broad range of activities and inner workings of a museum and a glimpse behind the mysterious "Staff Only" door.

Depending on the task at hand I spent time with almost all of the staff members as their protge, learning how to properly hang drywall, plaster and paint from John Russell, how to prepare for and display and exhibit from Susan Hewitt and how to perform the skills needed to manage the front office as well as organize major events from Gwen Watson. And finally, Paul Miller and Bob Tremain (in addition to the other staff members) taught me about the history of the pieces and the area in general.

Some of my favourite moments include assembling 20 ft scaffolding to straddle the entryway of the Rokeby Schoolhouse with John so that I could scrape, caulk and paint the peak above the doorway. I also learned how to safely battle a nest of wasps from that height. My younger brother Ed worked with me that summer.

I spent quite a bit of time with another summer student, Bonnie Thompson, who was also a graphic artist doing labels and signs and putting together a small exhibit box on wood which in large part remains to this day. My favourite assignment by far was painting the several murals in the barn for exhibits on the ploughing match and other farm activities. These were completed with Susan and Bonnie, who both provided me tips and advice on how to create shadow and details in one colour on a large scale.

 

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