M u s e u m  C r e a t e d  L e s s o n

Documenting Gold: Art and Industry

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Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Art as Documentation
1. Examine the four images of Oldham: the watercolour by Nichols, Purcell’s oil painting, the 1895 photograph and Faribault’s map. They are each views of one location. You can have a class discussion, work in small groups, or individually and answer these questions through an oral or written report.
a. What is the same?
b. What is different?
c. What message do you think each is trying to convey?
d. How do they do that?
e. Do you think that one image is truer than another?
f. Do you think that a painting can be as accurate as a photograph?
g. Can photographs be purposely misleading?
h. Does one medium automatically portray more truth than another?
Oldham Gold District, Whitehead, N.E.
Watercolour landscape showing two miners working a hoist above a mine shaft.
Nichols has chosen to paint idyllic industrial landscapes in a muted, serene palette, minimizing the visual impact of the industry on the land. Little in the images makes the viewer aware of anything other than charming scenes of pastoral beauty or of activity at a safe distance.

Frederick B. Nichols
Watercolour on wove paper
13.6 x 22.5 cm
2011.264

© 2013, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. All Rights Reserved.
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Learning Object Collection: Gold in Nova Scotia
Oldham
Painting showing mine structures and tailings pond in the Oldham Gold District.
This is one of the oldest gold districts in the province, with the original discovery in the spring of 1861. The scene depicts a main mill set up at this active gold camp around the turn of the century. Some stamp mills at this productive site were water-powered.

Joseph Purcell




© 2013, Nova Scotia Museum of Industry. All Rights Reserved.
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Learning Object Collection: Gold in Nova Scotia
Oldham Gold Mining Company, 1895.
Photograph of the surface plant of Oldham Gold Mining Co.
The surface plant of the Oldham Gold Mining Co.

N.S. Archives and Records Management Library TN B41 1895 part 2.




© 2013, Nova Scotia Archives. All Rights Reserved.
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Learning Object Collection: Gold in Nova Scotia
Plan and section, Oldham Gold District
Detail image of Faribault’s plan of the Oldham Gold District
Faribault published 47 map sheets, each covering an area 12 x 16 miles (roughly 19 x 26 km) under his own name and another 13 that he co-authored with Hugh Fletcher, another pioneer geologist. In addition to these larger maps, Faribault completed 34 detailed maps of areas where workable gold veins were encountered, published on large scales – 500 ft to an inch.

E. R. Faribault, Geological Survey of Canada




© 2013, Geological Survey of Canada. All Rights Reserved.
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Learning Object Collection: Gold in Nova Scotia
Interpreting the Image
2. Find an industrial site in your local area and document it in two different ways.
a. First, create an image (using any means you choose) in the style of Nichols, finding a way to make the site look appealing--romantic.
b. Next, create an image (using any means you choose) in the style of the 1895 photograph that shows the actual workings of the site.
c. Finally, discuss the following questions as you view the images you produce. What is the difference in the message the two images portray? What relation/importance do you think this might have to images you see in the news.
Looking at Watercolour
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Dian Day, Susan Sellers, Rita Wilson
© 2013, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. All Rights Reserved.
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Learning Object Collection: Gold in Nova Scotia
Excelsior (late Chicago) Mill, Goldenville
Watercolour painting by Frederick Nichols from the 1860s showing one of the stamp mill buildings at Goldenville
The locations where stamp mills were built required careful consideration, including access to a water supply, a solid bedrock foundation for the mortar block of the mill, sufficient space for a tailing dump was needed, and at a level great enough so that the tailings could flow out into the dump by means of gravity rather than by hoisting them out.

Frederick B. Nichols
Watercolour on wove paper
13.8 x 22.9 cm
2011.269

© 2013, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. All Rights Reserved.
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Learning Object Collection: Gold in Nova Scotia
Photography in the 1800s
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Dian Day, Susan Sellers, Rita Wilson
© 2013, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. All Rights Reserved.
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Learning Object Collection: Gold in Nova Scotia
Stamp mill and tailings, Empress Gold Mining Co., Renfrew
Photograph of a stamp mill and tailings.
Photography became a more useful documentation tool after the invention of photographic film in 1889. Until then, drawings and paintings were the primary way to record an image.

E. R. Faribault, Geological Survey of Canada




© 2013, Geological Survey of Canada. All Rights Reserved.
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Learning Object Collection: Gold in Nova Scotia
Documentation Today
3. You are a reporter sent out to a modern day gold mining exploration. Answer the following questions, explaining your choices.
a. What equipment would you take with you?
b. What media or methods would you use to share the information in order to reach the widest possible range of people, from politicians to people who live in the area.
Introduction
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Dian Day, Susan Sellers, Rita Wilson
© 2013, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. All Rights Reserved.
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Learning Object Collection: Gold in Nova Scotia
Cartography as Art/Cartography as Field Geology: DesBarres
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Dian Day, Susan Sellers, Rita Wilson
© 2013, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. All Rights Reserved.
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Learning Object Collection: Gold in Nova Scotia
Cartography as Art/Cartography as Field Geology: Faribault
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Dian Day, Susan Sellers, Rita Wilson
© 2013, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. All Rights Reserved.
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Learning Object Collection: Gold in Nova Scotia
Goldenville in Paint and Poem
John A. MacDonald, Dian Day, Susan Sellers, Rita Wilson
© 2013, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. All Rights Reserved.
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Learning Object Collection: Gold in Nova Scotia
New Gold-diggings in Nova Scotia : Gold-Street, Tangier
Coloured engraving showing gold miners walking up between a “street” of wooden shaft houses and tents.
A hand-coloured wood engraving published in the "Illustrated London News", September 14, 1861. Based on a drawing by Captain Campbell Hardy.

Captain Campbell Hardy, Unknown
Hand-colour wood engraving on paper
16.3 x 23.3 cm
1995.450

© 2013, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. All Rights Reserved.
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Learning Object Collection: Gold in Nova Scotia
Tales of Tangier—In Image, In Newspaper, In Song
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Dian Day, Susan Sellers, Rita Wilson
© 2013, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. All Rights Reserved.
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Learning Object Collection: Gold in Nova Scotia

Learning Objectives

1. Explore, challenge, develop and express ideas using the skills, languages, techniques, and processes of the arts.
(Visual Arts, Grades 7-12)

2. Demonstrate critical awareness of and value for the role of the arts in creating and reflecting culture.
(Visual Arts, Grades 7-12)

3. Interpret, select and combine information using a variety of strategies, resources and technologies.
(English Language Arts, Grades 7-12)