Story Art Centre’s Museum Students Create Significant Contribution to WW2 Collection
Memory kits bridge the generation gap and honour contributions of those in war effort
Dr. Phaedra Livingstone is one of the best. The Museum and Cultural Management graduate certificate program at Centennial College is happy to have her. A formidable program coordinator, she is an expert in her field with both a master’s and a PhD in the area of museum studies. With a varied and lengthy work history, she is well positioned to be educating the students in this program, and she is passionate about doing so. She really wants her students to succeed and you can really tell from the excitement with which she speaks of the projects going on in the program.
One project she is particularly proud of is the memory kits done by the students for the skills-based learning course Storyworks, where students work on real-world, client-driven projects. In this case, students worked with the Small Arms Society operating as the CreativeHub1352, a multidisciplinary creative hub operating out of the historical Small Arms Inspections Building, the last remaining WW2 munitions factory building, located in Mississauga.
The memory kits were a research and collection management project filled with touchable artifacts and printed material that reflect the “heyday” of the Small Arms Ltd. factory in 1944. The themes reflected in the kits include: Victory Bonds and You; Women in the Workforce; Daily life; Downtime; and On the Factory Floor.
The memory kits formed a significant part of the collection for the Small Arms Society and they expressed they were “very grateful and could not have collected the information or additional stories and memories of the folks that worked for Small Arms Limited during the 40’s without the tremendous work done by this student cohort.”
Most of the students in this cohort were millennials, and its refreshing to a lot of the older generations, some of whom were alive during WW2 to see millennials paying homage to this important time in history. It’s a common belief amongst the older generations that the younger generations don’t really understand the sacrifices made by the people during the war, not just the soldiers, but everyone around during that time taking part in the war effort, like many of the women working in this very munitions factory.
Dr. Livingstone speaks enthusiastically about future Storyworks projects like a curriculum development project, outreach and programming, building archival collections, etc.
She is eager to promote her program and speaks of the wonderful opportunities the students face in the field experience component of the program which is a work placement in the culture and heritage field and includes jobs like curatorial assistant, educator/heritage interpreter, collection manager, museum technician and exhibition preparator. The opportunities are available at places like Women’s College Hospital, the Gardiner Museum, TIFF, ROM, and Pickering Museum Village to name a few.
The future looks bright for the Museum and Cultural Management Program and it will be exciting to see what new opportunities lie ahead!
By: Andrea Logan