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No, this isn’t an early Hallowe’en post.

THIS is The Beast:

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Okay, so it’s a friendly Beast, aka our Voyageur Canoe, a 33-foot, 450+lb, fiberglass-and-wood canoe designed and painted to look like the birch-bark canoes used during the fur trade.  It earns its nickname not only for its weight but for the fact that any time we want to use it, we have to herd up a bunch of staff and volunteers to dismantle it into two (still beastly heavy) sections, load it onto two trailers, arrange for people with hitches to bring their cars, schlep the trailers and our staff/volunteers to the put-in, and then haul it off the trailers and reconstruct it in situ, which is always reminds why IKEA doesn’t make 500lb bookshelves.  You just have to laugh, really, at how unbirchbark-ish our Voyageur Canoe actually is.

But, don’t get me wrong: I love the beast, and I’m forever grateful that its builder, Jim Holman, generously donated his craft to us after its illustrious reenactment career with the Red House Brigade. Because THIS is also the beast, in action:

2.1.1.2.12 VOYAGEUR CANOE 2

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Paddles straight up in N.Canoe group shot

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Fun even on the grass

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A gazillion times a day, this is how it goes:

“Education Coordinator, Karen Taylor speaking…”

“Yes, hello, I’m just wondering if I could bring my students (scouts, guides, youth group) for a tour.”

“No.”

Okay, I don’t really just say NO.  I do have some people skills.  But that is my answer in a nutshell, because I know that when we get your 28 grade 2s – or your 11 Guides or your 17 at-risk youth – into the Museum,  the worst move is to herd ’em up and lead the pack through our exhibits, even though there’s fascinating stuff to talk about and just about any one of us here could go on for hours about it all, passionately, adding the behind-the-scenes stories and more historical context to the wealth of information already in our displays.

Instead, when you call, I’m going to nudge you to toss that idea of a How-to-Visit-a-Museum out the window, and sign your kids up for an experience, for learning-by-doing, for one of our many education programs that aim to take kids to that the edge of their comfort zone where learning happens, and where learning lasts. “Experiential education” can take a lot of forms around here: role plays, a new hands-on skill, artistic expression, games,  but this is what it has looked like in the past couple of weeks. Doesn’t it look fun?! Read the rest of this entry »

Last month Leia showcased the creative side of our guests. We have found many a creation throughout the Museum…but they hardly ever extend passed the front doors.

Well that changed a few Saturday morning’s ago after one of January’s nasty snowstorms….

Let’s start from the beginning shall we!

Our Education Department provides amazing opportunities for kids to interact with the galleries and even, wait for it, sleepover! Every time I help with an Overnight I wish I could have slept underneath a Montreal Canoe or in a wigwam when I was seven!

Imagine you and friends sleeping toe to toe ...listening to the waterfall as you finally giggle yourself to sleep!  So very jealous!

Imagine you and friends sleeping toe to toe …listening to the waterfall as you finally giggle yourself to sleep! So very jealous!

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It’s a snow day. Personally, that means my daughter made her first snow angel of the year on our walk to school, and that I finally made an appointment to get my winter tires on.  Here in the Education Department that means early morning surveillance of the school bus website, cell phone communications with today’s visiting teachers, and wake up calls to program staff to say, stay in bed — or go play in the snow — Albert College has to postpone their trip. And now the Galleries seem strangely empty and quiet with mere adults (!) exploring our exhibits: oh, I know they’re into it, but they don’t tend forget to use their “walking feet” and “indoor voices” quite as often as kids who are engaged in the scavenger hunts, discovery activities and games included in our school programs here.

Compare:

Yesterday’s kids from Queen Elizabeth PS, really into it:

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I have to admit it: it seems just the teensiest bit as if summer is… okay, I’ll just say it… over.  It’s not the back-to-school stuff in the stores (which has been up since July anyway) or the recent crisp nights, it’s that for me summer is all about the Museum’s Paddling Camps — and we’ve just said goodbye to our last campers for the year.

Our five weeks of camp saw over 50 paddlers learning new paddling skills and earning ORCKA certifications, with 23 new paddlers earning Level 1 badges, and our returning campers achieving 12 level 2s, five level 3s and seven Tripping 1A certifications. Plus five intrepid and very dedicated campers took us up on our new camp offering this year — the Level 4 ORCKA option, achieving their solo canoe certifications in just one week — no small achievement (can YOU paddle a canoe on your own in a straight line backwards?).  But badge stats aside, that’s a whole lot of kids with water safety and paddling skills they can use to enjoy the Canadian wilderness, or just a local river, their whole lives through. Read the rest of this entry »

Something had to be done.

For a long while, we’ve been offering this kind of paddle-carving program:

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And this kind of paddle-carving program:

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The first picture is from an awesome, satisfying and skill-developing program for kids aged 10 and up, in which the students take a 24-inch softwood (poplar) prepped blank to a completed mini-paddle in 3 hours.  We’ve shared this hands-on education program with thousands of grade 4+ students, Scouts, Guides and our summer paddling camp participants; we also offer a paddle-carving birthday party option.

The second photo is from one of our acclaimed weekend-long artisan-led paddle-carving workshops for adults. No softwoods in this program; this is the real deal.  Taking that hardwood cherry blank – which is only minimally prepped – to a finished paddle takes two full days of focused woodworking with specialized tools, facilitated with a 1:5 instructor to participant ratio.  And what a gorgeous paddle you end up with – a paddle that will be treasured and used for a lifetime. Read the rest of this entry »

My name is Danielle Brinkman and I am coming to the end of a month long adventure here at The Canadian Canoe Museum (CCM). Here is a little reflection on my time here so far, and what I have discovered about CCM in the past few weeks.

Before starting this education practicum placement for the Queens Outdoor and Experiential Education (OEE) program, the museum was just a place that I had heard of and wanted to visit. I had heard rumours of puppets, games and hand crafts, but I did not imagine the extent of the fantastic, dynamic and interactive programs and activities that I was about to become a part of!

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Last month I began my VIP tour of our Education Programs with an up-close-and-personal account of The Perfect Machine, a grade K-3 science and social studies program that focuses on the First Nations canoe design, flotation, buoyancy & surface tension. Moving into Part Deux of this series, we’ll take a virtual run-through today of our Paddle Carving program for grades four+,  bearing in mind that this program gives kids an experience that is actually just about as far as it gets from virtual — an arguably much-needed balance to all that screen time!

DSC02326 2012 Feb 15 St. Catherine

Yes, that’s a rather small paddle.  I made one for my daughter when she was three (which, to be honest, didn’t see a lot of in-water action), but beyond that age, this size definitely serves as a souvenir or decorative paddle, or, in our household, as the official pinata-whacker and reacher-of-things-under-couches. Frankly, to make a full-size hardwood paddle from scratch takes adult focus and determination and a very full weekend (see our workshop info here); we also run a full-size, full-day paddle carving program for teens 15+ using prepped blanks (please contact me at education@canoemuseum.ca for info):

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The Museum is opening its doors to the public this Sunday, January 13th and offering FREE admission! Yes Free!  We are open from 12pm to 5pm and we are featuring our annual show of models and miniatures.  Our friends, the Peterborough Model Railroaders and the Lindsay & District Model Railroaders will be filling the Education Room with cool model trains for the kids and the young at heart!  The Maple Leaf Telegraph club will be here as well as Steve Guthrie and his military models. There will be kids’ crafts, a snack bar, live artisan demonstrations including paddle making, kayak building and birch bark canoe repair.  The Museum Store will be open and sales are to be expected (25% off selected apparel and 40% off select giftware and jewelry)!  It is going to be a fabulous day and one that you won’t want to miss.  See you Sunday. For more information check out www.canoemuseum.ca or call 705-748-9153.

 

 
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About a year ago now, on the 2nd floor of the Museum, a unused corner of space was transformed into an interactive educational puppet theatre.  This puppet theatre is one of the many kid-inspired and family-friendly components that makes this Museum a museum that I want to bring my own kids to (and often do, like today for strike day camp)!

Cute and cuddly Folkmanis hand and finger puppets of Canadian creatures that dwell in our forests, fields, lakes, rivers and air, are the backbone of this space and provide kids and adults with their inspiration for the many shows that erupt from behind the puppet theatre’s wall.  But these creatures really needed a tapestry to fly, swim and live in…and so we turned to volunteer and artisan, Ipie Van der Veen for help.  And take a look at the magic she created–

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She has a long history of helping create props for the School programs at the Museum; from creating faux seal skin hides to cover our kayaks in the Kayak Building program to sewing costumes for our Trappers and Traders program.  When we asked her to create a backdrop for the puppets in the puppet theatre she jumped on the opportunity!

A little background on Ipie; she is the uber creative force here for all things fabric and before fabric she worked in the woodshop and helped build the Museum’s 36′ birch bark canot du maitre!  Her Hudson Bay Company blanket mittens, gun cases and camp vests are on sale in the Museum Store and she co-teaches the HBC blanket coat workshop. To top this off, every Christmas she makes 100’s of HBC blanket coat tree ornaments.

You can find Ipie volunteering in the galleries at the Museum on Mondays and Thursdays

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