A Month at the Museum

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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I thought that upon arrival I would probably have to spend some time becoming informed through the memorization of dull facts and obscure dates in Canadian history. It was surprising that after first meeting all of the staff, I was immediately set up with hand crafts to work on. I learned how to sew a leather shooting bag (see photo above), started to re-paint the calligraphy on the  model pieces that are on display for the students to try (below), learned the basics of how to finger-weave, learned to blanket stitch, to back splice rope and I was able to help brainstorm and prepare the materials for the painting and drumming activities on family day.

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With these new hand crafts and tasks came questions and learning that sprung up from my own curiosity. What is a piece? Why are they labeled? How where they used? What where the trading routes? (If you don't know, come for a visit!)

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The nature of how I was welcomed is a great reflection of the staff team at the CCM, and their approach to education. The dates and facts come to life when paired with the meaningful stories and journeys that they are a part of.

Each education program that is developed and delivered is uniquely interactive and allows students to be engaged as they learn curriculum. Throughout the programs there are hands-on places, thought provoking activities, fun and silly songs, games, puppet shows and hand crafts, which all work together to foster learning and curiosity while equipping students with new skills and ways to relate to the stories and handiwork that they have learned about.

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Outdoor Education students from East Northumberland Secondary School intently carving beautiful soapstone loons

From soapstone carving to paddle making, to learning about the Great Lakes through Bill Mason's film Paddle to the Sea  (http://www.nfb.ca/film/paddle_to_the_sea) there are many great programs led by wonderfully caring educators. If you haven't been for a visit, no matter how old you are, I would highly recommend you do!

Thanks to Karen Taylor, Jenn, Beth, Jeremy, Carolyn, and all of the staff and volunteers at the Canoe Museum for teaching me new things and welcoming me so warmly during this practicum.