My name is Angelo Gambatesa .I am a fourth year student at the University of Toronto Mississauga, set to graduate with an HBA, double major in History and English. From September 2018 to April 2019, I held an internship position at the Art Gallery of Ontario, which is one of the largest art galleries in North America. It houses a vast collection of artworks, spanning across historical pieces to those of a more contemporary nature. Its multi-floor gallery space provides a wide variety of circulating offerings to its patrons, including a focus on Canadian and Indigenous artworks, ubiquitous European art movements, and items of a more material nature, such as that of photography or site-specific installations.
My personal gravitation towards the idea of an internship at the AGO has its roots in many places. First and foremost, is my general inclination towards creative endeavors and my general affinity for the arts. Beyond that general affinity comes the fact of my familiarity with material culture and art history, as I was an OCAD student once upon a time before transferring over to the University of Toronto. Furthermore, my future career as a prospective secondary school teacher, mixed with both my future in graduate studies in education and my background in English and History lead me to believe that bringing my current skillset to a place such as the AGO would be a beneficial match for an internship. I was very fortunate to be able to secure an internship position at the AGO, in the Education Department (Public Programming & Learning) to boot, under the supervision of Paola Poletto.
Over the span of my time spent as an intern, the conception of my cumulative final research project took many forms. I began my time at the AGO trying to get a feel for what the Public Programming & Learning department did for the institution; my first few days as an intern were comprised primarily of sitting in on workshops and meetings, as well as shadowing school tour guides (known as education officers at the AGO), to familiarize myself with how the department contributed to the gallery at large. Once that was completed, I began doing gallery inventory for the various school tour syllabi that the AGO has to offer. This was done in the way of verifying the locations of various artworks throughout the gallery, suggesting supplemental artworks of relevance to enhance pre-existing tours, as well as by updating a map of the gallery in accordance with where various artworks had moved to over time.
My ultimate contribution to the gallery came in the way of an Action Plan Proposal for School & Family Programs, headed by Paola, to consider as the AGO moves forward with arts-based educational programming in 2019. To complete this, I performed research predominantly in the form of a cross-institutional environmental scan of other art institutions of a similar stature to the AGO. Through an analysis of observable trends from the scan in conjunction with contemporary reports and statistics pertinent to arts-based education, the Proposal report comprised ultimately of 4 particular concerns which, through the scope of the undertaken research, emphasized themselves to be of particular importance in 2019. What resulted was a series of tactical recommendations, informed by the undertaken research, by which Paola may utilize as frameworks for potential areas of growth as she moves forward with spearheading Family & School programming at the AGO. The document was supplemented by an appendix, spanning about 50 pages, which canvassed notable efforts from institutions that were a part of the environmental scan, and featured such material as outstanding educational resources, costs by various organizations, and other additional information such as that pertaining to needs regarding accessibility, for example. The Plan Proposal was a concise document, featuring information that was to the point, as opposed to more structural information such as statistics and the like, offering in its finality the potential for more well-informed action, further research and forward motion within the Public Programming and Learning department.
My name is Hammad Junejo and over the course of the 2018-2019 academic year I interned at the Royal Canadian Military Institute. The RCMI is a private club and museum, situated in downtown Toronto, that specializes in the history of warfare and the Canadian military. It houses a treasure trove of historical artifacts that include firearms, swords, knives, uniforms and various other such paraphernalia. Most notably it houses Manfred von Richthofen’s plane seat, in which he was shot down. More commonly known as the Red Baron, Richthofen was a German ace pilot who dominated the skies above Europe during the First World War. My placement at the RCMI was a perfect match due to my interest in military history and in the First and Second World Wars. My learning was fueled by two very supportive, encouraging and knowledgeable supervisors – the curators; Ryan Goldsworthy and Gregory Loughton.
During the course of my internship at the RCMI, I was able to learn about and handle most of the artifacts they house. While I was there, I did not have one specific task or project. Instead I was tasked with multiple and varying kinds of projects that can be divided into two categories. The first category involves the research I conducted for Mr. Goldsworthy that contributed to various exhibitions at the museum. The second involves the work I conducted on site at the museum with Mr. Loughton, which included cataloguing, photography, aiding in the hosting of events and the storing, handling and maintenance of artifacts.
To start with, I conducted four research projects for my supervisor over the course of the year. All of them contributed in some way to upcoming exhibits and events. The first involved reading and mining Will Bird’s memoirs for suitable, effective and memorable quotes. Bird was a veteran of the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War and his memoirs detail his experiences during the war. The second project was a follow-up of the first and I was tasked with reading Bird’s second set of memoirs where he re-visited the sites of historic World War I battles. These two projects granted me a deep understanding of not only the details of significant battles of the war, especially during the Hundred Days Offensive, but also of the devastation and aftermath. They are haunting in their portrayal of war and stunningly depict how soldiers faced the horrors of war.
My next research project involved an in-depth analysis of the Canadian recipients of the Military Cross, one of the British Commonwealth’s highest military honours, during the First World War. Each soldier had a citation to describe his actions and why he had won the medal. My task was to study those soldiers who had won the Military Cross at least twice and to study their citations closely to attempt to analyze who might have won their medals at the Battle of Vimy Ridge and then to list them down. This work was rather speculative due to the ambiguous nature of the citations and my findings could not be confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt. However, this reaffirms the general understanding that historical research can often conclude with no definitive results.
My final research project involved a study of the British Royal Naval Air Service and the Royal Flying Corp and their amalgamation into the Royal Air Force after the end of the First World War. My job was to study the events that led up to the formation of the RAF and to draft an explanatory paper on the causes of the amalgamation of the two air forces. All the research I had conducted coincided with the RCMI’s focus on the First World War since 2018 marked the centenary of the end of the war.
The next series of projects I conducted were on-site at the RCMI and involved cataloguing, sorting, storing, maintaining, and photographing artifacts, as well as aiding in the setting up of new exhibits. I was also part of two events that were held at the RCMI. In November 2018, the Symposium took place. It was an event that featured many of Canada’s most authoritative military historians and authors. I aided in the hosting of the event by helping guests handle artifacts. The second event took place in March 2019 and was the annual auction where excess artifacts are auctioned off to members of the institute. I was tasked with assisting the curator in various capacities. The auction had been my foremost project during my time at the museum. Since September, I had been photographing, sorting, cleaning and storing the artifacts that would go up for auction, with the help of the curator. I also helped design the auction catalogue that was sent to members of the institute in advance of the event.
Conclusively, I took part in various research projects and aided in cataloguing, photographing, storing and cleaning artifacts, as well as assisting in the setting up of new exhibits and hosting two major events. I learned a great deal in my interactions with the curators who supervised me and both of whom were very supportive and inclusive in creating an informal, friendly and intellectually stimulating environment. I found new ways of looking at military history and most importantly at studying Canada’s role in world history. The events I attended and the research I conducted highlighted Canada’s role in the First World War and stoked my interest to learn more. I gained insights into the complexities of researching as well as the realities and difficulties of running a museum. Most importantly, my time at the RCMI not only solidified but also further stoked my intent to go on to teach military history.
My name is Jacob Skilich, and I am a history student at the University of Toronto. What I aim to present in this short piece is my general experience as a transcriber at the Multicultural History Society of Ontario (MHSO). The MHSO is a public archive established in Toronto in 1976. It has grown into an archive filled with vast information regarding ethnic communities of Ontario, and today, continues its work in North Toronto at the Columbus Centre. This is where I conducted my internship from September 2018 to March 2019.
Familiarizing what a transcriber is, and how it relates to the wider field of history, it is easiest to say that transcribing is simply the process of copying, at least, at its fundamental conception. My work with the MHSO was an experience of transcribing audio files of interviews conducted for immigrants to Canada in the 1970s and 1980s. Going into the internship in September of 2018, and knowing I had to complete 150 hours by March of 2019, I was unsure on what to expect from a task that seemed at face value, rather rudimentary. Quickly, I learned that it was a much more complicated task and one that was also part of a much larger picture in the public historical field.
Throughout the internship I would complete the typing of hundreds of thousands of words, over ten interview audio files, and learn the importance of updating information into the modern technological age. From the content of the interviews, to the way thousands of files, pictures, newspapers and other more general elements to a public archive are categorized, the sensitivities and implications of the information are what made this task appear to be more complex. A public archive is a wealth of historical information that can be used to inform policy, supply knowledge to wider education, and create a far spanning network from which information can be extracted and utilized on multiple formats. In my transcribing work, I learned of Portuguese, Italian and German migration patterns, different ways people came to settle in Canada, and histories of individuals who share in the Canadian multicultural project. How this information can be used depends on the way it is gathered by researchers, as well as the purpose it can serve with regards to specific sub topics in history.
The transcribing process as one that is part of the specific oral history practice is more complicated than typing words heard from an interview. This became clearer to me especially by the end of my hours in late February. Keeping in mind the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan, and the concept of “the medium is the message,” my biggest realization about the importance of the transcribing process was not just what was going to be updated into the MHSO’s digital archive, but how it was going to be viewed. Concerns of accessibility, and the importance of indicating things as small as laughter in the interview, indicate that the provision of information from public history is meant to be a highly interactive and attractive medium by which scholars and students alike can conduct research in a timely, and efficient manner. Ensuring the accessibility and quality of the transcriptions, such as how it is formed via a template containing important information relative to the narrator, is another significant aspect of archival study to a researcher looking to devise an important work related to Canadian history, and/or other particular Canadian social dialogues.
My time with the MHSO was a satisfying period in which despite the tediousness of the transcription process, I gained large amounts of new knowledge on information systems, categorization, social implications, and so on. Learning how to transcribe is a constant process in itself and mistakes can be easily made. Luckily, another part of the system is having editors review the work and clear it for the publishing of the transcription to a digital archive. Along the way, not only did I meet other students and historical specialists in the field, but I came to acknowledge the fundamental importance to communication and information in that the work required to manage things important to our history as a larger Canadian community is never finished, and essentially, ever present even if not always in the limelight of contemporary topics.
How the information from transcribing, conducting interviews, and managing pictures is kept manageable and organized ultimately effects the variety and quality of the social narratives that constantly evolve in the field of history. I am happy that when my transcriptions for the MHSO’s digital archive finally go live online, I can say I participated in this important historical endeavour. To learn more about the MHSO, visit their website at:
My name is Shawna Quigley and during the school year of 2018-2019, I completed an internship at the Royal Ontario Museum under my supervisor, Jacques Lavoie. The Royal Ontario Museum is Canada’s largest museum and houses over six million items in forty different galleries. I interned with the Education Department which handles programs for youth and has its own set of collections to be maintained. My role took many forms over the course of my internship though my primary duties consisted of: aiding my supervisor with his work, creating and updating storage spaces, making and updating catalogues both digitally and physically, and researching to create information sheets. The main collections I worked on were: Genocide and “Crimes Against Humanity”, “Medieval Europe”, “Ancient Egypt”, and the Canadian collection.
The collection I spent the most time with was “Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity”. This collection was particularly exciting because prior to my internship it had no defined storage space, physical catalogue, or completed digital catalogue. Creating a storage space involved: cutting foam inserts to place inside the storage cabinet trays, labeling, and taking pictures of each object. Additionally, I made research information sheets for a few of the objects to be used as a quick learning guide for museum educators. These research sheets included: a brief historical background, pictures or propaganda, why the object is important, it’s uses, and, if relevant, how the object is used or has evolved today. All my research had to be citable with reputable sources. Researching for these purposes was foreign to me so having to make these information sheets improved my research efficiency and ability to make information concise and palatable.
While many catalogue entries had already been made digitally, I made several more to complete the catalogue with the most recently acquired objects. Making a catalogue entry required factual information like measurements, physical descriptions, pictures, a historical background, both geographical and temporal, and locative information for the item’s storage. When I finished the digital catalog I printed and bound them according to themes laid out by my supervisor.
In preparation for teaching this collection, the Education Department held a two-day workshop for museum educators on teaching genocide which I was able to attend. I experienced a lot of the necessary “process” work which arises from introducing and teaching a new collection like how to deal with emotional responses and strategies for analyzing primary sources. This workshop taught me not only what background work museum educators must do before they teach, but also the importance of the presentation of history and the inherent biases and viewpoints gallery organizers have to work around.
The other collections I worked on were already established and needed updating. While the tasks were the same as what I did for the previous collection, the older collections required more time double checking records, matching accession numbers, and problem-solving issues like: how to maximize space in a storage tray without having to redo the layout to accompany new objects, or how to properly protect a delicate object in storage while keeping the measurements small enough to fit in its tray?
When I wasn’t working individually on a collection, I would often help my supervisor with his work which predominantly involved properly setting up and putting away lab materials. I was sometimes tasked with odd jobs like imputing costs into excel to calculate finances or organizing files.
While I did not have one large or public project to work on, I still feel a sense of satisfaction knowing that although my work will never be publicly displayed, it is vital to museum educators. The amount of filing, organizing, fact-checking, and detail-oriented tasks I was given, improved my independent working skills, as well as my proficiency in programs like Microsoft Excel which I had never used before my internship. Working in such a large and diverse museum has given me the opportunity to interact and work with a variety of different people which has given me more confidence in a larger work environment despite the majority of my work being independent. Overall, I had a positive experience at the ROM and have a new appreciation for the “behind the scenes” work that goes into maintaining collections and teaching them at a museum.
Hi, my name is Cansu Aydemir. During the 2018-2019 academic year, I have worked for the University of Toronto News (commonly known as U of T News) as a student reporter. U of T News is a subdivision of school’s communication department and it is the official news network of the school. As a part of the news team, I was assigned to write a series about international students.
Throughout my internship, I have interviewed with 33 international students from five different countries- the United States, Turkey, Mexico, India and the United Kingdom. I asked the students about their experiences here at U of T (and Canada), the reasons brought them here and their future plans. Out of these interviews, I have written six stories and four of them have already been published. I have just finished the last two stories and they are ready to be published in the coming weeks.
'Bring the best out of you': Students from India on why they chose to study at U of T: https://www.utoronto.ca/news/bring-best-out-you-students-india-why-they-chose-study-u-t
'You will be one step ahead': Students from Turkey on why they chose U of T: https://www.utoronto.ca/news/you-will-be-one-step-ahead-students-turkey-why-they-chose-study-u-t
'An environment I wanted to be a part of': U of T's American students on why they headed north: https://www.utoronto.ca/news/environment-i-wanted-be-part-u-t-s-american-students-why-they-headed-north
Meet five impressive graduating students who got the most of their U of T experience: https://www.utoronto.ca/news/meet-five-impressive-graduating-students-who-got-most-their-u-t-experience
Hello, my name is Matthew Halsall. I was an internship student at in the HIS498 course in the 2018-2019 school year. For my internship I worked at the Ekstein Library at the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre in North York.
The Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre was opened in September of 1985 and is located at 4600 Bathurst St, North York. The organization’s mission is to generate knowledge and understanding about the Holocaust and serves as an opportunity for discourse about civil society for the current and future generations. The center reaches 20,000 students through visits to the museum and an additional 30 000 people are touched by the renowned Holocaust Education Week where programs are run throughout Toronto. These included film screenings, book panels, speaking engagements and educational workshops. This past year’s theme was Illuminating the Shadows: Untold Stories of the Holocaust where stories like those of Yitzhak Rudashevski were spotlighted from November 3rd to November 10th. The education center has Holocaust education events throughout November. The education center also has events for International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27th, Yom Hashoah (May 1st) and Raoul Wallenberg Day (January 17th).
Beyond Neuberger Holocaust education, the facility is also home to the Blankenstein Family Heritage Centre which acquires, preserves and makes available documentary sources related to Ontario's Jewish community. This aspect of the center provides knowledge about Canadian Jewish life within Ontario’s Jewish community and contains hundreds of archival resources about Ontario Jewish life. They also run programs such as walking tours and speaking engagements.
Both of these organizations are entities of the United Jewish Appeal (UJA) Federation of Greater Toronto and receive funding from the UJA. Other funding comes from government grants, individuals and private organizations.
At my internship placement, I worked at worked in the Frank and Anita Ekstein Library which is part of the Neuberger Holocaust Education Center. The supervisor for my internship was Anna Skorupsky who is the head librarian at the Library. The library consists of nearly 9000 educational materials including books, films and testimonies in both oral and written form. In addition the library contains over 400 digital testimonies from survivors.
At the library, I worked on the “In Their Own Words” project in which three to five minute excerpts were constructed from Holocaust Survivor Testimonials that could be nearly three hours long. These excerpts are then placed on a microsite that is available to the Canadian public. The project is dedicated to making Holocaust survivor testimonies from the Canadian Collection accessible to the public. It is currently being spearheaded by the Neuberger and the Montreal Holocaust Museums. Most of the testimonies that I viewed took place between 1988 and 1993. At the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Center in Toronto, the process of creating the microsite began under Dr. Carson Phillips who oversaw all the excerpt outlines that I produced.
In order for the excerpts to appear professional on the microsite, the Neuberger Education Center outsourced the cutting of the testimonies to another company. As a result, I never submitted the final product to Anna or Carson. My job consisted of two primary functions.
First, I would identify a unique story from a survivor’s testimony. These could range from concentration camp experiences, to how the survivor hid from the Nazis, to one’s experiences after the war and journey to Canada. Part of the first stage in constructing my excerpts was selecting a testimony. There were over 400 to choose from, so I could be selective. Usually, I would select a testimony by reading a transcript of the survivor’s interview first. After this, I would mark down time codes for where the excerpt should exist. Sometimes, the excerpt included multiple clips.
The second stage involved me providing background information regarding the survivor’s experiences. This background information was written below the survivor excerpt. This would involve a plethora of resources. I would have to check the geographic and historical accuracy of the testimony and would refer to some books within the Ekstein Library. I would also rely on the survivor’s transcript. The background information was meant to motivate the reader to watch the excerpt, so it often focused on the excerpt content. At the end of each excerpt, I would include a quote from the excerpt that would draw the attention of the reader and motivate him or her to watch the excerpt.
My excerpts will be on the microsite on June or July of this year. Attached below is a link to the summaries and time codes for the eleven excerpts that I created. In addition there is a sample of the finalized product currently on the website.
A finalized example currently on the Microsite:
For more information about the Neuberger Holocaust Education Center visit this link.