Eight months ago, staff and volunteers moved the operation of Fanshawe Pioneer Village into the new Spriet Family Visitor Centre. Our first season with this new building is rapidly coming to a close and what a difference it has made!

Jeff Wilmore

It happens to me all the time. People come up to me, often complete strangers, with bated breath and looks of concerned anticipation, asking if I would please, please tell them about my latest capital projects. My reaction is often muted, being a humble servant of local history; I lower my head and scuff the ground with my boot and say aw-shucks it’s not much, just a few little goings-on, nothing that would be of any real interest to anyone. But how they press me, seems they can’t get enough, they are feverish for even the smallest scrap. So, to keep the public calm and appease the roaring demand, I offer this tale of two projects; the Caverhill Woodworking Shop and our Print Shop.

The Woodworking Shop project is now nearing completion. The building was moved to its new location in the spring and now carpentry improvements are underway. A new deck with access ramping and stairs to the side door are now in place. Some minor structural repairs have been made and siding has been replaced as necessary. Under the building, ties will fasten the structure to the foundation and because it is unheated, vapour barriers will keep moisture from wicking up. At the north side of the building a large concrete pad is now installed. This will serve as a clean and solid base for power we...

Shanna Dunlop, Curator

The curatorial team is in full swing moving the permanent collection to our new purpose built storage area. This storage has been specifically designed to house Fanshawe Pioneer Village’s diverse collection of material culture – ranging from archives (paper documents, photographs and books), to ceramics, and from delicate textiles (bed coverings, clothing, and hangings) to robust agricultural and trades implements and equipment. The diversity of objects in our collection is one of the most exciting aspects for me as a Curator, as it permits the creation of varied and unique exhibits and programming, however, it also serves as one of my greatest challenges in terms of proper storage and conservation.

Consider the assortment of sizes in our collection – from a tiny piece of type or a hatpin, to a large plough weighing several hundred pounds. Then, there is the great variety of materials to take account of – wood, glass, china, ceramic, metals, stone, bone, horn, fur, plastics, fibres, paper….the list goes on! Each type of organic or inorganic material requires a particular environment to remain stable, and maintaining this balance is critical to the long-term preservation of artifacts – especially because this is our main function and priority as a public museum and a community steward.

Metal requires a less humid environment to prevent corrosion, while an extremely dry setting will cause wooden objects (and the adhesives...