AAO 2014: Treaty 9 Travels to Northern Ontario

This is the final post summarizing my experience at the AAO 2014 conference. The first post, “AAO 2014: Context and Commemoration” can be seen here

 Closing Plenary
The closing plenary of AAO 2014 was titled “Archives Roadshow: The Journey of the James Bay Treaty to Northern Ontario” and featured talks by Paul Mcllroy, Shannon Coles, and Lani Wilson all of the Archives of Ontario.

Their combined presentations focused on the history of the James Bay Treaty (also known as Treaty 9), the impact of the treaty of past and current events, and the challenges associated with preparing the treaty to be loaned to the Moose Factory community.  Almost 108 years after the Treaty was signed in the Moose Factory area the historical document was exhibited returned to the Mushkegowuk territory for display.  The treaty was on display as part of the Treaty 9 Conference hosted by Mushkegowuk Tribal Council from July 31st to August 1st 2013.

Mcllroy opened the plenary by discussing the unique nature of Treaty 9 and the signing tour that was undertaken to gather community signatures on the document.  Treaty 9 is the only numbered treaty that has a province as a signatory and the Ontario government has been closely tied to the administration of the treaty. A detailed history of Treaty 9 compiled by the Archives of Ontario can be found here.

Cole’s portion of the presentation provided an in-depth look at the conservation efforts required to prepare Treaty 9 for travel from Toronto to Moose Factory.  She did an excellent job of breaking down the conversation concerns around the document and explaining why particular conservation treatments were used. It was interesting to see what specific challenges the parchment document presented and how specially designed cases were built for the project.

The presentation concluded with Lani Wilson discussing her experience coordinating the trip to Moose Factory and traveling with the document to the remote community.  She explained the challenges in arranging air travel to a remote community and adapting crates to weight restrictions on the small planes.  Wilson also described the desire of the host communities to have as many people as possible see the treaty while it was in Moose Factory and the emotional impact it had on the community.  Some of the descendents of the original signatories to the treaty were in attendance and participated in the event.

This was a great concluding plenary that focused on an important historical document and work being done to make it accessible to the communities it has historically and presently impacts. 

Books and Built Heritage: Trinity College Dublin

Long Room at Trinity College Dublin

I recently spent two weeks in Ireland.  This trip included a number of visits to museums, historical sites, and natural heritage places.  This post is the first of many recounting my experiences at these heritage spaces.  

One of the things I had been looking forward to prior to my trip to Ireland was visiting Trinity College Dublin and the Book of Kells exhibit there.  The Trinity College campus is beautiful and many of the residences and classroom buildings are great examples of the preservation of built heritage in Dublin.  For example, the Old Library building which houses the Book of Kells exhibit was constructed in the 1800s and much of the interior and exterior remains true to the original construction.

The actual exhibit which leads up to the Book of Kells is fairly interesting.  It focuses broadly on the book making process, scribes, material usage and providing context to the 9th century origins of the Book of Kells.  Though this information was interesting the layout of the “Turning Light into Darkness” exhibit was confusing and didn’t allow for great traffic flow.  Considering the popularity of the Book of Kells I was surprised by how small of an exhibit space is devoted to contextualizing the book.

Following the opportunity to look at a page from the Book of Kells, the Book of Armagh, and the Book of Durrow (or similar texts depending on the days rotation) visitors can do up to the Long Room.  I enjoyed this part of the visit much more than the actual Book of Kells exhibit.  The Long Room is a beautiful old library that houses special collection manuscripts.  The Long Room also includes a number of display cases featuring examples from the Trinity College archival collection. 

During the time of my visit the Long Room also included the temporary exhibit, “Preservation & Conservation: What’s That?”  The the public historian and archivist in me loved the fact that these educational panels which explained essential components of the field were on display.  The exhibit explained historical photograph treatments, book bindings, the difference between preservation and conservation, and what type of education you need to enter this field. 

Overall, I enjoyed the visit to Trinity College but the Book of Kells exhibit and display was probably my least favourite part of the experience.  The Long Room and the campus grounds were far less crowded and much more enjoyable.