The Museum of Ontario Archaeology is a priceless piece of London Ontario. This incredible museum brings to life the past 13,000 years of Southwestern Ontario and helps us to embrace and understand Ontario’s heritage. They make learning and interpreting fun and easy to understand and is well worth bringing the family or spending a date night exploring their exhibits or attending one of their incredible events.
The museum’s mission, “Devoted to the study, display, and interpretation of the human occupation of Southwestern Ontario”, drives everything from their events, their exhibits, and the way that they interact with the community.
If you’ve never checked out the Museum of Ontario Archaeology, take a look at everything this incredible place has to offer.
The Museum’s location is incredibly important and significant. It’s located directly next to the Lawson Site, which was occupied in the 16th century A.D. The Lawson Site was originally a 2-hectare village that the neutral Iroquians inhabited around 1500 CE and shows us life from more than 500 years ago.
Located in a quiet and residential area in the Whitehills neighbourhood. The museum’s address is 1600 Attawandaron Rd. London, Ontario, N6G 3M6.
The Museum of Archaeology started with the incredible collection of artifacts that Amos Jury and his son Wilfrid Jury had amassed. They had started collecting artifacts around the Lobo township and connected with farmers around the area and relieved them of any artifacts that they had found in the same area. They had put their impressive collection on display at the Western Fair and other events and found popularity with their display. They then started placing their displays in temporary exhibits.
In 1933 Ray Lawson, who owned the Lawson site, requested that space be made in the Lawson Memorial Library for the Museum of Indian Archaeology and Pioneer Life, and made the stipulation that it should be curated by the Jurys.
Finally, in 1973, the plans were made to make a home for the Wilfrid Jury Collection of Indian Artifacts next to the Lawson Site. The Executive Director wanted to have it as a university-based research centre, while also having a gallery and archaeological programs open to the public and still having the excavation site ongoing.
In 1978 the Museum’s name changed to The Museum of Indian Archaeology (London) and then in 1981, it opened its doors to the public. The museum went through a couple more name changes. In 1991 it was named the London Museum of Archaeology and then finally in 2005 it changed to its current name, the Museum of Ontario Archaeology.
In December of 2018, the Museum of Archaeology took over the Sustainable Collection Repository in its research wing.
If you’re looking for interesting and educational activities for kids in London, look no further than the Museum of Ontario Archaeology. These programs are designed to make learning fun and hands-on. Check out the programs that they offer.
Educational Programs For Teachers
Teachers can get their kids out of the classroom and learn in an incredibly hands-on way. Your kids can travel back in time as history becomes real and vivid as they go through the program and learn in a fun and active way.
Their programs include lesson plans as well as on-site field trips. There are plenty of topics for teachers to choose from for field trips to the Museum of Ontario Archaeology, including:
Maple Sugar – Maple sugar has been such an important piece of Ontario’s history. Students can learn about how early indigenous populations harvested and used it.
Longhouses – Learn about how they were built and the people who used them. Kids will participate in map building.
First Farmers – Learn about the importance of maize, beans, and squash to Canada’s First Peoples and our past. Understand and engage with early agriculture practices.
Archeology – Learn all about archaeological practices and how we learn from them. Through this learning, kids will learn how the past informs the future. Kids will get to learn about and participate in excavations.
Indigenous Peoples – Take an in-depth look and visit at the Lawson Iroquois Village and learn about life before European contact.
Historical Thinking – Discover six of the main historical thinking concepts brought to life. Learn about how bias, time, and perspectives impact how we see the past.
Birthday Parties For Kids
Want a completely unique birthday party experience for your kid? Want it also to be secretly educational? Kids’ birthday parties at MOA are so fun for them that they won’t even know that they’re actually learning. They offer both indoor and outdoor activities so you won’t have to worry about weather factors. The team at MOA is ready to take care of all the details. You just need to bring the kids!
The party package comes with invitations, a party room, and comes in three different themes: Ice Age Adventure, Dig It, and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. You can also add on themed loot bags and pizza.
Ice Age Adventure: Kids get to hunt for “fossils” that they then reassemble and will play pin the tusk on the Mastodon and Ice Bingo!
Dig It: Kids can pretend to be real-life archaeologists as they take part in a “dig” and then look through the artifacts to uncover mysteries of the past.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: Kids will get to follow clues and investigate a crime scene or a cold case to solve the crime!
Camp is a great place for kids to learn, make new friends, and of course, have fun! Camp at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology provides kids with games, activities and crafts that help them learn and understand more about history, archaeology and artifacts.
Their camps have weekly themes like Amazing Archaeology, Puzzle Extravaganza, Archaeology Science Lab, Artifact Adventure, Exploring the Ice Age, and Our Amazing Environment. Their summer program has both day-drop-in and week-long options so that no matter your budget and timeframes your child can participate in the fun.
Many kids are part of badge programs such as Brownies, Cubs, Guides, and Scouts. If you’re looking for ways for your troops to fulfill some of their badges, such as First Nations Heritage, Crafts, Agriculture, or more, then connect with the Museum of Ontario Archaeology.
They offer many workshops such as Pottery, Quill Writing, Bean Planting, Dioramas, Underwater Archaeology, Map Building, and so much more. Kids can handle real artifacts, take tours, and learn about Canada’s First Peoples.
Visiting the Museum of Ontario Archaeology is an incredibly affordable experience for families, couples, and individuals. Admission is $5.00 for adults and only $3.00 for kids (kids under 5 are free)Families can have a discount of $12.00 for the whole family. Students and Seniors also have a discount of $4.00.
The Museum of Ontario Archaeology is open to the public from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM. They’re open Tuesday to Sunday from September to April. From May to August, they’re open every day. The outdoor site is open all year, weather permitting.
While visiting the museum you can look through the exhibits that are currently on display and the park grounds. They also have a number of events held at the museum throughout the year. The events are designed to be educational, often hands-on, and a whole lot of fun. Through the events, you often learn about archaeology as well as the people that have shaped the history of this incredible country.
Some examples of events that the Museum has held in the past include a potter course, a moccasin making workshop, a maple harvest festival, a drum making and performing workshop, the annual harvest festival and pow wow, and family fun days. They also often hold events with speakers where you can hear from artists and watch live performances.
Their events sometimes sell out so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the events page on their Facebook.
The exhibits at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology are all well scrutinized by the team to ensure that each one demonstrates accurate information, relevance to the London community, effective communication of the information, and accessibility. The exhibits are meant to provide the public with educational experiences and keep the artifacts safe in their displays.
The exhibits are changed occasionally, so visits to the Museum of Ontario Archaeology can be fresh and exciting every time that you go! The exhibits are themed and are planned to meet the needs and the interests of the Museum’s varied audiences. The artifacts are displayed and interpreted in ways that best showcase Ontario’s incredible history.
Since the museum is always circulating and changing up the exhibits that they’re currently featuring, you can visit the museum year after year to learn more about Southwestern Ontario’s incredible past.
Here are some examples of past exhibits:
Earth & Fire: The Craft and Form Of Ontario Earthenware Pottery Traditions – Learn all about the materials used in creating, the processes involved, and the function of the pottery.
Designing Digital – This exhibit went through new methods being used to interpret clues of the past.
Farming Before Canada – Learn about what harvest season would have been like at the Lawson Site in the distant past. Agriculture was laborious work and it took an entire village to cooperate to get enough food to last through the winter.
War of 1812: The Chippewa Experience – Learn about life during the war from the experience of the Chippewa.
The museum has a few exhibits and galleries that are always ongoing. These permanent parts of the museum pay homage to the First Nations peoples in Ontario and showcase the heritage from 13,000 years ago up until current times.
Southwestern Ontario: 13,000 Years of History – This exhibit takes you through the Ice Age to European settlers in Ontario and breaks out time periods throughout. You’ll learn about how people lived both environmentally and socially.
Roots of a Nation – Through this exhibit, you’ll discover the traditional herbs and plants used by the First Nations culture from the past 1000 years. You’ll also learn about items from their daily lives such as clothing and baskets and tools.
Cabinets of Curiosity – Cabinets of Curiosities started popping up in the 16th century. People have been collecting things for as long as anyone knows, but these cabinets were a little different. They were private collections that were meant to understand the universe and were a way of displaying those understanding. Once these private collections were made public, they were actually the first startings of museums.
Oneida and Anishinaabe/Ojibwe Language Exhibit – While we’re used to noun-based language that labels things, the indigenous languages were verb-based and descriptive of people, places, and things. The languages featured in this exhibit are from the Iroquois family and the Algonquin family and are called Onʌyota’a·ká· and Anishinaabemowin.
Jury Legacies – Because of Wilfrid Jury, a passionate archaeologist, and his father Amos Jury, we have the Museum of Ontario Archaeology. The museum is full of its original collections and donations that helped shape our understanding of Ontario’s heritage. The Museum also has many of Wilfrid Jury’s scholarly articles, sketches, personal journals, and even some of his family photos.
The Lawson Archaeological Site – The Neutral Iroquois Village site that sits right next to the museum is over 500 years old and housed over 2000 people at one time. The site sits on a flat piece of land that overlooks Snake Creek and Medway River.
Public Lab – Because the Museum of Ontario Archaeology believes that archaeology is not just for archaeologists but for everyone (because it’s how we learn about our heritage and it helps us shape the future), the Public Lab is located in the museum’s main gallery and is available for all visitors to explore. It’s a workspace where volunteers and the museum’s curatorial staff work to archive and re-box projects. You’re welcomed to engage with the curatorial staff if you visit while they’re working there.
The Museum of Ontario Archaeology holds a number of valuable collections.
In terms of literary collections, the museum has three collections.
Library – The library is full of published resources about Ontario archaeology and is a wealth of information.
Collections Documentation – Part of the practice of archaeology is detailed documentation. This documentation includes site reports. The museum is full of these kinds of documents that were collected and organized based on their artifacts and archaeological findings.
Jury Family Legacies – The Jury family left behind personal artifacts, journals, sketches, and articles from the 1890s up to the 1960s. They gave these items to the museum.
The Museum of Ontario Archaeology’s artifacts are numerous and have helped to give a better understanding of this country’s rich and diverse past.
The Jury Collection – This was the very first and original collection that the museum started with.
Legacy Collection – These artifacts and archaeological materials have been discovered and curated through various origins.
Deposited Collections – These pieces were transferred into the care of the museum.
Excavated Collections – The museum has led a number of excavations and were able to recover many artifacts in the process.
Ethnographic Collections – These materials help to interpret the cultural significance and provide links from artifacts to cultures.