Nine years ago – in response to an urgent need to provide proper and specialized facilities to protect and access Ontario’s archaeological heritage – the federal and provincial governments along with Western University invested in an 8,000-square foot research and artifact repository, housed at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology (MOA), with the capacity to care for millions of artifacts, advance new research, and adopt an innovative model of co-managing the heritage between Descendant communities and research practitioners.
Last week, the official transfer of the facility from Western to the care and operations of MOA was officially ratified by Western’s Board of Governors – a decision welcomed by MOA leadership. This transfer will seamlessly integrate public outreach, research and collection curation operations.
MOA serves Western researchers and students as an innovative research and education space, while providing access to the collections through exhibits and programming, including innovative exhibits such as the Virtual Reality longhouse, a prime example of research undertaken at Western and interpreted through MOA as a result of the close and longstanding partnership that exists between these two institutions.
“The Museum of Ontario Archaeology has the capacity to serve London, and the rest of the province, in conserving this region’s heritage while providing a space to tell the stories of its human occupation since time immemorial,” says MOA Executive Director Rhonda Bathurst.
“The vision Western and the Museum have long held for establishing a state of the art research facility and advancing a transformative approach to how Ontario’s archaeological heritage is cared for and accessed has been key to the success of this facility, and will continue to inform the Museum’s role in shaping the future directions of archaeological practice in Ontario and Canada,” says Ferris.
This landmark transfer agreement will be celebrated at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology on Friday, December 14. Official remarks are scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. in the main gallery. Guests expected to attend, include:
• Peter Fragiskatos, MP London North Centre
• Terence Kernaghan, MPP London North Centre
• Andrew Hrymak, Provost, Western University
• Ron Williamson, Board President, MOA
• Andrew Nelson, Board Vice-President, MOA and Anthropology Professor, Western University
• Neal Ferris, Lawson Chair of Canadian Archaeology, MOA and Western University
• Rhonda Bathurst, Executive Director, MOA
Media are invited to attend the proceedings.
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