Fleming College students curate new museum exhibit
The Peterborough Museum and Archives takes a look at the history of footwear in their latest exhibit, If The Shoe Fits: Fashion, Function and Footwear. It opened April 14 and runs until June 24.
The exhibit takes a look at the role of footwear in everyday life and covers different areas where footwear was worn.
The project was also part of an eight-month assignment for students in the Museum Management and Curatorship program at Fleming College, in partnership with the PMA.
It was a chance for 29 students to gain valuable hands-on experience at curating an exhibit.
The students spent the first four months doing research, from selecting artifacts to factfinding about the local area and defining subject areas for the display.
Then students developed the look and feel of the exhibit, designing information panels and writing text for each area.
“The last four months have been extremely busy,” said student Sharifa Riley.
If The Shoe Fits contains 32 items from work boots to Victorian shoes and more.
“All of the artefacts are from the museum’s collection and represents a tiny fraction of what we have,” said student Shoshana Watson.
The oldest piece of footwear is from the mid 1800s, while the newest is a pair of size 15 red heels worn during the Walk A Mile In Her Shoes fundraiser for the YWCA.
The students also built in interactive elements, like scavenger hunts, colouring pages and more.
“Each of the groups has something interactive,” said Watson.
The students partnered with local museums.
Hutchison House lent a photo, while the Art Gallery of Peterborough suggested the scavenger hunt. They also spoke with a local cobbler as part of research.
Students are grateful for support they received from both the museum and their instructors.
"It’s been so amazing. Everyone has been so accommodating and teach us what we need,” said Watson.
“With the museum and our professors, it’s been an amazing program,” agreed Riley.
As time in the program draws to a close, both Riley and Watson look forward to starting their careers.
Riley came to the program with an undergrad degree in classical history and chose the program for several reasons.
"The program has good reviews and more employers recognize it. I’m able to get hands-on experience here," said Riley.
The best part of the program has been during installation of the exhibit in the main gallery.
“It’s great seeing it come together,” she said.
Watson studied archaeology at Trent and took the course in place of a third year at Trent.
"I like teaching about history," said Watson.
For Watson, the end result is gratifying.
“Watching everything get pulled together, it’s really exciting," said Watson.
The students are having an open house for family and friends slated for April 26 from 2 to 4 p..m.
You can view the exhibit weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; weekends, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is located at 300 Hunter St. E.