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Taking a New (Virtual) Path

Choose Local! Guest Blog written by Karis Regamey, Marketing Consultant for Lang Pioneer Village Museum

These uncertain times have forced many of us to stop, change direction and start off again on an entirely new path from where we thought we were heading. Vacation plans were cancelled, holidays and weddings were limited to family units or small groups of close contacts, even funerals were limited in number and became virtual affairs. With increased regulations, it is not surprising that education also had to change course. In the last year, parents have become educators, educators have become virtual teachers and school buildings have been temporarily closed. At Lang Pioneer Village Museum, our Christmas and spring school programs have always been a popular choice for educators and homeschoolers looking to break out of their traditional learning environment for a day of educational fun. However, with such instability, we knew that traditional field trips were not on the horizon so we needed to bring Lang’s 19th-century experience into a 21st century-format. 

During the summer and fall of 2020, we went to filming. We created four new virtual educational program experiences that would allow classrooms and families to bring elements of our traditional and well-loved education programs into the safety of their own learning environment – whatever that looks like! We chose six popular settler and First Nations crafts and recipes and filmed how-to videos. These Cooks & Crafts program videos, featuring activities such as moccasin making, placemat weaving and bannock bread, are complimentary videos available on the Museum’s website and YouTube channel for those looking to learn a new skill or have some fun trying. 

We also went to filming a virtual tour of the Village. Viewers can tour some of the homes and businesses located within the historic Village and learn about the changes in daily living through time for the First Nations and settlers, and discover the history of the schoolhouse. This Settler’s Experience tour is packaged with a variety of follow up activities to enhance learning.

When the filming project went beyond our capabilities (let’s face it, top of the line technology isn’t really synonymous with a living history museum but we’re quickly getting up to speed), we went to the experts at Impact Communications. The Impact Communications team brought to life the story of Nogojiwanong, now known at Peterborough County with Aabamnigaan: Looking Ahead. This storied tour of the Village explores the local events that have helped shape the interpretation at Lang Pioneer Village Museum. In addition to the settler story, the Aabamnigaan script incorporates the critical First Nations perspective, which was developed in collaboration with our friends at Curve Lake First Nation and Hiawatha First Nation. This project was only made possible with support from the County of Peterborough, Kawarthas Northumberland, Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism and the Government of Ontario and allows us to showcase a portion of our beautiful 40-acre site with the world. 

While students and visitors are unable to come to the Village, we can go to them – virtually that is! Our new live Virtual Q & A provides purchasers with the opportunity to spend 30-minutes engaging virtually with Hailey, our Museum Educator and receive a live private tour of one of our historic buildings and its artifacts. Those interested can choose from one of five possible buildings (South Lake School House, Menie General Store, Fife Cabin, S.W. Lowry Weaver Shop or Register Print Shop) as the location for their live Q & A and can ask all the questions they want! Meet Hailey and discover some fun facts about our Virtual Q & A buildings by checking out our social media feeds.

COVID has caused us to stop and turn but we have started off in a new direction. If you want to join us on our trek and bring local First Nations and settler history to life from the safety of your own environment, check out our new Virtual Education Programs on our website at https://langpioneervillage.ca/virtual-programs. Unlike our field trips, you don’t have to be a student or chaperone to participate in these virtual educational experiences!

BY: KARIS REGAMEY, MARKETING CONSULTANT FOR LANG PIONEER VILLAGE MUSEUM

Lang Pioneer Village Museum was established by the County of Peterborough in 1967 to celebrate and preserve the rural history of the area. Each year, tens of thousands of visitors from around the world take a trip back in time to discover how the pioneers lived. Nestled along the banks of the historic Indian River, Lang Pioneer Village Museum features over twenty-five restored and furnished buildings constructed between 1825 and 1899.