As the semester is winding to a close, and final projects are consuming almost every waking moment, I thought this was the perfect time to take a step back and write about my work with the London Heritage Council.
It is hard to believe it has been already three months, time has flown by, but it has been a privilege being part of the Heritage Council. I have had the opportunity to be involved in numerous projects, starting with Doors Open in September, which I initially blogged about, and doing preliminary work for Heritage Fair coming up in February.
My main focus, however, has been helping to develop additional resources for the Museum School London program, which is coordinated by the London Heritage Council and facilitated at 10 different museum sites between London and Woodstock. As a teacher and museum educator, I was thrilled with this assignment.
Museum School has so far taken me to Eldon House, Fanshawe Pioneer Village, the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, the Museum of Ontario Archaeology, and the London Children’s Museum. Next week, I’m heading to observe another lucky group of students at Museum London.
I have been part of hundreds of school programs in my career between Waterloo Region Museum, Joseph Schneider Haus, Wellington County Museum, and the Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery. There are some that are so ingrained, I am sure I still do them in my sleep. A typical school program usually lasts for two hours or a full day, morning and afternoon. The school kids fly in and out of the museum so fast that I have always wondered how much they retain from the visit. With Museum School London, however, the students get a full week in the museum. The museum becomes their classroom.
From my observations this fall, this unique experience is incredibly enriching for the students. Instructors at the museum can take their time working with the students, who often journal about their daily experiences. Topics can be reflected on and returned to throughout the week, and the learning experience is hands-on and engaging. For many of these students, visiting a museum is something they may not otherwise be able to do. I have had teachers tell me that students who normally do not enjoy class seem to come alive in this program. I can’t wait to continue working with this program in the New Year!
The other work I am doing with the London Heritage Council is preparation for Heritage Fair. This year, Heritage Fair is celebrating the Junos coming to London in March by focusing on London’s musical heritage and stories.
During my preparatory work for Heritage Fair, I discovered something I think only another Katie would truly appreciate… the origins of the song, “K-K-K-Katy”. If you have the name Katie, you have probably heard this song or had an older relative in your family sing it to you. That is inevitable.
A man named Geoffrey O’Hara from Chatham Ontario wrote the song in 1917 and published it in 1918. He wrote hundreds of songs and patriotic hymns but K-K-K-Katy was his most popular, and it became a hit during the First World War era. His connection to London is that he originally trained to be a soldier with the local 1st Hussars Regiment. He had planned a military career but had to abandon this after the death of his father. The 1st Hussars Museum is located in downtown London at 1 Dundas Street. This will be one of many stories featured at Heritage Fair on February 16th, 2019, downtown at the Central Library.
|Original cover by Leo Feist for "K-K-K-Katy" in 1918, with the tagline "The Sensational Stammering Song Success Sung by the Soldiers and Sailors." https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/K-K-K-Katy|
My favourite version of the song is without a doubt the hilarious Mel Blanc adaptation from 1949 in the voice of stuttering Porky Pig. With all the stress of final projects, a laugh is necessary. The link is below, enjoy!: