As we welcome the first full week of April with a spring in our step, we also celebrate Archives Awareness Week! Once again this year, we begin our celebrations by introducing you to some of the amazing people, and their collections, that make up DRAAG!
This year we begin with Sonya Jones, Associate Curator / Curator of the Thomas Bouckley Collection at The RMG. The RMG is a vibrant public art museum located in downtown Oshawa focusing on modern and contemporary Canadian art.
What do you do at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery?
I am the Associate Curator/Curator of the Thomas Bouckley Collection at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery. Some of my duties include: curating contemporary art and historical photography exhibitions, collections management for all of our collections, managing and administrating our three collection databases, managing copyright and reproduction, facilitating art loans, and creating and implementing public programming activities.
Why did you choose this career?
I have a passion for art and history, and love visual culture.
What is your favourite part of your job?
I love connecting the community with its history and finding ways to interpret art or history in engaging and accessible ways.
What do you find to be the most challenging part of your job?
Copyright has always been challenging. Not only is it complicated at times, but you have to stay on top of what the laws currently are.
How did you get into the field?
I studied Art History at Carleton University. While a student there, I worked part time at the Carleton University Art Gallery. This job opened many doors for me—whether inspiring me to pursue a career in an art gallery or giving me wonderful networking opportunities.
What is your favourite memory of the Gallery?
I would say working with the Oshawa Senior Citizen’s Camera Club on a Then and Now series documenting Oshawa’s evolution. The seniors are such a pleasure to work with, and they have such an enthusiasm for The Thomas Bouckley Collection and Oshawa’s history.
Do you have a favourite artifact/ collection?
My favourite subject in the Thomas Bouckley Collection is the circus images. I started at the gallery in 2008, and spent my first year getting to know the collection, Oshawa’s history and the role of the collection and gallery to the community. While exploring the breadth of the collection, I discovered a selection of unprinted negatives of circus images, including written notes about the negatives. These images inspired an exhibition on the subject and were fascinating and charming. It felt wonderful to bring these previously unseen images of Oshawa’s past to light.
To learn more about The RMG, in particular their amazing Thomas Bouckley collection of historic photographs, visit their website at The RMG.