Showing posts with label The Rooms. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Rooms. Show all posts

Monday, June 1, 2020

Creativity During Covid-19 with Mireille Eagan, Curator of Contemporary Art at The Rooms in St. John's

Mireille Eagan, Curator of Contemporary Art at The Rooms in St. John's chats with folklorist Dale Jarvis of Heritage NL about her work telling stories in the gallery space, her life as a curator, and about how the pandemic shutdowns have affected The Rooms specifically, but also the wider impact it has had on how we think about galleries, art, and creativity.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Living Heritage Podcast Ep173 Collecting Covid with Maureen Peters (with video!)

Welcome to the  Covid-19 version of the Living Heritage Podcast! We've shifted the format a bit, and are recording on Zoom, which lets us bring you some video as well. We'll still be podcasting the audio on our station so if you want to listen to just the audio, head over there and download it. But since you are here, enjoy the video version!

In this episode, Maureen Peters, Curator of History at The Rooms, St. John's, NL, chats with Dale Jarvis of Heritage NL about documenting the Covid-19 Pandemic in Newfoundland and Labrador. They chat about what The Rooms is collecting in terms of material culture, why it is important to collect this material now, looking back at polio and smallpox in the province, Corona beer facemasks, and crocheting a model of the human intestines! 


Living Heritage is about people who are engaged in the heritage and culture sector, from museum
professionals and archivists, to tradition bearers and craftspeople - all those who keep history alive at the
community level. The show is a partnership between HeritageNL and CHMR Radio.
Theme music is Rythme Gitan by Latché Swing.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Heritage NL and The Rooms launch Covid-19 NL Oral History Project, and want your stories.

What have Covid-19 shutdowns meant for you personally? Have you been learning how to bake bread or sew? How are you staying in touch with family and friends? Local heritage organizations want to know!

Heritage NL, in partnership with The Rooms, is collecting personal stories for an oral history project about the experiences of living through a pandemic.  The “Covid-19 NL Oral History Project” invites Newfoundlanders and Labradorians living in the province or away to document their memories and thoughts about what is happening to them or in their communities during the current novel coronavirus situation. 

The project is designed to document how the virus is affecting the lives of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and to archive their collective memories. Interested volunteers can request to be interviewed over the phone or web, can self-record a voice memo or video, they can interview a family member, and submit their file by email, or complete an online questionnaire.

The collected material will become part of a permanent online archive for future generations of students and researchers and may be included in a future physical or online exhibit at The Rooms. 

“Recording oral histories is one way to better understand the Covid-19 pandemic and the effects it is having on the lives of ordinary people,” says Heritage NL folklorist Dale Jarvis. “To create a historical record of how everyday people are responding to this event, we have developed sample questions and easy ways for people to share their stories.”

While all personal stories of the pandemic are of interest, Jarvis is particularly curious about the informal stories of health care workers and those working on the front lines of the pandemic: nurses, emergency responders, home care workers, grocery clerks, and the like. 

The oral histories are part of a longer ongoing project that The Rooms curatorial staff is engaging with the community on to gather materials related to people's experiences of the pandemic. These materials may be integrated into an exhibition, collections, or social media at a later date. The Rooms is looking for materials that reflect the culturally specific ways that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are dealing with this global event.

If you have a memory or story to share or want more information on the project, contact either Dale Jarvis at or visit the project website at  To submit a physical object for consideration, email Maureen Peters, Curator of History at

Monday, May 13, 2019

Hobby Horses, Makerspaces, and Digital Literacies

Group displaying their completed horses.
Last week Dale and I led a hobby horse workshop as part of the SSHRC Conference on Makerspaces and Digital Literacies. The goal of the conference was to engage in scholarly discussion around how making is central the way that people practice literacies in their own lives. These can be both tangible and intangible objects and are very relatable to material cultures.
Pieces the horses together.
The aim of the conference was to consider how making and literacy can come together through the use of material culture to engage communities with concepts of citizenship. This conference also focused on how makerspaces can be developed in interesting and innovative ways through cultural institutions such as The Rooms and The Geo Centre.
Finishing touches.
As part of the conference Dr. Anne Burke asked Dale to give a presentation on intangible cultural heritage, and the work of the ICH office. We also led a very quick hobby horse workshop for the participants who came from different places around the world. Participants from the UK were familiar with hobby horses, and those from Finland recounted stories of a different breed of hobby horse which are ridden instead of worn. (If you want to learn more about the hobby horse revolution in Finland click here to watch a short video clip.)
Trimming up his chin.
For those who weren't familiar with hobby horses Dale gave an overview of the tradition and some of the mischief the horses were likely to get up to while mummering such as snapping clothes, stealing table clothes, turning off lights, and "eating" snacks. We split the group of fifteen into three smaller groups and led them through the process of creating and decorating a hobby horse from this template. The group had a lot of fun and were creative in the decorating process with one team adding braces to their hobby horse's teeth. If you want to learn more about hobby horses check out the Mummers Festival page, or keep your eye out come December and take in one of the hobby horse workshops offered by the festival.
Dentistry work.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Transformation and Talking Tigers: Tales from Afar at The Rooms

This Wednesday at The Rooms, join folklorist Dale Jarvis as he chats with storytellers Zoe Wu (Taiwan), Tanyan Ye (China) and Jae Hong Jin (Korea), about dangerous dried persimmons, fiendish tiger grandmothers, mysterious snail maidens, and the folklore and stories of their respective childhoods.

Tales From Afar: Old Stories from New Residents is a collection of world folktales, myths, and legends, collected by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in partnership with the St. John's Local Immigration Partnership.

Time: 7:00pm
Date: Wednesday, May 30
Where: The Rooms Theatre
Cost: Included with the cost of admission to The Rooms

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

St. John's Memories with Melanie Tucker

(01 02 004) Water Street, St. John's. View looking east with Ayre and Sons to the right.
Photo courtesy of Geography Collection of Historical Photographs of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Last week Dale and I presented at The Rooms' Research Workshop on Collecting Community History. In the morning there were presentations from The Rooms' staff on how to use their collections for researching community history. The participants also got a tour of the archives.
Dale Jarvis interviewing Melanie Tucker.
In the afternoon session Dale gave an overview of how to do an oral history project including planning in advance, focusing the project, and support and funding that is available. He also did a mock interview, and explained the process of memory mapping or the People, Places, and Culture workshops we run at the Heritage Foundation. I also gave a brief presentation on what to do with the material once you have completed the oral interviews and how to present the material back to the community. If you want more information on how to complete oral history projects please visit our Oral History Project Guide.
Participants of The Rooms' Research Workshop on Collecting Community History.
Melanie Tucker, an archivist with The Rooms, was interviewed by Dale about her memories of growing up in St. John's, going to school, working with the Provincial Archives, and in particular her memories of Water Street, St. John's. If you want to hear more about buying seal flippers, riding the bus, Woolworth's Department Store and the taste of their donuts, buying shoes at the Arcade, or the sights and sounds of the Mount Cashel Christmas raffle listen to the short interview below!

After the mock interview Dale explained the benefits of having community members think about and map out the important people, places, and traditions found in the community. He explained how you can print large community maps at the Provincial Government's Land Management Division Office. Dale brought a large map of St. John's and gave each of the workshop participants a couple of recipe/index cards to fill out with memories. Once everyone had a chance to fill out a memory they were placed on the map. The participants glued their cards to their map and taped a ribbon to the corresponding building in which the memories took place.. If you want to start an oral history project or run a people, place, and culture workshop give us a call at 739-1892 ex. 5 or email
If you want to know more about People, Places, and Culture Workshops click here!
A recipe card with  Water Street memory.
Recipe card with Water Street memory.
~Terra Barrett

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

“King of All Birds”: a public forum about NL Wren traditions

The wren is just one of several Christmastime house-visiting traditions that continues here today. Typically, children or adults will visit homes within their community carrying around an effigy of a small bird—the wren. Upon visiting a home, they usually recite a poem declaring the wren the “King of All Birds” and may offer some kind of performance, be it song, joke, or recitation.

Join us for the last event of the Mummers Festival on Wednesday, Dec. 14 from 7:00 to 8:30pm at The Rooms. In this public forum, meet some of the people who are keeping this tradition alive in Newfoundland & Labrador. Come learn about the history of the wren tradition and how it’s happening today. For more information visit

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Our Multicultural Province - An Engaging Evening at The Rooms, 7pm March 11th

Our Multicultural Province
The Rooms
9 Bonaventure Avenue
St. John's, NL
7pm, Wednesday, March 11th, 2015
Free event.

Did you know that Newfoundland and Labrador has a growing multicultural community? Immigrants have brought diversity and the opportunity to experience other cultures, their food, their music, and their art. Come hear the stories and challenges of people who have chosen to make this province their home.

Presented by The Rooms in collaboration with the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Folklorist Dale Jarvis will introduce you to three talented and engaged people making a home in St. John's: Zainab Jerrett, Hadi Milanloo, and Hazel Ouano Alpuerto. Come have a chat, and learn more about our growing and changing community.

Zainab Jerrett is the Executive Director of Tombolo Multicultural Festival Newfoundland and Labrador Inc. She is also the owner of two businesses: Multi Ethnic Food Kitchen; and the annual International Food and Craft Expo shows in St. John's, CBS, and Paradise. Zainab is originally from Nigeria but immigrated to Canada in 1992 to do PhD in Folklore at Memorial University of Newfoundland. She obtained her PhD in Folklore at MUN in 1998. She has been married to a lovely Newfoundlander from 2000 to the present.

Hadi Milanloo was born in the north of Iran, in a family for whom music was of great importance. He started to play the setar when he was 13. Having finished a BMus and an M.A at the University of Tehran, he and his wife, Saeedeh, moved to St. John's in December 2013 in order to pursue their studies at Memorial University. Saeedeh studies Folklore and Hadi is in the Ethnomusicology programme.

Hazel Ouano Alpuerto is a Filipino-Canadian living here in St.John's. She is a Psychiatric Registered Nurse by profession and is working with Eastern Health. She is also the Philippine Honorary Consul General, whose role is to oversee fellow nationals requiring assistance.

Photo of Zainab Jerrett by Martin Connelly/The Scope.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Tiddly On The Lawn - This Sunday at The Rooms


Tiddly, also known as piddly, pippy, snig, or puss, was once a very popular game that was played all over Newfoundland and Labrador. While the rules changed from community to community, the game pieces were usually the same – two rocks or bricks and two sticks. Come and join us on the lawn of The Rooms for a fun-filled day of Tiddly and other traditional games.

We're bringing in the experts! Participants from Carbonear's World Cup of Tiddly will be in St. John's to show the Townies how it is done! Come watch, and learn how to play yourself.

The event will be happening from 1pm to 4pm on Sunday September 28.

1pm – 2pm Various races (sack races, egg and spoon races, three legged race)

2pm – 2:45pm Tiddly demonstration game

3pm – 3:40pm Visitors can try the game, various races

For more information, contact:

Jena Mitchell
Marketing Manager
Phone: 709-757-8144


Dale Jarvis
Heritage Foundation of NL
709-739-1892 x2

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tuesday's Folklore Photo - Labrador Wildflowers

"Specimens: Wee Flowering Plants collected Summer 1919 at 
Grenfell Mission Station, Battle Harbour, Labrador / by Katherine G. Amberson, R.N."

Item MG 63.1937 in The Rooms Provincial Archives from the International Grenfell Association Fonds. Entry includes the following quote from inside the album cover:
"These little plants and blossoms changed the forbidding landscape to the softest, loveliest inviting hues one can imagine. A gentle tribute to the Creator of our universe. K.G.A"

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Games We Played - A Coffee and Culture Presentation

Thursday, February 27, 2:30 pm., The Rooms Provincial Museum

Hoist Your Sails and Run, Spotlight and kite flying are just a few ways that children traditionally entertained themselves in outport Newfoundland. Join folkorist Lisa Wilson as she explores these and other types of childhood play that have an important place in our living memories.

This is a multi-media presentation, but there will be a chance at the end to share some of your own memories and experiences around childhood games and experiences. Hope to see you there!

Children of Cable Ave., Bay Roberts, courtesy of Linda Sesk.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Job Posting - Educational Assistant at The Rooms

LOCATION: Education and Public Programming Unit, The Rooms Corporation of
Newfoundland and Labrador, 9 Bonaventure Avenue, St. John’s, NL

DUTIES: Expressions of interest are invited from qualified individuals for
the position of a part-time Educational Assistant to provide support to the
Program Coordinator in the delivery of the Chevron Open Minds at The Rooms
program. Functions will include the delivery of group tours and related
education programs and workshops, meeting and greeting of Open Minds school
groups, setting up of learning materials and classroom space and responding
to student, teacher and volunteer queries. The Educational Assistant will
assist in the development of new programs and the ongoing evaluation of
program effectiveness and efficiency. Reporting to the Manager of
Education and Public Programming Unit, the educational assistant will also
perform related work as required. Employment is 19 hours per week, from
mid-September to mid-June.

QUALIFICATIONS: The Educational Assistant must possess strong communication
and interpersonal skills and experience in the delivery of interpretation
and/or educational programs. Successful applicants must have good knowledge
of museum/art gallery/ archives operations, background knowledge of
Newfoundland and Labrador history and culture, and the ability to adapt and
deliver hands-on education programs to a range of groups. These
qualifications would normally be acquired through successful completion of
the Heritage Interpreter Certificate, MANL Certificate Course, supplemented
by completion of university courses in history, archaeology, art history,
archival studies, biology, education, geography, or folklore. Equivalent
combinations of education and experience may be considered.

SALARY: $23/hour

Please forward you resume to:
The Rooms, P.O. Box 1800, Stn. C, St. John’s, NL A1C 5P9
Attention: Gillian Davidge or email


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hi Ho Silver! Stories with metalworkers tonight at The Rooms

Tonight, Wednesday, May 1st, at 7pm, join the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador (HFNL) at The Rooms Theatre for “Talking Shop: Metalworking.”

To highlight The Room’s new exhibit Silver: a Noble Metal, this Engaging Evening will explore the craft of metalworking. Folklorist Dale Jarvis will host Don Beaubier, Susan Lee Stephen, and Jason Holley, three local artists who work with metal, and who will join us to talk about their experience creating their pieces of art with silver and other metals.

The presentation is organized to coincide with a recent Rooms exhibit, “Silver: A Noble Metal.” In chemistry, silver is considered a noble metal; it is resistant to corrosion and oxidation and is considered precious due to its rarity in the Earth’s crust. From silverware to jewelry, pocket watches and trophies, silver was once mined and worked right here in Newfoundland.

Silver has been a status symbol for centuries, its artisans creating functional works of art but also paying attention to styles and trends. It has also been considered a great reward and is given as an award to important dignitaries, athletes and heroes on the battlefield.  The exhibition examines silver (sterling and plate), its uses and markings and its production within the province.

Photos courtesy Susan Lee Studios.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Root Cellars Rock The Rooms

Coffee and Culture: Root Cellars
March 14, 2:30pm
The Rooms Theatre

How do you keep vegetables fresh without electricity? In a root cellar of course! From use in years past to modern day, root cellars have become iconic in Newfoundland and Labrador. Folklorist Crystal Braye and Sarah Ferber from Root Cellars Rock will be at The Rooms to tell you all about them. Presented in collaboration with the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador.


Root cellar photos courtesy of Crystal Braye.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

13th annual Sharing Our Cultures event celebrates Newfoundland and Labrador's cultural diversity

The public is invited to the 13th official opening ceremonies of Sharing our Cultures - À la découverte de nos cultures, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, March 18, at The Rooms in St. John’s. Admission to Sharing Our Cultures is FREE but regular fees apply for The Rooms’ exhibits. The other two days – March 19 and 20 – are open ONLY to the media and to students who have registered.

This event highlights the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the province’s Multiculturalism Week (March 18-24). The theme this year is “sharing our languages”/«partager nos langues».

Mr. Les Linklater, Assistant Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, will bring greetings during the ceremonies. The guest speaker is Mr. Remzi Cej, past participant of Sharing Our Cultures, a Rhodes Scholar, and current Chair of the Human Rights Commission.

Two of the young authors, from Labrador and the West Coast, will read their stories in Cultural Con‘txt’ in English and French, respectively. Cultural Con‘txt’, the latest initiative of Sharing our Cultures, is a publication of stories by students from around the province. There will also be performances by the Mi’kmaq Dancers and Drummers, World Voices choir, and students from Natuashish and Colombia.

From March 19 to 20, about 1,200 Grade Six students from St. John’s, Dunville, and Chapel Arm will visit this unique educational event and engage in bilingual cultural activities, interact with host students, and learn languages from around the world.

This project is supported by Citizenship and Immigration Canada; Office of Immigration and Multiculturalism; The Rooms Corporation; Department of Education; Eastern School District; École des Grands-Vents; CBC Radio-Canada; Memorial University, and Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association.

For more information please contact: Lloydetta Quaicoe, Project Coordinator (709) 727-2372