Huronia Museum and Ouendat (Wendat) Village

Visited the Huronia Museum and Ouendat Village this weekend with my family, and we loved it.

The museum itself was a typical small museum, with exhibits on the history of the area, focussing on some of the marine disasters and the early settlers of the region, but the highlight of the museum is the reconstructed Wendat village

Reconstructed Wendat village palisade with 3 sisters growing outside

Reconstructed Wendat village palisade with 3 sisters growing outside

The village consists of a European style palisade, with a field of 3 Sisters grown in clusters outside.  Inside, there is a tobacco field, pole stacks, drying racks, a sweat lodge, a longhouse, storage pots, gourds, stretched furs, tree trunk mortar and pestles, games, canoes, and things I’ve completely forgotten.

3 Sisters (corn, squash, beans) growing outside the village

3 Sisters (corn, squash, beans) growing outside the village

Masks outside the palisade

Masks outside the palisade

It was the most effective display of Iroquois lifestyle I have ever seen!

Stretched skins

Stretched skins

Inside the village

Inside the village

Temporary work shelters

Temporary work shelters

Drying skins

Drying skins

Gourds and pots outside the shaman's lodge

Gourds and pots outside the shaman’s lodge

Gourds

Gourds

Inside the longhouse

Inside the longhouse

Mortar and pestles

Mortar and pestles

Sleeping benches along the longhouse walls

Sleeping benches along the longhouse walls

Stacks of poles for later use

Stacks of poles for later use

It wasn’t just me though, my husband and kids loved it, and said they had never learned so much from a museum.

Why was it so educational, why did it work so much better than display cases?

Obviously, the ability to walk through the longhouse really brought home how tall they were in particular.  The context of a village also prioritized details of daily life, which speaks to visitors more than broad details of relationships between groups, which tends to be the focus of most museums.

Longhouses are tall, not just long!

Longhouses are tall, not just long!

Using a mortar and pestle

Using a mortar and pestle

Sweat lodge

Sweat lodge

For me, the details that stuck out were how high the longhouses were, and how the sheets of bark were overlapped to make the walls of the structures.

 

After all that, all I have to say is:

Visit the Huronia Museum!

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