One of my earliest memories is
crawling through my toy cupboard at about three or four years old, closing the doors and announcing that it was now a time machine that I was going to use to stop the Irish potato famine. How I was going to accomplish this is a bit fuzzy now, but I clearly remember the moment I encountered my first moral (and time/space continuum) paradox, as my father informed me that if I succeeded, we might cease to exist due to reduced nineteenth-century Irish emigration to Canada. For me, history, both then and now, was not confined to the archive, museum, historic site or classroom, and it wasn’t confined to the past. My sister and I were the fourth generation of our family living on our farm in Southwestern Ontario, and I always took for granted that history was something immersive and continuous. Staging Our Histories, for me, is an opportunity to creatively, collaboratively and perhaps cathartically capture all the ways history impacts our lives, while also exploring how we impact history.
I have been lucky enough to pursue projects in my academic and professional careers that combine history with my personal passions for storytelling and story writing. My undergraduate thesis at the University of Western Ontario, Yield Up the Ghost, was a historical fiction novella. During my second year working at the Huron County Museum and Historic Gaol in 2013, I coordinated the gaol’s first-person interpretation program, “Behind the Bars” and wrote new character scripts from primary research. I began my participation in the program the previous summer, when I portrayed an unmarried, pregnant domestic servant committed for vagrancy–an experience that influenced my Master’s work at Carleton regarding the portrayal of the poor in rural Ontario community museums.
Sinead lives in Goderich, Ontario, Canada & is Curator of Engagement & Dialogue for the Huron County Museum and Historic Gaol.