Through the Garth Wilson Fellowship in Public History offered by Ingenium, the federal Crown corporation which oversees museums related to science and technology, and the Department of History, MA student Cristina Wood will tell a data-informed story about the Ottawa River using song.
Fundamentally, Cristina Wood, the 2018-2019 Garth Wilson Fellow and an MA student in Public History, is interested in how particular spaces change through time, so naturally she was drawn to the rich 20th century history of this small, but mercurial section of the river and the land that surrounds it.
Thus, for her Garth Wilson Fellowship, she intends to understand and then articulate how this Ottawa locale has been used both along the riverbank shores and on all three islands.
Having grown up in the area, Wood’s personal connection with the region compelled her to study the Ottawa River.
“I entered the master’s program fascinated with place history, on land – in Ottawa itself,” says Wood.
She began exploring the environmental history and people’s relationships with this small section of the Ottawa River – one that she knows well.
“Picturing the inhabitants’ everchanging interactions with the river through the decades is definitely what drew me in.”
Wood arrived at Carleton from an undergraduate degree in History and Environmental Studies at Queen’s University, where she mostly focused on intellectual and cultural history. But she began to deepen her interest in environmental history in the first year of her Master’s in Public History here at Carleton. Through her research and reading, it became clear to Wood how deeply these two areas of historical study overlap. Between the first and second years of her MA, Wood had the opportunity to work as a research intern at the Canada Science and Technology Museum and Canada Agriculture and Food Museum. “There I was able then to explore these converging fields, and my attention began to focus on the Ottawa River between 1880 and 1900, for which I built a little digital exhibit.”
This experience motivated Wood to become more engaged with the museum world.
“Knowing that I had only scratched the surface of the collections at Ingenium, and spending time with the team there, I decided to apply for and was fortunate enough to receive the Garth Wilson Fellowship which facilitates the kind of learning, skills and research that really interests me.”