Digital History - Histoire Numérique

Browse Exhibits (18 total)

Material Culture in Volleyball: Developments Throughout the 20th Century

Ever since the sport of volleyball was created my William Morgan in 1895, developments have rapidly advanced as the sport has gained notoriety around the world. 

This exhibit will be organized into 3 separate volleyball "eras" throughout the 20th century. First, we will explore some of the rules and terminology used to gain a better understanding of the sport. We will also look at individual equipment pieces that saw changes with the introduction of new rules and strategies.


This era, which includes the year volleyball was introduced in America, sees a very elementary version of the sport with few technological considerations. Early introduction to strategy in the 1920s and early 30s allowed for some players to excel both on court and sand. It is during this time that the sport would also see introduction to European countries and Canada, with the latter seeing an introduction in Ontario through the YMCA. 


In this period volleyball was beginning to gain notoriety in North America and Europe. The second world war saw the spread of the sport on beaches where the US Navy would play games during breaks in their duties spreading it to locals. After the war, in 1947, the Federation Internationale de Volleyball was created which would govern the many international tournaments to occur in the following years leading to today.


This final period sees volleyball evolving to the point as we acknowledge it today. The drastic evolution of strategy and international tournaments created the volleyball market which attributed to its massive growth. Additionally, by the end of the century, we see a more universal set of norms for both male and female players regarding uniform and play.


The last section will be attributed to specific pieces of equipment in volleyball by exploring the purposes of their development throughout the years and other important information.

A Company Town: More Than its Heart of Gold

This exhibit covers the role of the mining trade in the creation of Northern Ontario culture. Looking at Timmins, Ontario, we can examine the variety of influences that mining companies have held in the creation of local cultures through the deep integration of the mining trade in these towns. Looking at aspects like architecture, art, and the landscape, this exhibit will show exactly how mining companies have integrated themselves, not only into people’s lives for work, but also into the way they live.  

I would like to acknowledge that this exhibit was created on the unceded, unsurrendered Territory of the Anishinaabe Algonquin Nation. The majority of the content of this exhibit also is featured on Treaty 9 territory, the traditional territory of Ojibway/Chippewa, Oji-Cree, Mushkegowuk (Cree), Algonquin. Colonialism is an important element to keep in mind for this project, especially as it intersects with capitalism in company towns. Steven High describes this in their book, One Job Town, as the following:  

“If you look at the communities in Northern Ontario – if you go right to Hearst, to Kap[uskasing], to Smooth Rock Falls, to Cochrane, to Timmins – you go all the way down the corridor. In each of the communities, they were colonized by the mill coming in and all of that. But the point of the mill was not to colonize. The point of the mill was to make money. It was part of the capitalist system. And the capitalist system, certainly, has a diminutive power on its principals, on the people, on the worker bees, but that is just how our society works. We are not egalitarian in any sense of the word. Nor should we even think that we ever were.”(1) 

Though I am not emphasizing or trying to tell a specifically indigenous narrative, this perspective is always present in the underlying theme of companies' colonial impact in Northern Ontario.


  1. High, Steven C. One Job Town: Work, Belonging, and Betrayal in Northern Ontario. Toronto [Ontario]: University of Toronto Press, 2018.

The Early Days of Women in Curling



If you have been curling long enough you eventually get good enough to teach curling. When you are doing a learn to curl some of the first questions you will get is what do I need to bring? the answer to this is always the same, clean flat shoes and stretchy pants. Oh, and absolutely no jeans either or you will have an uncomfortable experience. The thing is when you look at these old photos of women in their curling gear often, they are breaking these suggesting we give today. The women in these photos are wearing heeled boots and long skirts. From a modern perspective, this would seem impossible attire to curl in. Today seasoned curlers wear shoes designed especially for curling and thick yoga pant. How could these women curl in heeled boots and long skirts? It is questions like this that will be answered. The goal is to investigate what it was like to be a women curler in Canada around the late 1800s to early 1900s.

War Art is Worth a Thousand Histories

Welcome to the exhibit “War Art is Worth a Thousand Histories”  

This exhibit reinterprets the classic saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” to display war art as being worth a thousand histories. Woven into each of the paintings featured in this exhibit are histories pertaining to the artists that created them, the individuals and materials depicted, the days and moments leading up to the event depicted, and the lifelong memories of war preserved years and decades afterwards.

This exhibit explores an important element of Canadian material history through a digital medium. Canadian World War I Art was created to preserve the Great War in Canadian memory and eternally honour those who served to protect our nation. This Omeka exhibit features 12 out of 1000 pieces of war art created as a result of the Canadian War Memorials Fund. 

Canada was the first allied country to establish a commission for war art at the beginning of WWI. As a result, talented Canadian artists dedicated their life's work to depicting the Canadian experience during WWI both on the battlefront and the homefront. This exhibit gathers a sample of Canada’s greatest WWI artworks and details the historical significance of each piece. Viewers can explore a variety of war art depicting both men and women on the Western Front and the Home Front.

The Western Front: 

In the first section, viewers can explore art depicting war at sea, war on the land, war in the air, and war from the perspective of horses. Within each of these categories, viewers will be presented with two unique pieces which were specifically chosen to compare and contrast the artistic and personal historical qualities of each artist as well as the historical significance embedded in each piece itself. 

Women at War:

This section intends to highlight the important and difficult roles that women played both on the home front and the battle front. Three paintings are featured in this section. Each painting pays tribute to either a female artist and/or women depicted in the paintings themselves. Female war artists faced much adversity during the early 20th century. Women breaking into the art industry faced many obstacles and were expected to paint only certain themes that conformed to societal standards. This section will demonstrate the ways in which brave female artists broke these barriers and found success.   

Ultimately, this exhibit will leave viewers with an enriched view and understanding of the historical significance of material history in the form of WWI Art.

Cookbooks of Ontario: A Century of Soup

Over a century ago, cookbooks were around in Ontario, but they were much different from today. Browse this collection to see different soup recipes from 1831 to 1935 from Toronto to Parry Sound. Take a read through these pages to learn more about soup in Ontario during the 19th and 20th centuries. 

White Paper/Red Paper Exchange: Indigenous Resistance and Activism between the 1960s and 1980s

A discussion of the White Paper/Red Paper Exchange and how this impacted the emergence of Indigenous political and legal activism on a national scale within Canada and an international scale in the United States and parts of Europe, between the late 1960s and early 1980s.

“Neither Black nor White” : Metis and ‘Half-Caste’ in Photography

University of Ottawa's Artist Book Collection

Welcome to the website dedicated to the University of Ottawa’s artist book collection! Here, you will be able to find all the information you need to understand what an artist book is, and what can be found in the University of Ottawa’s own special collection.

What is an artist book? Artist books are difficult to define because the concept of an artist book has evolved considerably over the years, which has led to a few self-conflicting characteristics and significant debate over what can be considered as an “artist book.”

According to the artist, art critic, and art theorist Johanna Drucker, an artist book is “any work of original art created in the book format." The Getty Research Institute adds to Drucker’s definition, and specifies that artist books include “commercial publications (usually in limited editions), as well as unique items formed or arranged by the artist.”

Drucker and the Getty Research Institute essentially define artist books as a medium, or the methods and materials used by artists to create artwork and express their ideas. As a medium, artist books have a different kind of agency than auction catalogues and textbooks on art, whose primary function is to convey information on pre-existing works. Instead, artist books are created to communicate a specific message, which can range from the development of their practice to a poignant social-political commentary.

In general, artist books follow the general book format and communicate their ideas with words and images on pages between two covers. However, like all artistic endeavours, there are exceptions to this rule, some of which can be found in the University of Ottawa’s collection. Like with other mediums, artists are relatively free in their choice of aesthetics (the materials and techniques used in the design and production of the book) and content (the themes, subjects and ideas communicated by the book).

American Women in Tobacco Advertisements 1929-1939

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The research topic is centered on tobacco advertisements that were created by the American Tobacco Company between 1929-1939. The approach is focused on examining how Lucky Strike cigarettes were advertised to American women, and to determine the motives, efficiency, and shortcomings of the advertisements, as well as the different tactics that were deployed to enhance the female market during the Great Depression era. Primary sources that will be examined are Lucky Strike advertisements featuring and promoting the sale of tobacco to women. All advertisements can be found on the Stanford Research Institute website.

The purpose for using Omeka is ultimately to incorporate various advertisements on an interactive website, which allows for better engagement and analysis to be conducted, and it provides the public with further information concerning the selling of tobacco to women. The websites provides a platform focused on promoting the digitization of history more broadly.

The aim of the project is to identify the history of tobacco advertising, specifically the ones affiliated with American Tobacco Company. Specifically, the research will identify the advertisement mediums used to target women, as well as the general information regarding the advertising and the company. The Torches of Freedom campaign will be briefly examined. Furthermore, Lucky Strike used many different campaigns, which will be analyzed more broadly.

Lucky Strike Campaigns:

Lucky Strike used various campaigns to promote and sell tobacco to women, which can be broken down into three general categories: Weight and Slimness; Love and Femininity; and Fashion and Elitism. Each campaign sought to advertise nicotine products to American women by publicly endorsing female smokers, and promoting cigarettes as symbols of emancipation. The purpose was to increase the American Tobacco Company’s profitability by pushing for higher numbers of female consumers, leading to an upsurge in Lucky Strike’s market share.

Weight and Slimness:

The campaign was organized under the American Tobacco Company and promoted by Lucky Strike cigarettes, specifically focusing on weight loss, slimness, and avoiding overindulgence or temptation. The slogans that were used include: “Reach for a Lucky,” “Future Shadow Faces,” and “Tempted to Over-Indulge.”

Love and Femininity:

The campaign was headed by the American Tobacco Company and promoted by Lucky Strike cigarettes, and it pertained to various themes relating to health, feminine imagery, love and tradition. Slogans that were used include: “Sunshine Mellows,” and “Couples in Love.”

Fashion and Elitism:

The campaign was led by the American Tobacco Company and promoted by Lucky Strike cigarettes, particularly centered on the elite and upper-class American women, specifically using celebrity endorsements and fashionable imagery to promote the product. Various slogans that were used include: “Your Adams Apple,” “It’s Toasted,” “Cream of Crop,” and “High Fashion.” 

A Movable Closet: Examining Trans Identity Affirmation and Construction

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