Museum’s Market Queen is up to task

By Merna Emara
Staff Writer

The Rainy Lake Market has a queen, and it is Alyssa Armstrong, 22, who works at the Fort Frances Museum running the children’s program.

Armstrong assumed her title when she took over preparing the market when Sarah Marusyk was away for the day.

However, this is not Armstrong’s only activity. She has been working with the museum since 2017. Her current position is museum educator and is currently studying at Lakehead University to be a primary junior teacher.

Armstrong ran two programs this year: square days and Night at the Museum.

“The first year I worked at the museum, I thought it was a missed opportunity if we were running children’s programs and not doing a night at the museum event,” Armstrong said. “We started doing that, plus tours, games and crafts.”

Alyssa Armstrong has many interests, but the one she enjoys the most is working with children. She has been working with the museum since 2017 and wished to continue her involvement after graduation. – Submitted photo

Armstrong grew up in Fort Frances and ever since she was old enough to think about her future career, she knew she wanted to work with children.

“I have always wanted to be a teacher. I grew up loving working with kids and loving school. It really made sense to me,” Armstrong said.

Prior to Armstrong’s enrolment at Lakehead University, she obtained a biology degree from Queen’s University.

“I was not sure if I wanted to be a teacher or a pediatrician,” Armstrong said. “I started volunteering on the Education Committee for the Society for Conservation Biology at Queen’s, and I just realized visiting the classrooms and teaching kids, there’s just no other option for me, I just wanted to be a teacher.”

Armstrong said she finds working with the children very meaningful, especially when she is trying to filter and narrow down historical events to fit a child’s lens.

In addition, she would also want to help in making the museum more accessible for classrooms that do not take museum trips. In doing that, she is working on establishing an education collection, which will include transportable historical artifacts that they bring to the classroom.

“I want to use my knowledge as a primary junior teacher candidate to use social studies and other relevant curricula to create specific and developmentally appropriate lesson plans and activities for the classes,” Armstrong said.

Post graduation, Armstrong said she wishes to start teaching right away, but to also have a foot in the door at the museum.

“I’m hoping to come back as a volunteer, because my time working there is almost done now that I’m not a student,” Armstrong said. “In the past, we’ve always had classrooms visit the museum for tours and activities. This is something we want to keep doing.”