Blacksmiths at Westfield Hertiage Village.

Pickering Museum Village virtual exhibit on blacksmithing

A bilingual digital exhibit was launched earlier this month at the Pickering Museum Village.

The facility received $100,400 from the Digital Museums Canada investment program to create a free virtual exhibit and educational resource targeted to students in grades 7 to 12 about the evolution of blacksmithing in Ontario, said a village statement.

What was it like to be a blacksmith? Learn about the history of the trade at ‘Forging ON: The Evolution of Blacksmithing in Ontario’. Available in both English and French, this website features an interactive timeline that invites users to explore blacksmithing in Ontario, with videos that showcase blacksmiths at work.

The museum has collaborated with five partner sites across Ontario including Fanshawe Pioneer Village, Westfield Heritage Village, Lang Pioneer Village, Grey Roots Museum and Archives, and Fleming College. Each site was tasked with representing an era of blacksmithing from the 1860s to the present day.

Pickering Museum Village took on the challenge of representing blacksmithing in the 1960s. The museum had the opportunity to work closely with local artist Geordie Lishman, son of Bill Lishman, award winning artist, writer and filmmaker.

William (Bill) Lishman used the Greenwood Blacksmith Shop (now located at the Pickering Museum Village) as his first art studio back in the late 1960s.  Site users can learn about how blacksmithing evolved from an essential trade to a form of art.

The website features 12 fun and educational videos that take users through a journey of what blacksmithing was like from the late 1800s to the present day. The videos demonstrate the challenges blacksmiths faced and how they resolved them using tools from their respective time periods.

Users can take a closer look into common blacksmithing tools on the ‘Blacksmith’s Toolbox’ page, including real photos of artifacts found in the Pickering Museum Village  collection, and other museum partner collections.

Teachers can download free lesson plans and worksheets to use in the classroom.  The resources cover history, art and science and were developed in line with the Ontario curriculum.

Check out this new digital exhibit at

Artist Geordie Lishman working inside the Greenwood Blacksmith Shop at the Pickering Museum Village.

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