About Our Collections

The stewardship of the collections is a public trust. We value the trust placed with us to safeguard the collection, and we recognize our responsibility to strategically develop the collection for future generations. Our collection is diverse, just like Oshawa’s history, and we are committed to expanding the narratives we share. We care for over 50,000 objects and photographs covering social history, science, technology, and Indigenous history and will continue to strategically manage and develop the collection as a growing resource for education and research.



The Sketches of ES Shrapnel

In 2000, a member of the OHS reached out to us and explained he had a box of antique prints which were overruns from the printing of his grandfather Thomas Conant’s book, Upper Canada Sketches.  He explained they were a series of prints, 23 in total, illustrated by artist E.S. Shrapnel. Rather than have the prints remain in the box, the donor thought the OHS would be a good home for them; we kept one complete set of prints in the archives and, as was the donor’s suggestion, we offered the remainder for sale in the store.


The Conant name is familiar to many people in Oshawa. Verna Conant founded the Oshawa Historical Society and was its first president. Gordon Conant was at one time a Mayor of Oshawa and the 12th Premier of Ontario (to read more about Gordon and Verna Conant visit the External link opens in new tab or windowOshawa Museum blog).


Over the years, the prints have been used in exhibits, articles, and blog posts. This April, they have become the focus of a new online exhibit, ES Shrapnel Sketches.  This new exhibit is the first time Shrapnel’s illustrations have been examined from both the historical and artistic perspectives.