The Thomas Bouckley Collection exhibitions typically include images that depict the exterior facades of historic buildings. This is with good reason; looking at the outside of a building is important for the local historic record. It also helps us to draw a mental map of how Oshawa used to appear. The focus is usually on ‘where’ people lived, worked, visited, and not often on ‘how’ they lived. But interior views can be much more revealing when it comes to social history.
The collection of images in this exhibition offers a more transparent view into the private spaces of Oshawa’s past residents. These interiors provide a glimpse into domestic life and working conditions, and offer a human connection to the spaces. Some of the photographs show private spaces within homes, others show stores or factories, but all of them make us think more about the occupants and purpose of the space, rather than where the building was located and what it architecturally looked like. What can these interior views reveal about their past occupants?