The South Frontenac Museum in Hartington officially opened its doors for the season Saturday as part of the Doors Open Ontario program.
New to the museum this year is a presentation of 62 old stone houses in the area by David Jeffries, which is a project of the newly-formed South Frontenac Heritage Committee.
And Doug Lovegrove’s little military history corner is also undergoing some changes.
“We’re moving out some of the Second World War stuff in favour of the 146th Overseas Battalion (the First World War unit formed in this area,” he said. “We’ve also got some stuff about life in the trenches such as the knitting program whereby people on the home front would knit socks for the soldiers.
“Sometimes, they could go through as many as four pairs of socks in a day.”
It’s little stories like that that make museums such interesting places.
And one of those stories happened Saturday.
Glenn Snook dropped in to the museum with a pair of skates. Obviously very old, they were the ‘spring skates’ kind where the blades clamped over the sole of your boots.
“These belonged to Carolyn Fluke in the 1890s,” Snook said. “Some people might know Robin Fluke, a relative who was a teacher at Sydenham High School.
“Carolyn was my grandfather John Lindsay’s girlfriend.”
On Dec. 24, a 20-something Carolyn decided to go for a skate on Lake Opinicon.
Unfortunately, the ice was thin. She fell in the water. She drowned.
When Snook was a boy, he was in his grandfather’s attic and seeing the skates, he asked his grandfather about them.
“He told me the story so I’d know why he kept them,” Snook said. “Much later on, I asked my cousins if he’d told them the story.
“They said he didn’t. He only told me.”
After his grandfather died, Snook and his wife were cleaning out the attic and came across the old skates.
“I’ve kept them ever since,” he said. “I thought this museum would be a proper place for them.”
And so it is, as well as a 120-year-old love story.
Board member Barb Stewart said the Open Doors event was the first of several planned for this year.
“We will have others but we don’t know what until our 21st annual meeting,” she said. “But we will be open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday afternoons from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. from July 1 until Labour Day.”