Margaret Axford | Nov 30, 2016

Have you ever thought about what sounds you might hear in our museum?  Perhaps not, so let me take you on a little tour. The voices of children chattering eagerly in the school house come to mind. These are the same children who will tell you that no, they don’t want to go back to school, but at the moment they are enjoying the books, the old desks, the nibs of the pens, the schoolmarm with no shoes, the aura of a different kind of school.

Female voices drift in from the Pioneer Life section, most of them in amazement at the tiny wedding dress made by Ila Redshaw Wagar when she was only 17 years old. There also are the porcelain dolls which have their own history, long before they became playmates of children in the early days, one of them in particular who was created in Germany some time before becoming the best friend of Ora Wickware in Cloyne. Perhaps in the silence of the night, they talk to one another, exchanging their stories!

From the south end of the new section, where all the tools are, you can hear the sound of someone cranking the forge which was built by Zach Snider. If you listen very closely, you can almost hear the fire as it would have caught the coals in the forge.

From the front room, there are the sounds of toonies and loonies dropping into the donation jars. The folded-up bills fall so softly that you don’t know they’re there until it’s counting time at the end of the day! Here also is more amazement coming from the folks reading the life story of David Trumble. “What, he was 118 when he died?” And then there are the adult voices patiently explaining to children what a phone used to look like and how it worked, when it was called a “telephone”. On the north side of the room, the cause of exclamations will be the size of the old chain saws, with wonderment at how strong the man must have been who once used those on a daily basis.

These are the sounds of learning - about a lifestyle no longer in existence, about the ways in which small communities have kept themselves alive, through timbering, through mining, through tourism. This is the business of our museum.

The Museum and Archives this summer was a busy place. Including the tours which have brought in groups from the school and from neighbouring towns, we welcomed 1,350 visitors who donated $1,986, a significantly greater amount than in previous summers. Instead of the long-standing average of  donations of $1 per person, we are now up to nearly $1.50 per person! Our sales cupboard did well also this summer. Customers purchased $2,207 worth of our merchandise. As a result of the brisk sales, several items will have to be reordered over the winter.

After a quiet winter’s rest, followed by a cleaning and rejuvenation of displays, the doors will be ready to open next spring as we mark Canada’s 150th birthday. Then the sounds will be cheering ones, as we all get together to have a celebration!

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