Curator's Notes (Please wait if page takes time to load)
Margot was commissioned by the town in 1974 to create a unique logo that would represent Meaford during its centennial celebrations. The logo was square, with the words "Centennial", "Meaford Ontario" and the years, "1874" and "1974" on it, along with images of a white sailboat and seagulls superimposed on a red apple. The committee would like to find the original drawing to display as part of the upcoming exhibition. There is some speculation that the original may have been sold.
A committee of local volunteers is searching the community for the work of the late Meaford artists, Chuck and Margot Finley. The committee, in association with Meaford Hall and the Meaford Museum, hope to mount a retrospective of the work of these local artists in the galleries of Meaford Hall in June and July of next year (2014).
Chuck was a native of Meaford who worked at Eaton's in Toronto for years as the company's art director . He and his artist wife, Margot who had also worked as a commercial artist at Eaton's, then moved back to Meaford to enjoy their retirement. Chuck worked primarily in oils and Margot in watercolours.
Oil by Chuck Finley Watercolour by Margot Finley
In 2011 work was started on the last set of storage cupboards at the Museum. Funded by the Museum Assistance Program (MAP), a custom storage unit was designed and created by Charles Davies, a local maker of fine custom cabinetry. The space allocated for the cupboards was awkwardly shaped, had low ceilings and required quite a bit of ingenuity to make functional. However, the final result is spectacular. Completed in early 2012, the unit holds over 3000 artifacts in a safe, custom designed environment. The unit was specifically designed to house the Museum's collections of large framed photos, china and glass ware, textiles, hats and footwear.
Finishing the unit was only the first step. Staff then had to store the artifacts on the shelves and in the drawers. In 2011 a group of volunteers sorted and re-housed the textiles collection; and in 2012, Gerald Harding spent hours carefully organizing and safely storing the china and glass collections. Finally, just last week, volunteer Tabitha Saunders moved the footwear and hat collections into their new homes, completing the job!
Museum staff would like to thank all the volunteers who have worked so hard to help finish the unpacking at the Museum. It has been a group effort and the results have been nothing short of amazing!
The Meaford Museum will be holding a fundraising silent auction starting August 10th until August 24th . The funds raised will be used to improve the programming and collection at the Museum.
The items in the sale range from second hand quality items to ‘new in box’.
Registration is free and phone bids will be accepted until 3:50pm on August 24th, 10 minutes prior to the end of the sale.
New walking tours of Meaford are now available. The first is a set of four tours that cover the Historical Downtown, the Historical Plaques and trails in Meaford and the 1901 railway line. A combination of walking and driving tours, they are informative and wide ranging. The second tour is a walk down beautiful Bayfield Street. Each of the light standards has a new banner highlighting a Hometown Hero. The accompanying brochure provides information on each of the Hero's as you walk along Meaford's picturesque harbour.
For more information on the tours or for information on how to pick up printed copies or download copies please visit HERE.
The museum's exterior display building, affectionately called the "Farm Shed", has begun! Staff spent a day taking the artifacts out of the shed in preparation for contractors to commence their work.
The shed is having a concrete floor and walkway installed that will allow those with limited mobility, strollers and high heels to walk comfortably to the display and view it up close. It will reduce the amount of water damage done to the artifacts and remove dangerous tripping hazards.
The entry doors are also being replaced with garage doors that will improve security and protect the artifacts from the elements better than the current system.
Once that is complete we hope to install a 'green driveway' in the newly leveled lawn. This system allows the yard to be used for high traffic activities (i.e. the yard sale) without destroying the grass. For more information in these environmentally friendly alteratives to conrete and asphalt, click HERE.
Each year the Electric Eclectics Festival (EE) is held on the 'Funny Farm' in Meaford. The festival brings together many artists to create an eclectic program of avant-garde and crossover musicians, as well as art installations, DJs, and films which makes the Electric Eclectics 3 day festival unique, fun and high energy.
To heighten anticipation, and to introduce a wider audience to the idea of sound-art, EE has provided a special installation at the Meaford Museum for July and a portion of August.
Interactive and fun, this unique piece of sound-art utilizes the 'antique' cassette tape and 'old fashioned' walkman to create a new sound for each new user. For those of you who do not recognize the term 'walkman' and are among our wiser generation, think of a portable eight track player. For those of you who are younger than 25, consider it an mp3 player that you have to insert music into manually.
The artist, Peter Bradley of Guelph, makes electronic music under the name Scrutineer and runs a Guelph-based tape label called Cassettestival. This label has produced fifteen releases by local bands since 2012. Bradley, who is the Station Manager at CFRU 93.3 fm, the Guelph University Campus & Community Radio Station, runs an occasionally open record store called Department of Lost Records, and has an art vending machine project called Gumball Press, among many other projects.
Peter Bradley is only one of the amazing artists who will be featured at this year's festival. For more information on the festival, visit www.electric-eclectics.com, and for information on the exhibit at the Museum call 519-538-5974.
We'll be celebrating the countries birthday in a number of ways. Click on each for details.
1) Riding Toys in a Traveling Exhibition! Join us on the Saturday and ride for fun!
2) The museum will be open Saturday, Sunday and Monday at 10 am and closing at 5pm.
3) Activities at the Harbour - The library and the museum are joining forces. We will have a tent at the harbour festivities where kids can come and make homemade toys before or after enjoying the Canada at Play exhibit. Pillow case dolls, wooden blocks and much more to be found!
4) Canada at Play: 100 Years of Toys will be open at Meaford Hall for your enjoyment at the following times:
- Saturday 9 am - 4 pm
- Sunday 10 am - 3 pm
- Monday 9am - 1 pm
Admission by donation.
Just a reminder that the Museum need yours help . . .
The Meaford Museum will be hosting a Royal Ontario Museum Traveling Exhibit entitled "Canada at Play" during June and July 2013 at Meaford Hall. In order to enhance the exhibit museum staff would like to create 'play zones' within the exhibit. I am looking for toys to put into the play zones. I am looking for:
- * fad toys
- * winter toys
- * educational toys
- * homemade toys
- * older toys
- * early mass produced toys
- * toys used at home
- * any toys you remember from your childhood
- Note: Please NO soft toys as they are too hard to keep clean.
This would be a loan, if you wanted the item back. However, the Museum cannot guarantee that it will be returned in the same condition (as people will be playing with it) or that it will be returned at all (although we hope nobody will steal anything).
We are also looking for some items on which to display the toys:
- * short book shelves (3 - 4 shelves)
- * toy boxes
- * area rugs (approx. 4ft x 5ft) and relatively flat to reduce tripping hazards
The Meaford Museum is making a concentrated effort to find a special group of volunteers to assist with a long term project. The museum recently purchased a computer program that can significantly improve the efficiency of the Museum, but only if the proper material is entered into the project. There’s 50 years worth of collections data that needs to be entered into this database and staff need assistance to get it done in a timely fashion.
Therefore, the Museum is looking for individuals who are interested in history, would enjoy working with the collection and fit the following criteria:
* is comfortable with computers and willing to learn new computer skills
* is willing to make a consistent time commitment to the project
* enjoys working with historical information and doing light research
* is comfortable with (or willing to learn now to) using a digital camera
If you are interested in this project and would like to learn more or volunteer your time please contact Museum staff and/or fill out the Volunteer Application Form (370.5 kB) and submit it with “PastPerfect Volunteer” written at the top.
Scarecrows love Fairy Tales! That is the theme of this years 2012 Meaford Scarecrow Invasion (3.42 MB) and the Meaford Museum is happy to be participating in the business competition.
This year we've picked a fairy tale with a bite, Hanzel and Gretel. Come down and see our 'hag' and have your picture taken in the dreaded oven. Follow the breadcrumbs to find the display!
Come down to the Meaford Museum to celebrate Culture Days! On Saturday, September 29th and learn the steps to effective and safe canning with Isobel McInnis as she does on-site demonstrations at 1 pm, 2 pm and 3 pm. Printed material will be available and you are invited to ask Isobel any questions you may have. Each demonstration will take approximately 30 minutes.
Entry to the museum is free or by donation!
Remember the Museum will also be open on Sunday September 30th in honour of Culture Days.
For more information call the Museum at 519-538-5974 or visit our website at www.meafordmuseum.ca.
- The staff and Board of the Meaford Museum would like to thank everyone who donated to, or visited, the Meaford Museum’s huge fundraising yard sale. Thanks to your support we smashed our previous record set in 2010 by over $500!
- Much of our success was due to the hard work, enthusiasm and positive energy of our wonderful volunteers.Thirty-five volunteers donated over 400 hours to the yard sale in just one weekend! We’d also like to extend a special thank you to:
- * To the men and women at Richardson’s Boat Works for their assistance during the sorting and storing of artifacts and for the use of the storage space. Without this priceless gift we would not be able to hold the yard sale.
- * The generous anonymous donor who brought us the grandfather clock.
- * Brad Johnston for the use of his flat bed truck.
- * Rob at Mother Nature’s Gift for his generous donation of items
- The weather, although forecasted to be sketchy at best, came shining through. In fact, the temperature was almost the perfect most of the weekend! We hope everyone who experienced the sale had a wonderful time and enjoyed the experience. We’ll see you all again in 2014!
- On a side note, a camera was left at the yard sale over the weekend. Please contact the Museum office to claim it (519-538-5974).
In anticipation of the Electric Eclectics Festival on August 3rd - 5th here in Meaford the Museum will be hosting a art/sound installation by Jessica Field. Jessica works mainly with electronic installations to create theatrical narratives that engage the viewer by showing dramatic machine behaviours. She works with robots, automata and found objects/electronics to create large installations and video works.
To experience this wonderful installation come and visit the Museum between July 7th and August 6th.
In honour of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee the Meaford Museum is proud to present a special edition of our Museum Blog! Take a look at this wonderful glimpse of her life and the exhibit that has been created in her honour and is currently at Meaford Hall. Click HERE to watch the video.
The next official installment of the Meaford Museum Blog is now available on YouTube. Have you ever wondered what kind of research material is available at the Museum? What kind of services do we offer? Well now you can find out in an easy and enjoyable manner. . . take a look at our newest video blog! Click HERE to watch!
The 3rd installment, which will be out the end of May.
At the Commmunity Awards diner held last night by the Meaford Chamber of Commerce (note the spiffy new name announced last night) the Museum was the recipient of the Community Tourism Award! We were very honoured to have been nominated and very proud to be the recipient this year. Thank you to the person(s) who nominated the Museum, the members of the Chamber and those on the nomination committee. We would also like to thank the numerous volunteers who have worked tirelessly over the last 50 years to make this museum a success.
The following is the citation read at the diner and composed of comments made by those who nominated the Meaford Museum for the award.
In the early 1960's the Meaford Museum was just a building used to store old stuff someone thought might have some historic value. There was no proper storage and the display was uncoordinated but a vision grew from this place. Over the years the museum has undergone several facelifts as well as becoming temperature controlled and easy to view and read disiplays.
The reciepent of the Community Award for Tourism is a booster for local tourism as well as a tourist destination. The tourist can journey into the past or learn where to journey in the present. The recipient has just celebrated 50 years of promoting the history, people and events that make the heritage of Meaford and area come alive. "It is a magnet for tourism" wrote one nominator. Over the years this recipient has expanded and has become a professionally run operation. The welcoming atmosphere and ease of access to the exhibits and information makes it a winner. Its active participation in tourism activities within the municipality has made it an integral part of the tourist scene. Reading the guest book reveals the respect and appreciation visitors have for our small but picturesque community museum.
We should all be proud of we have such a state-of-the-art facility and the Meaford Museum is a worthy recipient of the Community Award for Tourism.
The Museum recently received grant funding from the Museums and Technology Fund to create audio tours of Museum. Thanks to the software and hardware purchased for that project we have been able to start producing a Video Blog for the Museum. These blogs are intended to be informative, educational and interesting. Our first video blog provides an overview of what these blogs will be about and describes the Museum's history and services using a variety of historical photos and modern day views. Sign up for our Facebook page or Youtube channel to get immediate notification of a new blog update and let us know what you think! The next one will be even better.
To view the first blog click the link below:
The Meaford Museum is proud to be hosting the Archives of Ontario traveling exhibit honouring the 200th Anniversary of the end of hostilities. The exhibit itself consists of 5 panels which focus on the impact of the War on those living in Upper Canada at the time of the conflict and on later generations who sought ways to remember it. Come down and view this informative exhibit with your friends and family.
A complementary online exhibit and educational resources are available on the Archives of Ontario Website.
At its 50th Anniversary Party on Saturday November 5th, the Meaford Museum announced that it had received a grant for $10,600 from the Museums Assistance Program (MAP) to assist with the construction of a custom-built storage unit for one of the Museum’s storage rooms. This event was the perfect venue to announce the funding as the entire building was open to visitors so they could experience the unit’s intended location and get a concrete idea of what will be installed.
Due to the unusual shape of the room into which the unit will be installed, a custom-designed unit is mandatory. In addition, further customization is required as the unit will house a variety of different types of artifacts such as photographs, clothing, breakables, hats, and shoes. This unit will make the best use of the limited amount of space available and provide the best protection and long term storage environment possible to almost 3000 artifacts. This amounts to almost 1/3 of the Museum’s collection.
The final building cost of the unit will be approximately $18,000. Additional funds will be raised in 2012 to reach this goal. Plans are already underway to start construction on the unit, and the Curator hopes to have a portion of it completed by the spring of 2012 with final completion by the end of the year.
Having these artifacts easily accessible, easy to locate and in a protected environment will increase their usefulness in Museum exhibits, programming and research. Staff are very excited about this project and look forward to its eventual completion. For information on the unit or how to donate to this project please contact the Museum at 519-538-5974 or e-mail us at
The staff of the Meaford Museum, which is currently celebrating its 50th Anniversary, are proud to announce that they have been awarded $21,000 by the Museums and
Technology Fund, a Ministry of Culture and Tourism program, to develop a series of audio tours for the Museum.
These tours will be designed to enrich and improve the experience of all visitors to the Museum; however, they will be particularly important certain audiences who currently have a difficult time enjoying the Museum to its fullest. Recently the Museum was visited by a French-speaking family and a gentleman with a fully motorized wheelchair. Both, although able to experience aspects of the Museum, were not able to freely enjoy the entire visit. It is hoped that these audio tours will change that.
The tours will provide a way for staff to break language barriers as the tours will be available in multiple languages. Local citizens have volunteered their time and talent to produce translations into French and German. Museum staff hope that other languages will become available as additional translators come forward.
The tour will also be useful for those with physical limitations who cannot stand to read the information panels, or for those who use a mobility device and cannot get close enough to the panels. They will now be able to enjoy the information from the comfort of a seat nearby.
The tour will also assist those who cannot read the information such as persons with learning disorders, or youngsters and those with audio impairments who are unable to hear a tour guide.
Finally, for those with extreme visual impairments staff will be working with the local CNIB in order to create a special descriptive audio tour.
The technology and skills acquired during this project will provide the foundation for a variety of additional steps which will also improve the Museum in years to come. Additional tours that staff would like to consider in the future include a child oriented audio tour, a sign language tour (visible on a device such as an iPAD), and walking tours throughout the Municipality. Other projects that will also become viable in the future, beyond audio tours, include the use of QR code technology, improved audio promotions, YouTube video development, and integration with other walking tour programs.
Come down and visit with the Jolly Old Man himself after the Santa Claus Parade on Saturday, December 3rd, 2012. The parade starts at approximately 6:00 pm and parents and children are welcome to follow him down to the Museum to visit Santa. Please remember to bring your camera to capture this precious moment.
Santa is visiting on behalf of the Meaford Kinsmen Club.
For more information please call Curator Pamela Woolner at 519-538-5974 or Kinsmen Rep. Shawn Keily at 519-538-2311.
The Museum is honoured to be hosting a pictorial display honouring Canada's fallen soldiers since September 11, 2001. This display is a heart wrenching reminder of those who put their lives at risk each day to fight for what they believe in and that some pay the ultimate price. The display is looking for a long term home while the new Meaford Legion is being built but is being temporarily housed at the Meaford Museum until Nov. 10th when it will be removed for Remembrance Day Cemermonies.
The Meaford Museum was awarded the Community Award at the Scarecrow Invasion and Family Festival last night. Despite a cold, windy and rainy evening there was a great turn out beneath the pavillion at the harbour. The staff and board of the Meaford Museum would like to congratulate the organizers of the Scarecrow Invasion on another fantastic year. THe increases in content entries and scarecrows around town indicate you're doing a fabulous job! Keep up the good work and we'll be back with another display in 2012.
The award plaque will be on display at the Museum. For a picture of the exhibit click on the next slide.
Scarecrows have invaded the Meaford Museum! As part of the Museum's 50th Anniversary our scarecrows are re-enacting the 1961 Stanley Cup final game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings. There's a seat from which you can enjoy the game and maybe take a picture so come on down and take a look!
Special thanks to the Museum Board for planning and building this wonderful exhibit, they did a wonderful job!
Historical Scavenger Hunt - prizes end Oct 31st!
As part of the celebrations marking the Meaford Museum’s 50th Anniversary they have produced a Historical Scavenger Hunt for the community and visitors to enjoy.
The scavenger hunt covers 12 locations all over downtown Meaford. In order to make sure that participants visit each location, they are required to answer a ‘proof of visitation’ question as well. For example, for the Museum question, participants are asked how many fence posts are in front of the Museum. This puts visitors and more informed locals on an even footing.
Scavenger hunts can be picked up at a variety of local businesses (Meaford Museum, Jennie’s Jewels, Chamber of Commerce, Muxlow’s Pharmacy, and Meaford Library) and can be completed at any time. The hunt does not require that any locations be ‘open’. Participants can return completed hunts to where they were picked up or to the Meaford Museum.
At the end of each month, until Oct. 31st, the completed hunts will be pooled and the first completely correct hunt drawn will win a prize. Possible prizes include Canada Day dance tickets, MIFF tickets, Museum Gift Shop items, local gift cards and more.
Take the family or some friends out for a fun day of exploring, learning and active living while you learn about Meaford’s past. For more information on the scavenger hunt, or the Museum’s other 50th Anniversary celebrations visit their website at www.meafordmuseum.ca or call them at 519-538-5974.
The Museum is happy to be hosting the 'Quilted Word Project' for the next week or so. Come in and enjoy the work and creativity of GreyCounty seniors. The accompanying storybook is available for sale. For more information on the project visit http://georgianbayfolk.org/creativeaging.html .
Richardson's helped out the Museum with two jobs the other day, both made much easier by the use of their crane truck! Thank you so much!
Job 1: They moved an artifact, a baker's oven door, that was being stored in the back out to the farm shed where it will be visible to visitors. The original location was fine prior to the renovation but was not accessible after the renovation was completed.
Job 2: The planter now located on the light island near the Museum's entrance used to be closer to the building. Due to an accident when the planter was moved to make room for the vestibule the tree growing it lost a lot of it's roots. Although we thought it may make a comeback it was not to be. This year it was most definitely dead. Mr. Thomas Dean of Blacksheep Design offered to care for the planter if we could get the tree removed. Dave Richardson's and his gang made quick word of the dead tree and a bonus took most of the weeds with it!
The Board itself is split into two section, donors who have made multiple or large donations to the Museum at the top in gold and smaller more recent donors at the bottom on the silver. This will allow the Museum to be very responsive to our donors and acknowledge their contributions in a timely and appropriate manner.
Thank you once again to all those who have assisted with the Museums development over the last 50 years!
Special thanks is also extended to Viv Baker for the fabulous deal we received on the gold plaques.
A huge thank you to Mr. Thomas Dean of Blacksheep landscaping for his continued support and work on the Museum's gardens. His dedication put the finishing touches on the Southern gardens at the Museum. Our bench is now nicely framed by beautiful patio stones and the ground cover will be tough enough for people to walk on to reach the bench. Mr. Dean has been volunteering his talents and time to assist Museum staff with this project and we are GREATLY appreciative his generosity and we are awed by his talent.
Electric Eclectics Sound-Art Installation CYMATIC IMPRINTS
The Meeaford Museum is proud to be hosting an art installation by artist Donna Legault as part of the preparations for the Electric Eclectics Festival being held from July 29th to 31st.
The installation, called Cymatic Imprints, offers visitors the experience of physically engaging with their sonic environment. In this multi-sensory installation, a custom computer program transforms the sounds made by visitors into speaker motion by transposing the pitch to sub-audible levels. The movements of the speakers generate movements of extensions (jewellery grade chain) which then make contact with the floor creating patterns in the sand. The sounds made by the chains on the floor sounds mingle with those of viewers and ambient noise to create a causal loop of co-responsive activity with limitless variation.
Donna, an artist from Ottawa working in the field of electronic art, sound installation, sculpture and performance, will be hosting a larger version of this installation at the Funny Farm during the festival and has had even larger versions in numerous locations across Ontario during the last year.
All those who have visited the installation have been fascinated with this responsive art. Clapping, whistling, singing and giggling can be heard from visitors of all ages as they watch their sounds come alive.
Genealogical Research Services Centralized at the Meaford Museum
Meaford, ON: Until last week persons wanting to do genealogical research on families from the Meaford area needed to split their time between the Meaford Public Library and the Meaford Museum. That changed with the centralization of this service at the Meaford Museum.
Both facilities started off with the same information and have expanded on it over the last 30 years. Since the Museum re-opened in 2007 it has become increasingly obvious that the service needed to be centralized. Until the Museum was open year round it made sense to offer genealogical research services at the Library, however, with an increase in Museum open hours the situation changed.
The Museum has seen a steady increase in research requests and has been working diligently to improve their research room facility. In addition, the Museum can offer the unique ability to show families artifacts and pictures that the library does not have access to.
After gaining agreement from both Boards the Library transferred materials for genealogical research to the Museum. The Museum now hosts a wide variety of resources including: family histories, local history books, assessment roles, census information, cemetery information, various voters lists, over 2500 pictures, the artifact collection and more.
“We’re very excited to be able to offer improved research services to the community. Genealogy is the fastest growing hobby in North America and we firmly believe that is an important part of our mission.” commented Museum Curator Pamela Woolner.
The Meaford Library continues to have books on local history and how to research your family tree available and also provides free access to Ancestry.com.. "We have moved our collection of books on the history of the area to the Reference Room and are pleased to have an additional meeting room available for community use," according to Elisa Chandler, CEO/Chief Librarian of the Meaford Public Library. To book the new meeting room please visit the Library at 15 Trowbridge St. W or call 519-538-1060, ext. 1123. The library catalogue and electronic resources are at www.meafordlibrary.on.ca.
Two new series of postcards are available at the Meaford Museum in the gift shop. One series is of historical scenes and the other pictures of Museum artifacts. Check out our gift ship page under "Other Items" to see them.
Come down and visit with the Jolly Old Man himself after the Santa Claus Parade on Saturday, December 4th. The parade starts at approximately 6:00 pm and parents and children are welcome to follow him down to the Museum. Please remember to bring your camera to capture this precious moment.
Santa is visiting on behalf of the Meaford Kinsmen Club.
For more information please call Curator Pamela Woolner at 519-538-5974 or Kinsmen Rep. Shawn Keily at 519-538-2311.
Written: November 1st, 2010
By: Pamela Woolner, Curator
As part of the new Municipal Portal the Meaford Museum now has a new website for you to enjoy and explore. Our web address continues to be www.meafordmuseum.ca but we can also be accessed from the Municipal home page under 'Quick Links' or by going through the 'Community → Arts and Culture' tab.
Launched November 1st this site includes:
♦ interactive surveys and buttons (i.e. Who is this?)
♦ information on the collection and new arrivals into the collection
♦ a regular news blog from the Curator
♦ more frequent updates
♦ more complete information for potential visitors and researchers
♦ a link to the Museum's Facebook page
At our Volunteer/Supporter Appreciation event on Saturday we had a wonderful turn out. The Staff and Board of the Meaford Museum would like to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers and supporters who assisted the Museum in some manner during 2010. We had fantastic statistics this year that will make applying for grants in 2011 even easier. Take a look at this!
OVER 135 volunteers
2 full time staff positions