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New museum exhibit examines Headwaters’ past, present, future

April 27, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

The Dufferin County Museum and Archives (DCMA) will launch a new exhibit early next month with the unprecedented spread taking an in-depth look at the past, present and future of the Headwaters region.

Appropriately named ‘True Grit’, the exhibit features 45 individuals and 26 different themes that embody the rich history and deep sense for community that flows through Dufferin County, says museum curator Sarah Robinson.

Since taking up her position with the organization back in October of 2014, Ms. Robinson has made it a priority to put on the “most interesting and engaging” exhibits possible. On the face of things, it appears the museum has knocked it out of the park with its latest offering.

“To really try and put this in a nutshell, our latest exhibit is all about the people, both past and present, that have built this community up into what it is today. It is our stories that make this County unique. Dufferin County has grown and changed, but one thing always remains the same and that’s our pioneering spirit. Our True Grit,” Ms. Robinson said.

With various themes covering such professionals as doctors, police officers, photographers and teachers complementing spreads on local entrepreneurs, politicians, theatre groups and athletes, True Grit truly is a who’s who and a what’s what of Dufferin County.

Taking up most of the wall space in the main foyer of the museum, each theme includes photos – both old and new – as well as extensive write-ups describing the “now and then” of each feature. Various associated artifacts will also be displayed prominently in the professional display.

“We certainly had a lot to choose from when we were deciding what we’d like to feature… Dufferin County has such a rich history in a lot of different areas that it was difficult to narrow it down to the 26 themes we selected,” Ms. Robinson said. “One thing we wanted to make sure we did was to make the exhibit as much of a representation of the county as possible. We wanted to show the diversity of the region.”

She added, “The big thing for me though is that as much as it’s a comparison between the then and now of Dufferin County and displaying how much we’ve changed, in a lot of ways I feel it also shows how much we’ve stayed the same. It shows that we’ve managed to maintain ourselves as a quaint little county in Ontario and retain our small-town feel, which is nice.”

Having started the process back in October, Ms. Robinson estimates the exhibit took roughly six months to put together. Now though, she’s just excited to be able to raise the curtain on a display she’s certain will capture the imagination of the community.

“We’re very excited to share this with people. We’ve had a lot of fantastic exhibits in the past, but I think this one is a little unique because it’s all about people – our people of Dufferin County,” Ms. Robinson said. “A lot of our exhibits in the past have focused on certain objects, but this time we’ve switched things up a little bit and decided to connect artifacts to the people that have made this into such a great community. It’s definitely different from anything we’ve done before.”

Just to further promote how different this exhibit is, Ms. Robinson noted it would be the first DCMA presentation to feature interactive technology.

“We decided to step into the 21st century with this exhibit, so that means we’re going to have iPad stations and interactive screens set up beside a lot of the cases that will feature different photos and videos further explaining the significance of that particular theme,” Ms. Robinson said. “We’re going to have a big interactive panel at the front of the facility and will also be launching an app specifically for this exhibit in the fall, where people will be able to access audio interviews of all the people featured. It’s a really cool feature and we’re looking forward to rolling it out.”

The new exhibit will officially open Saturday of next week, May 6, with a special launch event penciled in for 6 p.m. Admission to the launch will by donation only, with those in attendance treated to some food and live entertainment.

“People should come out and see this because, more than likely, you’re going to know somebody that’s included,” Ms. Robinson said. “There’s just something cool because coming into a museum and seeing, in a very large format, your neighbour, or your doctor, or someone that runs your favourite store in town. This is a special exhibit and we hope as many people from our community as possible come and check it out.”

         

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