Museum exhibit includes rarely seen local photos

April 1, 2015   ·   0 Comments

This Saturday, the Dufferin County Museum and Archives (DCMA) will launch a new exhibit featuring some rarely seen pictures and artifacts of local businesses, establishments and amenities that helped shape the Dufferin community throughout its history.

The exhibit, If Walls Could Talk, is designed to honour the stories of the County’s past through the buildings the stories started in.

“If Walls Could Talk is about the people who built the historic buildings in Dufferin County, and the craftsmanship that went into their construction,” explained Nanci Malek, Marketing and Promotions Coordinator at the DCMA.

“It is about the places people called home, their local watering hole, where they worshipped, where they shopped and much more. One may pass a building and not know of how many lives were lived there, how many families passed through the door and how businesses were run within the walls.”

The official launch, Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m., is designed to engage families through a number of family-friendly activities, including learning stations throughout the main exhibit where kids can explore lumbering, bridge-building, stained glass windows, and the tools and machines that were used to build these strong, stable structures.

“This exhibit is a great opportunity for parents and grandparents to teach children about the history of their community,” said Ms. Malek. “The exhibit features children’s activities located in our exhibit case drawers. Children will enjoy opening the drawers to discover an activity related to the artifacts on display. Our hope is that this will help children connect with the exhibit.”

She added that on Saturday exclusively, there will also be additional hands-on activities and crafts related to the stained-glass windows, construction and more. While the kids are kept busy, adults will have the chance to experience the different parts of the exhibit throughout the museum.

“We have so many stories, artifacts and archival information from these buildings and we’d like to share them with the public,” said Ms. Malek.

One local building patrons will have the opportunity to learn about is the Orangeville Monument Works, which originated on First Street in the late 1860s, and changed hands several times before moving to its current location on Broadway. The building has 117 years of history, making it the longest-running commercial enterprise on Broadway.

Another building that will be featured in the exhibit is The American Hotel, which saw its first advertisement in the Sun Newspaper on April 20, 1876.

“The building was destroyed by a fire on June 1, 1877, and the cause is still a mystery,” explained Ms. Malek.

The hotel was rebuilt in 1881, and operated until 1931 before being sold and converted into a service station and garage, eventually becoming an office building and home to the Citizen, WillTrade Commodities and Digital Vision Security.

If the Walls Could Talk will run throughout  2015 and into 2016, with Ms. Malek adding that there are so many stories to tell, that one visit won’t cover it all. Entry to the event launch on April 4th will be donation-based.

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