Submitted by Michael Whittaker
The Merrickville and District Historical Society (MDHS) completed a very successful year with an annual general meeting Tuesday, November 29.
“New and expanded activities contributed to our community outreach and the promotion of the Blockhouse Museum in 2016,” said re-elected president Ann Martin. “The six members of the MDHS board and our member volunteers were vital to our success.”
Four special exhibits were created: two for the Merrickville Public Library; one for Merrickville Celebrates Women; and a fourth for the Merrickville Agricultural Fair. Special Blockhouse Museum openings welcomed visitors travelling on the Kawartha Queen.
The Hon. James Bartleman, 27th Lt. Gov. of Ontario, the special guest at the April annual dinner, highlighted the society’s February to November public lecture series.
Ms. Martin noted that Merrickville-Wolford’s special mention for heritage by Communities in Bloom was contributed to by Blockhouse Manager Angela Beking’s preparation to address the judges as per the evaluation goals established by Communities in Bloom.
Despite bad weather marring the Blockhouse Festival, Merrickville Celebrates Women and the Car Show, the number of museum visitors hit 10,251, on par with previous years. The ability of the summer students to provide services in English and French was very important because almost 50 per cent of the visitors were Francophones.
Beyond meeting and greeting, the student employees took on the essential tasks of upgrading exhibit interpretation (including a scavenger hunt for visiting school groups), drafting artifact condition reports, reviewing the MDHS’ collection of Indigenous objects, and translation work.
“They also took to the streets, from time to time, in period clothes to chat with visitors and local businesses,” said Ms. Martin. “This is one of the Merrickville and District Historical Society’s contributions to promoting local heritage and attracting tourists.”
The MDHS introduced a new logo this year, thanks to Chris Chinkiwsky at COBA Studios. A new Web page will be launched in 2017.
In 2017, the MDHS plans to be active with a number of contributions to Canada 150 commemorations.