The story of the settlement and historical development of Lennox & Addington County is highlighted in a number of themed exhibits displayed within the old County Gaol.
Artifacts from the textile, furniture, domestic arts, tools and equipment collections of the Museum & Archives are showcased on a changing basis. Occasional guest exhibitions are also presented.
Now on Exhibit
Revisiting Special Moments: A Retrospective
Reflecting the life of Amherst Island, friends, and family
February 4 - April 6, 2019
Don't miss Shirley Miller's exhibit currently on display entitled Revisiting Special Moments: A Retrospective.
Shirley is a long time resident of Amherst Island, many of her art pieces reflect the life of the island, friends, and family. Over 20 pieces of her work will be displayed at the museum until April 6, 2019.
From Shirley Miller:
Many years of school bus driving taught me that every day ordinary places that I had passed morning and night for many years could suddenly be spectacular because of the sun, a storm or the season. Special moments can happen anywhere and a camera let me take them home. If I got excited enough, a painting would happen and sometimes a poem as well. I often say "if you aren't excited how can you expect your viewer to be excited”.
“I could always draw. David Wick came to the Island in the early 1970s with a night school class in watercolours, it is there I learned about real paint and paper and brushes. I have been painting ever since and had my first show in 1979. I started teaching friends about painting but I think I have learned the most.” - Shirley Miller, Artist
Museum at Play
A museum is defined as "a building in which objects of historical, scientific, artistic, or cultural interest are stored and exhibited". In the strictist terms this is what a museum is, however a museum in today's world is so much more than static objects behind glass. Museums can capture a sense of wonder, imagination, creativity, and fun all the while educating about the past.
Our newest exhibit "Museum @ Play" introduces the sense of fun and learning that happens at the museum. Museums are building a reputation of becoming hubs for the community and giving people a better sense of place and connection.
Museums are about hands on learning - touching, smelling, hearing, and tasting. Exhibits and events lean on these senses to make experiences memorable. Inspired by the museum collection and communal traditions, "Museum @ Play" will showcase that sense of place and play created by our museum visitors and local collectors.
Series 1: Snow Expressions
The first exhibition in this series is entitled "Snow Expressions". Our December school program welcomed students to hand sculpt snow people inspired by themselves. The students ranged from grade 1 - 3. The sculptures reflect bodily features such as hair and eye colour, they also demonstrate favourite activiest, sports, animals, and some wishes.
We thank all participating schools... Cornerstone Christian Academy, Fairfield Elementary School, Amherst Island Public School, Central Public School, Bath Public School, St. Patrick Catholic School, Selby Public School, & Southview Public School.
A Day’s Fun On The River
A colourful vignette of the Napanee River is featured in the central gallery, set against the backdrop of an OC Madden painting, the magic and sense of fun on the Napanee River will come alive as you see beachwear from the 1920s and 1930s and revel at the story of the “Red Devil”, the first motorboat that ferried our weekenders to the summer camps on the Long Reach and Bay of Quinte.
Camping On The Bay
At the Napanee docks, the “Red Devil” ferried W.S. Herrington, his family and colleagues to Camp LeNid. This photographic display, featured in the Archives Corridor, highlights leisure activities enjoyed at Camp LeNid from 1886 - 1947.
"Confederation Era Entrepreneurs"
By the 1860’s, the population of the County had grown to allow Lennox and Addington to become independent and a new Court House and jail were built in the mill reserve. Napanee, at the head of the falls, became the County Town. John Stevenson, Napanee’s Reeve, was also the first County Warden. Confederation, the forging together of the provinces of British North America, passed almost unnoticed in the local press. The County’s First Warden became the first Speaker of the new Ontario Legislature. In the post Confederation era, Italianate styled houses began to dominate Napanee architecture. William Miller, an East Ward merchant, built a new Italianate styled house near the Court House. Proximity to the Court House and the railway station made East Street a desirable area.
Inside the houses were well furnished. In 1868 when young William T. Gibbard joined his father, John, in the business, elaborate carved sideboards became a defining product of Gibbard and Sons.
William Miller’s carved game sideboard and Renaissance Revival Gibbard bedroom suite are on display in the Gibbard gallery.
"The Horse and Buggy Age"
The years after Confederation to the Great War which erupted in 1914, were the decades when the “Horse and Buggy Age” was at its height. Each farm family possessed one or two light carriages of which the buggy was the most important, and the democrat, a rig with two or three benches, was almost as important. Although the blacksmith remained essential in rural communities, the small foundries and factories strung along the County’s rivers began to build versions of the most popular new inventions.
It was also a great wheat period and a time of hearty work in the fields. The pace of farming quickened with improvements in farm machinery. New foundries, mills and manufacturing plants were built taking advantage of water power sites along the Napanee River. D.B. Stickney’s Newburgh foundry built reapers and Joseph Connolly in Yarker produced a variety of ploughs. The Benjamin Wheel Manufacturing Company in Yarker produced rims and spokes for wagon and buggy wheels.
A Connolly democrat, a C.H. Finkle cutter and a Stickney reaper are featured in the Horse and Buggy Age.