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.
Our Ordinary, Extraordinary Lives
Viara Mileva, Photographer
The most meaningful memories of our lives are from ordinary moments. The moments of honest connection between a child and parent. The joy of discovery. The thrill of childhood play. The tender touch from a loved one. This exhibition addresses moments which often go unnoticed, and for which people don’t often pay attention to, the moments which we easily miss. The ‘everyday’ moments.
Only in hindsight, do we realize the importance of these moments. They are foundational. They shape who we are. Through vivid colour photographs of families living their lives in Lennox and Addington County, visitors have a chance to experience viscerally and emotionally the “extraordinariness” of ordinary moments in our lives.
About the Photographer:
Viara was born in Bulgaria, and has lived in the United Kingdom, Saskatchewan, Toronto, and the Netherlands. Before becoming a photographer, she was a parenting scientist. Viara earned her PhD, analyzing thousands of mothers playing with their babies and she noticed tiny changes in facial expressions, small movements, and family dynamics. These are important to her photography today.
Viara now lives on an acreage in Lennox and Addington County, with her husband, three children, and a menagerie of animals. Her days are spent with the crow of roosters out the window, while she drinks ALL the coffee and spreads the joy of loving life, loving your real self, and being forgiving of yourself as a parent.
A Place to Call Home
Life in Lennox & Addington County
This long narrow strip of country that we call home has many stories to tell. Shaped through its history, geography, people, towns and industries, this exhibit promotes a feeling of belonging as it introduces you to the significance of Lennox and Addington County.
This historical journey through the County will answer questions about what, where, why, and how the County came to be and explore the diversity of the land and life in Lennox and Addington today.
This brand new semi-permanent exhibit establishes a new look and tone for exhibit development at the museum. This engaging exhibit lets you discover the County’s history, biodiversity, agriculture, and industry through the use colourful maps, photographs, anecdotes, and artifacts. Lennox and Addington really is Our Place To Call Home.
All Aboard To Kaladar
A Peek At The Vault of the Lennox and Addington Archives
Before the arrival of the Ottawa-Toronto section of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in the 1880s, the hamlet of Kaladar had only a hotel and post office. The Kaladar Station was a welcome boost to the rural, sparsely populated area, and by 1889, Kaladar could add a general store, a flour mill and sawmill to its list of businesses.
Explore the once lively hamlet of Kaladar through a careful curation of archival materials that includes photographs, train schedules, historic maps, and tourism ephemera.
Affectionately Yours – A Collection of L&A Love Stories
Behind every great love story there is a story to tell and with that things to tell it! It is not just about these things left behind, it is about the exhilaration of that unique human connection, and everyone once in a while we get to glimpse at those memories left behind through photographs, letters, and objects.
These touchable memories tell the story of first kisses, shared laughter and sorrow, adventures sought, milestones reached, hurdles crossed, and the unique roads travelled when you choose to share your life with another person. Affectionately Yours explores these objects of love left behind and the stories they tell.
Affectionately Yours is a brand new in house curated exhibit presented in the museum’s recently renovated new gallery space. The original intent of this area of the museum, formerly the County Jail, was to serve as the Jailer’s residence. This renovated space pays homage to that time but has been updated as a welcoming exhibit gallery that invites Lennox and Addington stories to be told in all shapes and sizes, old or new.
"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.