2017 marks an incredibly important year for Canada as we mark the country’s sesquicentennial, but it is also an important local anniversary, as the year marks 150 years since the incorporation of Dysart et al, our township. In fact, the township was established almost six months prior to Confederation with the local Council’s first meeting being held on January 7th, 1867. By this point, the village of Haliburton was starting to become established, with the settlers who had been lured by the promise of good agricultural land by the Canadian Land and Emigration Company having carved out their new homes and more settlers arriving all the time. Throughout 2017, the Municipality of Dysart et al will be celebrating this year’s important birthday with a series of celebrations, kicking off with a party in and around the AJ LaRue Arena on January 7th, starting at 4pm and carrying on into the evening. Join us for outdoor games, local food and drink, a trivia night, a fire and light show, outdoor games, a free public skate and so much more – we hope to see you there!
We invite you to spring at the museum this March Break! Maple syrup and maple sugar we incredibly important sweeteners for early settlers to Haliburton because the white and even brown sugars that are so commonly used today had to be imported from tropical climates which, with Victorian transportation, made them rather pricey. Maple products, by contrast, were fairly commonplace – in fact, in the Haliburton lumber camps, corn syrup was a much more coveted sweetener! That said, maple syrup is undoubtedly a labour of love as it takes 40 litres of sap to produce a mere litre of syrup! Every year we tap approximately 25 of our maple trees on the property and make syrup just as the settlers would have in huge metal sap kettle over an open fire. We’ll be open every day of March Break for you to check out the process (and taste the results!) as well as enjoying kids’ crafts, other tasty treats and fun contests. On the Tuesday, Thursday and Friday of the break, we’ll also have other extra special kids’ programs – check out our event page for more details!
We’re incredibly excited to share the details of these fantastic workshops taught by senior mentors in the community! Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn traditional skills from people who are masters in their fields!
Tatter (Delicate Lace)-Basic/Beginner Level
Workshop Date: Tuesday, August 4, 2015 – 10-12pm
Workshop Participants: Open to ages 12 and up; maximum # of participants is 5
Oil Painting-Basic/Beginner Level
Workshop Date: Tuesday, August 4, 2015 – 10-12pm
Workshop Participants: Open to ages 10 and up; maximum # of participants is 3-4
Hand Spinning-Basic/Beginner Level
Workshop Date: Thursday, August 6, 2015 – 10-12pm
Workshop Participants: Open to ages 8 and up; maximum # of participants is 8-10
Workshop Dates: Tuesday August 11 & Wednesday August 12, 2015 – 10-12pm
Workshop Participants: Open to ages 6 and up; maximum # of participants is 6
Workshop Date: Tuesday August 18, 2015 – 10-12pm
Workshop Participants: Open to ages 10 and up; maximum # of participants is 5
Yarn Dyeing-Basic/Beginner Level
Workshop Date: Saturday, September 5, 2015 – 10-12pm
Workshop Participants: Open to ages 8 and up; maximum # of participants is 4-6
Jam Preserve Canning -Basic/Beginner Level
Workshop Date: Saturday, September 19, 2015 (tentative date, please call to confirm)
Workshop Date: Saturday, September 26, 2015 – 10-12pm
Workshop Participants: Open to ages 8 and up; maximum # of participants is 6
Registration: Space is limited!! Please register by contacting Kate Butler at
(705) 457-2760, or by email at email@example.com
Victoria Day weekend is drawing to a close, but we’re still super busy at the museum getting ready for all our upcoming summer activities! We’ve been researching topics as varied as traditional pottery techniques, Victorian fashion and the journals of early surveyors as we plan this year’s Heritage Happenings program. The program starts as soon as school ends and runs every Wednesday and Friday morning. It’s a drop in program for kids aged 6-12 and we warn you, it’s addictive – kids definitely become regulars around here which makes us extremely happy!
What the Dickens are you doing on December 21st? We invite you to come to the museum and join us for a special reading of that classic holiday tale of transformation and the holiday spirit(s): A Christmas Carol. Dickens wrote the novella in the lead-up to Christmas 1843 at a time when the interest in celebrating Christmas was starting to be rejuvenated by Queen Victoria and her young family, but its content was reputedly inspired by the plight of many families Dickens had encountered who had been touched by the Industrial Revolution in Britain. People of all ages were being forced to move to urban centres in search of employment and the work that they found often involved poor pay and long hours, even for children. In his depiction of the miser Scrooge’s enlightenment at the hands of a variety of spirits, Dickens hoped to inspire all his readers to take better care of their fellow man.
A Christmas Carol proved to be such a sensation that Dickens took it on the road and began public readings across Britain and further afield. He shortened and condensed the text to make it more suitable for a public presentation and it’s that script that we’ll draw from on the 21st. You can join in the reading or simply sit back, relax and enjoy the story. We’ll kick off the reading at 2:00pm. Holiday refreshments will be served and everyone is welcome – what better way could there be to spend the shortest day of the year than with a story that warms the heart?
It’s hard to believe that another summer at the Haliburton Highlands Museum has flown by and that autumn is upon us! For early settlers to the Haliburton area, this was an incredibly important time of year, as all the crops were coming in off the fields and needed to be preserved for the coming winter. In an era before refrigeration, there would be a mad scramble to can, pickle, dry and salt everything you could.
We’re used to pickled cucumbers, but how about pickled cauliflower and beans gracing your table? The settlers wouldn’t have had the modern canning equipment we have today, so they would have employed different techniques to seal their preserves, including using animal bladder to cover the jars! The dried bladder would be soaked in water to bring back its elasticity and then stretched over the top of a jar and tied with string. Once it dried it would become an airtight seal, almost like the top of a drum. Another technique involved soaking heavy paper in egg white, then stretching it over the jar – when the egg white dried it would provide an airtight seal. Now, aren’t you glad that we can simply go to the store and buy a jar of jam these days?
Despite the drizzly weather in Haliburton today, summer will soon be here! We’ll be welcoming a summer student to our team at the museum in just two weeks and then we’ll be getting ready to mark that oh so Canadian start to summer and the cottaging season – Victoria Day! In 1864, when Haliburton Village was first being settled, Queen Victoria had already been on the throne for twenty-seven years, having become queen at the tender age of eighteen on the death of her uncle William IV. Her marriage to Prince Albert had produced nine children, eight of whom would eventually sit on the thrones of various European Royal Houses, earning her the nickname “Grandmother of Europe”.
The first celebration of Victoria Day, as we know it, occurred in 1945, and by the mid-1850’s, it had become such a popular celebration that 5000 Toronto residents (a sizable portion of the population at the time!) gathered downtown to mark the occasion. In the decades to follow, the date of this celebration would continue to move around until it eventually became the Monday immediately before the 25th of May, thus giving us a long weekend. Whether you’re a fan of Canada’s relationship with the British monarchy or not, there are few people who will say that a long weekend celebration is a bad thing, so we hope that you’ll join us on May18th for games, treats, crafts and the kind of celebration that Queen Victoria herself would have gotten a kick out of – we have it on good authority that she had a much better sense of fun than those solemn pictures of her would suggest!
I’ve been talking to lots of people who keep meaning to visit the museum, but just haven’t found the time yet. If this is you, you’re in luck! On Friday, September 27th, we’ll be open all evening in celebration of Culture Days — a brilliant Canada-wide initiative that encourages people to get involved with arts and heritage. The main museum building and historic Reid House will be open, as well as our log farmstead (which is normally only open during the summer months). Stop by on your way home from work or bring the family after dinner to spend the evening. You can try your hand at some old-fashioned arts and crafts like quilling or weaving or perhaps you’d prefer to enjoy a cup of tea and something sweet on Reid House’s beautiful wrap-around porch or visit with our blacksmith… We’ll be here until 10:00pm and we can’t wait to welcome you!
It’s that exciting time of year when the museum starts to resemble a library (though, as you can see, not a very organized one – yet!) Yes, it’s less than a week until our annual book sale! From Ian Rankin to Jane Austen, cookbooks to computer books, and everything in between, we have it!
The museum book sale has become a tradition over the years for many local residents and cottagers – a great opportunity to stock up on summer reading and find some hidden gems – but our book sale is also a hugely important fundraiser for the museum. Money raised through this event helps us to provide new programs and exhibits at the museum, as well as other fun and exciting events.
We hope you’ll join us on July 27th between 10am and 4pm!
We’ve had an amazing couple of weeks of donations with each item being even more interesting than the one before, but this one really caught our eyes as a piece of recent history. This is a sample of a flag that was proposed to represent Canada. The maple leaf flag, which is today considered such an emblem of Canada, is actually quite new, only having been adopted in 1965.
Prior to its adoption, there was great debate within the Canadian government as to what emblem would best represent the country in the replacement of the Canadian Red Ensign. Over 3000 design proposals for the new flag were received, with the maple leaf being by far the most commonly chosen symbol of our country. Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson was a great fan of this version of the flag – so much so that it came to be known as “Pearson’s Pennant”, but it was ultimately George Stanley’s design inspired by the flag of the Royal Military College of Canada which was to prove the winner.