Friday, 16 December 2011

A Big Farewell

 Sarah Forsyth (second from the left)

Today is a sad day for us as we say a final farewell to one of our team, Sarah Forsyth, our curator of collections.   It's hard to believe that 5 years ago Sarah started as a part time employee working at both the Goulbourn Museum and Nepean Museum.  Shortly afterwards Sarah was made a permanent employee of the Goulbourn Museum and has been with us ever since.  During these past years Museum has undergone many changes and Sarah has been with us through them all, always weathering whatever challenge that comes her way with a candid sense of humour and great success.  To say she has been a vital part of our museum is an understatement.  

Coffee runs, artefact foraging, museum re-arrangements and staff training will never be the same.  Our team will experience a great loss in her absence. 

We'll Miss You Sarah!  All the best in your new endeavours.

The Museum Ladies
You can leave any farewells or comments for Sarah on our Facebook page

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The mural mystery

Where is this mural actually located?
I first saw the historical painting by C.W. Jefferys in the Carleton Saga, by Harry and Olive Walker (p.53) with the caption that it is the soldier-settlers of 100th Regiment of Foot building a rough road to their new settlement of Richmond in 1818. The image shows, on the right side, Capt. George Burke and Sgt. Andrew Hill, and other soldiers from the 100th Regiment which served during the War of 1812. Yet the Walkers never give a photo credit to tell us where this mural can be seen.
I have tried researching many sources such as the National Gallery of Canada or Library and Archives Canada but to no avail. Any ideas??
Kurt Johnson, Munster

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Honouring the valour

Photo by Kurt Johnson

I hope others will come to see Maria Hill as a symbol of the pioneer spirit in the face of adversity. She is certainly a Canadian worthy of greater recognition.

Her husband, Sgt. Andrew Hill, whom she accompanied as a nurse, belonged to the 100th Prince Regent’s Regiment of Foot which fought for king and for Canada during the War of 1812. Sgt. Hill led troops into battle on the Niagara frontier where the 100th Regiment was awarded battle honours for bravery. Maria Hill (1791-1881) tended the wounded and dying soldiers on many battlefields such as the carnage at the battle of Chippawa where the 100th suffered terrible casualties.

After the war, the Hills opened a tavern in the new town on the Jock River, hosting the Duke of Richmond on his 1819 tour. When the duke died, she was called upon to use her nursing skills to dress the duke’s body for his funeral.

With next year’s bicentennial commemorations, we will hear a lot about the many regiments of British soldiers who defended the colonies against the American invaders along with the militia from Upper and Lower Canada and First Nations warriors. And we should remember their valour particularly on Remembrance Day for, as historian Donald E. Graves wrote in the Ottawa Citizen “Without their courage and sacrifice, there would be no modern Canada because it would be part of the United States.”

Someday, we should erect a plaque to honour Maria and Andrew Hill who are buried at Beechwood Cemetery in a family plot (above) with many descendants. Her name appears on the grave marker as Maria Taylor for her second husband, Andrew Taylor of Richmond.
Kurt Johnson, Munster

Friday, 11 November 2011

Remembering the Great War

For Remembrance Day, the Goulbourn Museum installed an exhibit at the Stittsville Branch of the Ottawa Public Library called Remembering the Great War. This exhibit includes artefacts from both World Wars, including a helmet, uniform, grooming kit, bayonet, and gas mask, and will be on display until the end of the month.

Brenda Holtz, one of our fabulous volunteers, spent countless hours compiling scrapbooks for us last year. One scrapbook lists veterans of World War One and World War Two from Goulbourn Township, and the other scrapbook holds copies & transcripts of letters from Private Sefton Stewart. Sefton was a soldier who fought and died in the Great War, and who frequently send letters home to his family. Both scrapbooks are included in this exhibit, and we encourage you to read through them.

For more on the exhibit, please see John Curry's article in this week's edition of the Stittsville News (November 10, 2011) on page 13. You can view the Stittsville News online here.

Lest we forget. 

Friday, 21 October 2011

Mansion Mayhem

Here at the Museum, we love to celebrate Halloween. In early October we offered Spooky Fall Crafts, and coming up on Sunday October 30 (from 1-4 p.m.) we’re offering a fun workshop for kids called Mansion Mayhem. These photos are from last year's event.

At Mansion Mayhem, kids decorate graham-cracker haunted houses with candy & icing, make Halloween decorations, and get to go on a spooky tour of the Museum. During the spooky tour we show the darker side of Goulbourn (this is designed to be fun, not scary). Staff and volunteers will be dressed in costume and we encourage kids to do the same :)

This event is filling up fast – call 613-831-2393 or email me to register.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Meet the Artists: Salena Savoury Richard

Salena Savoury Richard will be showcasing her work at Uniquely Goulbourn: Fall Art & Craft Show this Sunday October 16 at the Museum from 1-4. Selena has a small business called Art & Aprons, and designs bib reversible aprons for children and adults. The adult aprons are even customized to your specific height and hip size. Salena also creates wonderful pencil portraits and can use your photos for a personal touch. She is also an abstract painter. See Salena's work at the show this weekend, on her website, or send her an email.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Meet the Artists: Wendy Southin

Wendy Southin has been creating beautiful pieces with art and craft materials for as long as she can remember.  She is currently focusing on jewelry, paper and metal crafts, and has always set up a gorgeous display of jewellery at the Museum's art shows. Wendy also teaches, so if you're interested in a workshop you visit her blog for details.
You can find Wendy and her work on her blog, on Twitter, and on Etsy. And of course, you can meet her and see her work this weekend at the Museum. Uniquely Goulbourn is this Sunday, October 16 from 1-4 at Goulbourn Museum. Email me for more information about the show.

Meet the Artists: Claude LeBel

 Redefined Wood:  Claude LeBel has been turning wood for approximately five years.  He is an active member of the Valley Woodturners in Ottawa and acts as an assistant instructor for the beginner’s woodturning course offered by the club.

Claude has studied under world-renowned woodturners such as Mike Mahoney and Jimmy Clewes.  Claude is passionate about his hobby and his artistic flare adds to the beauty and uniqueness of his creations.  Form and function are important elements in his designs because he is a believer that not only should his creations be nice to look at, they should be used and enjoyed as well.

With only five years experience at woodturning, Claude considers his newly found passion a “work in progress”. However the beauty and creativity of his pieces would suggest otherwise.

See Claude's work at the Museum art & craft show this Sunday October 16 from 1-4, or email him for more details. For details on the art show, email me :)

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Uniquely Goulbourn: Meet the Artists

Uniquely Goulbourn: Fall Art & Craft Show will be at the Museum this Sunday October 16 from 1-4. The show features artists from the greater Goulbourn area and this fall - the show is bigger than ever! We will have artists showing their work within the Museum's exhibits; outside on the grounds; and, even our History Centre will be bustling with creativity: our Yap & Yarn knitting circle will be knitting away during the show.

This week I'd like to showcase some of the fabulous artists we have in our community. Sheila Cain Sample is a local artist who also sits on the Museum's Board of Directors. Sheila curates our art show, and also sets up a display of her own artwork. Sheila works primarily in pencil, but is also known to incorporate other mediums into her work. She is also a fabulous photographer. See Sheila's work on her blog, her photography blog, her Etsy site, or follow her on Twitter.

The art show will be on display at the Museum from 1-4 this Sunday October 16, 2011, and the Yap & Yarn group will be knitting from 1-3 in the History Centre. We hope you'll stop by to check out the artwork and knit a few rows with us :)

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Incredible PBS film worth watching

What do you know about the War of 1812? Sure, you remember Laura Secord, our Canadian heroine trudging through the woods to save British troops; Sir Isaac Brock, the "Saviour of Upper Canada" dying in the Battle of Queenston Heights, and Tecumseh, the great native leader killed making a last stand to fight off the invading American army.

On Monday, October 10, you can watch an incredible two-hour PBS film that is action-packed, entertaining but, most importantly, informative. The filmmakers have stripped away the grand legends and colourful myths to reveal the history that we didn't read in school books.

The War of 1812, which was produced by WNED-TV, Buffalo-Toronto and Florentine Films/Hott Productions Inc., airs at 9 p.m. EDT Monday on our Watertown channel WPBS.

What really happened 200 years ago? The documentary strikes a balance of viewpoints in pursuit of the "inconvenient truths" about this war involving the United States, Britain, the Canadian colonies, and North American first nations. We get the straight answers from 26 expert commentators who number 10 Canadians, 10 Americans, three natives and three Britons.
We read and hear the actual words of the generals, native warriors, foot soldiers and even civilians. War re-enactors shoulder muskets and shoot cannons to recreate the battles; actors give voice to the defining moments in the war's two and a half years.

On the PBS website, there are valuable resources for viewing such as the making of the documentary, essays from all perspectives, guides to historic sites and suggested educators lessons. For more information, visit this website.
Email to Kurt Johnson at

Friday, 30 September 2011

Decorating for the Weekend

Spooky Fall Crafts is this Sunday (October 2) and we're getting in the Halloween spirit. Staff are debating between costumes to wear this Sunday (and hoping the kids come in costume, too!), and we're picking through decorations to put up. Earlier this week we made crafts on CTV Morning Live, and the bottom bat with the purple body and black wings was made by host Lianne Laing - read more about the day here.

At the moment there are only three spots left for Spooky Fall Crafts, so if you are interested in attending, send me an email or give me a call at 613-831-2393 to register. To see photos of last year's event, click here.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

CTV Ottawa Morning Live


CTV Ottawa Morning Live is on the road and traveling to nearby communities for 'Live Where You Live'. Today the morning show was broadcasting live from Stittsville's Village Square from 6 a.m. until 10 a.m.

We are happy to say we were part of the action. Tracey Donaldson and I made crafts with host Liane Laing. This coming Sunday October 2 we have family event called Spooky Fall Crafts to start celebrating Halloween. Send me an email to register :)

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Reading about the War of 1812

With the bicentennial celebrations months away, people may be wondering what they should know about the War of 1812.

Most of us learnt about the War of 1812 back in Grade 7 history lessons, and we probably only recall the names of Laura Secord, Isaac Brock and Tecumseh. We may have little understanding of the contributions of thousands of people who fought for King and Canada on the battlefields of this continental war.

At the Goulbourn Museum, we tell about the 100th Prince Regent's County of Dublin Regiment of Foot, which served with distinction in the War of 1812. And in 1818, the Irish lads came to Richmond to settle the town and surrounding farms, becoming our pioneer settlers.

My former Ottawa Citizen colleague, Kate Heartfield, asked friends to submit a favourite book about the War of 1812. Mine is Dianne Graves' book, In the Midst of Alarms: The untold story of women and the War of 1812 (see book cover above).

If you want to broaden your knowledge of the War of 1812, read Kate Heartfield's blog here where she lists numerous books -- most are available through the Ottawa Public Library.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

What a fun-filled September!

Scarecrows from Autumn, Apples & Acorns:

Photos from Stittsville's Villagefest:

What a busy weekend for the Museum! On Saturday we participated in Stittsville's Villagefest, and on Sunday we offered our monthly family activity program called Autumn, Apples & Acorns.
We couldn't have asked for better weather or company at Villagefest. At our booth we displayed reproductions of scrapbooks that the Museum has in its collection (featured here). We also had visitors put their handprint on two boards that will be display on the inside of the Museum's front door.
For Autumn, Apples & Acorns kids made three crafts to take home inside the Museum, then ventured outside to work in teams and create full size scarecrows to decorate the Museum's booth at the Richmond Fair from Sept 17-19, 2011. 

Our next family activity day is Spooky Fall Crafts on Sunday October2, 2011. Email me for details or to register. We will also be in the Agricultural Building at the Richmond Fair this year, and have our next Yap & Yarn knitting circle meeting at the Museum on Sunday September 18 from 1-3.