|Fiddle, Higginson, Vankleek Hill. Object ID: 2022-001-002 a.|
|Fiddle in Case, Higginson, Vankleek Hill. Object ID: 2022-001-002 b.|
|Fiddle, Higginson, Vankleek Hill. Object ID: 2022-001-002 a.|
|Fiddle in Case, Higginson, Vankleek Hill. Object ID: 2022-001-002 b.|
The Glengarry Pioneer Museum strives to preserve and share the stories of countless Scottish settlers and their descendants who have made Glengarry County their home over several generations. While you enjoy a pipe competition or two this weekend at the nearby Glengarry Highland Games, we invite you to wander just a few minutes down the road from the Maxville fairgrounds to the Glengarry Pioneer Museum, where several artifacts associated with Glengarry's Scottish roots can be found.
This mysterious set of bagpipes for instance may be a potentially valuable and rare piece of Glengarry's Scottish heritage. They are believed to have once belonged to a member of the Royal Highland Regiment (The Black Watch), which was the regiment that surveilled the Scottish highlands for signs of rebellion following the Jacobite Rising of the 18th century. It has long been claimed that these pipes had been played at the battle of Waterloo in 1815. As the story goes, an elderly Scottish man roamed into Glengarry with a set of pipes that he professed to have played during the battle. The pipes were given to a man he worked for and they were later donated to the museum in 1975.
The Glengarry Pioneer Museum is gearing up to welcome local art enthusiasts to the vernissage of the Glengarry Artists' Collective's latest exhibit, on Saturday, July 29th.Visitors from far and wide will soon have the chance to marvel at recent art work made by local Glengarry artists on display from July 29th-August 13th inside the Big Beaver Schoolhouse on the museum's grounds.
The Glengarry Pioneer Museum itself preserves art that captures the natural beauty of the Glengarry landscape in our artefact collection. In fact, early features of the village of Dunvegan and other nearby communities can be spotted in a number of these pieces as they would have once appeared to the pioneer inhabitants of this area.
Scenes depicted in the oil paintings of Dunvegan artist and first curator of the Glengarry Pioneer Museum, Christina Ferguson (1897-1980), provide a rare peak into what the village of Dunvegan would have looked like between the late 19th century and mid 20th century. Although many of the buildings that Ferguson documented underwent decades of alterations by the time her pieces were created in the 1960's and 70's, Ferguson captured the likeness of the original structures using oral histories and photographs of the buildings as they originally stood from the museum's collection and from members of the local community. Imagine yourself stepping into scenes of old Glengarry as envisioned by Ferguson and other Glengarry artists of the past while you peer through a selection of these paintings below.
Christina Ferguson (b. 1897, d. 1980). The MacRae Hotel in Dunvegan. Object ID: 1985-003-018.
|Catherine McEwen. Titled "Barn at the Museum". Object ID: 1986-010-001.|
|Christina Ferguson (b. 1897, d. 1980). The D.K. McLeod store in Dunvegan. Object ID: 2011-006-001.|
|Christina Ferguson (b. 1897, d. 1980). J.A. Stewart's blacksmith shop in Dunvegan (1973). Object ID: 1985-003-019.|
We look forward to welcoming the Glengarry Artist's Collective and local art enthusiasts alike to the Glengarry Pioneer Museum over the two weeks of their show. While you're here to take in the exhibit, we invite you to explore the museum grounds and country lanes around the village of Dunvegan, where you may stumble upon some of the scenes depicted in Ferguson's paintings and others housed in the museum's collection.
We hope to see you soon!
|Photo of a theatre group taken by Duncan Donovan in Alexandria, c. 1920. Object ID: 2010-000-016.|
Photo of the St. Andrew’s Cross Garden, July 2023.
Patrons who have recently paid a visit to the Glengarry Pioneer Museum over the past few weeks may have spotted two brand-new additions to the museum’s grounds. Thanks to the fundraising efforts of the Maxville Horticultural Society, leadership of Glengarry Pioneer Museum volunteer and gardener, Allison Hall, and a handful of others, one new interpretive garden signs and one reprinted garden sign have been installed at two of the museum’s Heritage Gardens. These signs will introduce visitors to the flowers and many different medicinal and culinary plants and herbs that grow in the Rose Garden, located south of the Loyal Orange Lodge, and the St. Andrew’s Cross Garden, located north of the Star Inn near the Dunvegan village crossroads.
This photo of the Star Inn depicts the current location of the St. Andrew’s Cross Garden as it would have appeared in the late 1980s. Object ID: 2011-000-071.
The diverse variety of the herbs and plants that can be found in the museum’s Heritage Gardens have either been donated by families living in the Glengarry area, or they have been obtained from heritage plant sources such as Upper Canada Village and other suppliers. Many pioneer households would have grown an array of plants and herbs in areas that were easily accessible to the kitchens, or summer kitchens, of the family residence. Plants and herbs were not only widely used for culinary purposes, but also for their dyeing and medicinal properties when access to healthcare or physicians would have been rare for those who lived in rural communities like the early inhabitants of the Glengarry area.
One such plant that is currently in bloom in the St. Andrew’s Cross Garden and featured on the garden’s new interpretive sign is Chamomile. This plant, also known by its botanical name, Chamaemelum Nobile, would have been routinely used by pioneers in the Glengarry area for medicinal purposes. Chamomile is a member of the daisy family, known as Compositae, and has its origins in Europe and North America where it is grown wild and cultivated in sunny and well-drained sites. Its white flowers contain an aromatic oil that were at one time used for both their anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. For instance, a tea could be made by steeping the flower’s petals to soothe the stomach, however the flower itself would have been used as a topical antiseptic as well.
Photograph of Growing Herbs and Plants for Dyeing (1977) by Betty E. M. Jacobs and Illustrator Kathleen Gough for the Glengarry Pioneer Museum’s reference library. Object ID: 2009-000-191.
Among other plants and herbs featured in our Heritage Gardens, Chamomile would have also been used as a natural textile dye by pioneers in the Glengarry area. Betty E. M. Jacobs details dyeing instructions that approximate the textile dyeing processes pioneers may well have implemented in Growing Herbs and Plants for Dyeing (1977) from the Glengarry Pioneer Museum’s reference book collection. This source reveals how Chamomile was commonly used to dye textiles with pigments from the plants’ flower petals, which would have been an accessible source of pigment to 19th century pioneers.
Dyer’s Chamomile, also known as Golden Marguerite and Oxeye Chamomile, is a Chamomile cousin of the variety grown at the museum by the botanical name of Anthemis Tinctoria. Unlike the white flowers of its cousin’s variety, this plant produces golden-yellow, daisy like flowers that bloom from stiff stems between late summer and early fall. Pioneers would have harvested this Chamomile variety while it was in full bloom to make use of their golden-yellow flower petals as a natural dye for wool in either dried of fresh form. The dye would have been combined with a mordant to fix the pigment in the wool textile. A mordant of alum would produce a yellow/buff colour, a chrome mordant would produce a golden/orange colour and a tin mordant would produce a clear yellow colour.
Photo of the new interpretive St. Andrew's Cross Garden sign north of the Star Inn (above), and the reprinted Rose Garden sign south of the Loyal Orange Lodge (right) from July, 2023.
During your next visit, the Glengarry Pioneer Museum invites you to enjoy the summer blooms of the St. Andrew’s Cross Garden, and to learn about the countless culinary, medicinal, and dyeing uses of all the plants and herbs growing in our Heritage Gardens with our new interpretive garden signs. Special thanks to the Maxville Horticultural Society for their donation towards this project, and to Glengarry Pioneer Museum volunteer and gardener, Allison Hall, whose garden knowledge, and leadership brought our garden signs to life.
As the 2022-2023 school year recently came to a close for elementary students across the province, the Glengarry Pioneer Museum welcomed two student groups during their final weeks to catch a glimpse into the daily lives of their pioneer counterparts in the 19th century. With the help and creativity of museum volunteers and interpreters, students were given the chance to see their history lessons come to life at several interactive stations on the museum grounds. Topics covered the everyday lives of pioneers and schoolchildren in the 1800s, along with trades common in the 19th century that included leatherworking, creating period clothing, spinning wool and blacksmithing. Between stations, students squeezed in enough time for some 19th century fun and games, which involved relay races and a fierce game of Tug of War as seen in the photo above.
Photograph of schoolchildren taken outside of Dunvegan Public School sometime between 1920-1922. Donated to the Glengarry Pioneer Museum by by Ruth MacIntosh (Mrs. Gordon) in 1984. Object ID: 1984-027-005
Students participated in a typical school morning routine at the museum's Big Beaver Schoolhouse to approximate the experience pupils from the village of Dunvegan, who would have originally attended Dunvegan Public School in the 19th century. The photograph above was donated to the museum by Ruth MacIntosh (Mrs. Gordon) in 1984 and depicts Dunvegan Public School as it appeared in the early 20th century. This photo is believed to have been taken some time between 1920 and 1922, as indicated by the garments worn by the pupils posing for this school photograph. This piece also captures the red brick structure of the schoolhouse, along with eight of the building's windows and several flowerpots attached to the windowsills. The rose window of the schoolhouse is also shown above the front entrance of the building, beneath the roof's peak.
The schoolhouse still stands in the village of Dunvegan today across from the church manse of Kenyon Presbyterian Church on County Road 30. The building continued to operate as a school until the 1960s when it was purchased by Kenyon Presbyterian Church and used as a church hall for a number of years. The building was converted into a private residence between the late 1980s and early 1990s and eventually purchased by its first resident. The schoolhouse is still thoughtfully maintained and used as a private residence to this day.
Photograph of a school bell once used at Dunvegan Public School. Donated to the Glengarry Pioneer Museum by John D. MacLeod in 1968. Object ID: 1968-008-004
The Glengarry Pioneer Museum houses several artefacts that were once used at Dunvegan Public School, and several items are currently on display at Big Beaver Schoolhouse on the museum grounds. Among these items include this iron school bell, donated by John D. MacLeod in 1968, which can be found on the schoolmistress' desk at Big Beaver Schoolhouse.
This summer, the Glengarry Pioneer Museum invites all families looking for an engaging and educational family outing to learn about the lives of pioneer schoolchildren and to discover a piece of the past at the Big Beaver Schoolhouse on the museum grounds. We look forward to seeing you soon!
How was the Glengarry area used by Indigenous peoples before Europeans arrived in the late 18th century? How are the Akwesasne Mohawk people building back their language and traditions today?
To mark National Indigenous Peoples Day, the Glengarry Pioneer Museum invites you to learn the answers to these question from Phillip White-Cree from Clarkson University’s Humanities department in Potsdam, New York.
The Smith-In Blacksmith Festival hosted by the Glengarry Pioneer Museum this Father’s Day weekend is fast approaching. Patrons will have the chance to catch a glimpse of the skills and techniques that were once used by pioneer blacksmiths at several live demonstrations and displays being held by modern-day blacksmiths traveling in from across Ontario, Quebec and the USA from Saturday, June 17th to Sunday, June 18th.
Photograph of a reproduction, early 19th century blacksmith's forge cart. Object ID: EDU 2018-001-001.
Visitors to the museum are invited to observe a live workshop hosted by modern-day blacksmiths who will learn how to forge a Norfolk door latch using tools and techniques of the past at the Williams Pavilion and the historic Olivier Hamlin blacksmith shop on Saturday the 17th. On Sunday the 18th, visitors will have the opportunity watch demonstrations on a reproduction, early 19th century blacksmith’s forge cart with functioning bellows on the museum grounds. The blacksmith's forge cart is depicted in the photograph above.
The Glengarry Pioneer Museum is home to many artifacts that were handcrafted using historic blacksmithing methods that will be demonstrated at this weekend's festival. The earliest known of such artifacts in the museum's collection is a fire pot hook, or “Slabhraidh” in Gaelic according to the University of Glasgow's Digital Archive of Scottish Gaelic, which is depicted in the two featured photographs above. This hand forged chain and hook are believed to date to the late 18th century, likely among the items brought be early settlers.
The hook would have been supported by three large branches arranged in a V-shape in order to hang a large cooking pot over a fire, likely to prepare meals for some of the early Scottish settlers as they worked to clear the land of the Glengarry area during the day.
We look forward to welcoming all modern-day blacksmiths traveling in from across North America along with all interested visitors at the Smith-In Blacksmith Festival this Father's Day weekend, and we invite you to explore each of the live demonstrations and displays set to take place on Saturday and Sunday while you're here. Children's activities and food will be available onsite.
Enjoy a unique family outing this upcoming Father’s Day weekend at the Smith-In Blacksmith Festival hosted by the Glengarry Pioneer Museum. Explore the displays and museum grounds from Saturday, June 17th to Sunday, June 18th to catch a glimpse into how blacksmiths of the past worked to manipulate iron into many different objects that would be used in pioneers’ everyday lives.
Be sure to visit the Olivier Hamelin blacksmith shop, which primarily operated out of Apple Hill until 1985. In the year 2000, the building was relocated to its current location on the museum grounds. The shop and several other buildings on our grounds house a variety of artefacts that were created by Olivier Hamelin and other pioneer blacksmiths from across the Glengarry area using tools and methods that will be displayed by modern-day blacksmiths traveling in from across Ontario, Quebec, and the United States to appear at this year's festival.
Current visitors, however, may not be aware that the village of Dunvegan once had its own blacksmith shop which stood on what would later become the grounds of the Glengarry Pioneer Museum in the late 19th century. The original shop of Dunvegan was built in November of 1894 on the southeast corner of the village crossroads, about where the museum’s heritage gardens are now located. The shop was operated for many years by John. A. Stewart, who is depicted standing to the right of his shop and in front of the Starr Inn as they would have appeared around the year 1910.
John. A. Stewart was born at Stewarts Glenn (west of the village of Dunvegan) to parents who arrived in Glengarry from the Isle of Skye in the Scottish Hebrides. Apart from blacksmithing, John was an incredibly accomplished piper, and his talent was in high demand at concerts, social events, and Highland dancing and piping competitions across Glengarry as both a piper and a judge. After John passed away in 1950, his brother, Norman Lachlin Stewart, took over the shop until the building was eventually taken down in 1954. We look forward to welcoming all modern-day blacksmiths and curious visitors alike at the Smith-In Blacksmith Festival soon on June 17-18th. While you’re there, we invite you to find the original site of the John. A. Stewart blacksmith shop as you explore the grounds.
The first blog entry of the 2023 summer season marks the upcoming annual Clan MacLeod Society of Glengarry picnic to be held at the Glengarry Pioneer Museum on Saturday, June 3rd, 2023. The Clan MacLeod Society of Glengarry was the first one to be created outside of Scotland and it was formed in Dunvegan in November of 1935. Just one year later in 1936, approximately one thousand MacLeods traveled from across North America and gathered with members of the newly formed society in the maple grove of Donald D. MacLeod near the village of Dunvegan to commemorate their Scottish Highlander ancestors who traveled across the Atlantic to find land of their own. The Clan MacLeod Society of Glengarry has gathered in Dunvegan every year since 1936 (excluding Covid), using the grounds of the Glengarry Pioneer Museum since it opened in 1962.
While the agenda for many planning to attend Saturday’s gathering will likely consist of some light chit-chatting and grazing of a sandwich platter or two, the programme of events for the first gathering in 1936 was quite different. The museum’s original copy of The MacLeods of Glengarry 1793-1971; The Genealogy of a Clan, provides a fascinating glimpse into the first 1936 gathering’s full day of events. The day was kicked off by ten o’clock in the morning with registration, bagpipe music and a variety of sport activities. A full afternoon of addresses and oral family histories in both Gaelic and English soon followed, along with performances of more pipe music, Scotch dances, and Gaelic and Scotch songs. The long day finally came to a close at eleven thirty in the evening with a rendition of Auld Lang Syne at the Orange Lodge of Dunvegan (now the DRA hall).
The MacLeods of Glengarry 1793-1971; The Genealogy of a Clan. Accession #: REF 2009-000-142-02.
The MacLeods of Glengarry have supported and contributed to the museum's collection for over 8 decades. Hundreds of artifacts in the collection come from MacLeods and their descendants and the museum congratulates them on their 87th anniversary. The picnic is this Saturday, June 3 and we look forward to hearing some good music and welcoming them back.