Wednesday, 25 August 2021

The Walking Wheel

 Among the many artifacts that call the Glengarry Pioneer Museum home are two walking wheels, or great wheels, that were used for spinning wool into yarn. Walking wheels were one of the earliest models of spinning wheels, and have been around since the medieval times. European settlers brought the design for walking wheels with them when they began arriving in North America throughout the 18th century. These wheels are about five feet tall and require the person using them to be standing alongside, holding the fiber in the left hand and spinning the wheel with their right hand. One of the two great wheels here at the museum once belonged to Velma Franklin who lived in the Dunvegan area. Her walking wheel is featured in the photograph below.  

Thursday, 10 June 2021

Featured Artifact of the Week

This week's featured artifact is a relatively simple object that doesn't necessarily jump out at you but one that served a significant purpose to a certain group of people. This is an iron pot that was apparently used between 1746 and 1747 by the seven (later eight) outlaws of Glen Moriston. The outlaws used this pot to cook in while they hid Bonnie Prince Charlie after the Battle of Culloden.

The pot was donated by the late Mickey McDougall to Glengarry Historical Society and Glengarry Pioneer Museum founder Hugh P. MacMillan for the purpose of display in the museum. McDougall's great-great-grandfather was one of the seven outlaws and brought the pot with him when he emigrated to Glengarry County. His name was Alexander Chisholm.

The museum would like to acknowledge the late Hugh P. MacMillan for the backstory regarding this iron pot that is now a cherished artifact in the collection. 


Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Meet Grant

 Hi everyone!

My name is Grant Craig and I'm a summer student at the museum and will be working as a collections and research assistant for the season. I'm currently enrolled in the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa and I have just one semester left before I graduate. I'm very excited to be working here and to be contributing towards preserving some of Glengarry's finest and oldest artifacts. I'll be updating the blog every week so stay tuned for new posts. 

Due to the current regulations and restrictions in place by the Ontario Government, the museum buildings are currently closed to the public. However, you are still welcome to walk around the property provided you are with people from your household and you don't touch any of the buildings. Museums are currently in the third stage of Ontario's Roadmap to Reopen, so that puts our reopening date around late July. Please check this blog, our website or the GPM Facebook page for updates on reopening plans. 

Myself and the other summer student, Gwenn Barrett, just got into the office this past Wednesday. Since then we have been discussing ways to connect with the public virtually since we aren't able to give tours like normal. As of right now we have a few events planned for later in the summer: a virtual auction in mid-July, an art show on July 31, Moosic Under the Stars on August 7 and Moovie Under the Stars on August 21. Also planned is the annual Harvest Festival in early September and the 1812 Reenactment in late September. These events are subject to change based on government restrictions. 

That's it from me for now, stay safe everyone! 


Thursday, 27 August 2020

The Industry of Hair Parlors



While spending this summer combing through the photograph collection at the Museum looking for the best and worst hairstyles; it occurred to me that there were more than a few industries involved behind the scenes of the historical hairstyle trends I found. Upon further research, one business attracted my attention; the hair salons in that time period.

When women’s hair trends began to boom, barbers (who had only ever served men) had to quickly learn how to cut women’s hair to the latest styles. As more complex styles arose, more and more they had to rely on barbers to duplicate these up-dos. Women’s hair became the new business possibility and offered significant amounts of clientele requiring regular trips to the salons. By the early 1920’s, women-only salons were booming and became an industry of their own. When reading through a 1910 edition of the Ladies Home Journal, I came across an article titled “Why I Stopped Being a Beauty Specialist”. This article was somewhat of an “exposé” on the true running of a beauty parlor in that time period and to say it was an entertaining read is an understatement


Beginning as an apprentice in this beauty parlor, the author is shocked to find out the parlor customs are more targeted to making money and high turnover than providing proper beauty care – quite shocking! A perfect example of this was suggesting that a customer could use a hair ‘brightening’ (as suggesting a bleach would result in a firm decline) due to the customers hair lacking luster and looking slightly ‘muddy’. After much insisting, the hairdresser winks and disappears and is soon replaced by a bleaching specialist! This bleaching treatment would cost anywhere from five to fifteen dollars “according to Madam’s gullibility”.

It was a pleasure spending my summer researching this interesting trends and tips regarding hairstyle and fashion, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

                                                                    - Gwenn