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!