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Muséum Sturgeon River House Museum
Location Sturgeon Falls, Ontario
Type Community Museum
Collection size abt. 1 000
Visitors abt. 10 000
Owner Municipality of West Nipissing

The Sturgeon River House Museum (SRH, French: Musée Sturgeon River House) is a community museum of Canadiana and natural history based in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, Canada. Its mission is to promote and preserve the cultural and natural heritage of the population of the municipality of West Nipissing. They have the mandate of presenting the fur trade era from 1623 to 1879 and pioneer life in West Nipissing between 1878 and 1939, and also the cultural contributions of the three pioneer groups of the West Nipissing region (First Nations, French, English). The museum also owns 4 kilometres of low-impact nature trails in its Theodore Fouriezos Wetlands Park.

History

The museum is located on an authentic Hudson's Bay Company trading post site on the west bank of the Sturgeon River, two kilometres from Lake Nipissing in Sturgeon Falls. The museum was founded in 1967, as a community centennial project. The original planning committee included the now amalgamated Township of Springer, the Town of Cache Bay and Sturgeon Falls Secondary School.

Timeline

1967 to 1980 : The museum is built and open on a seasonal basis. It is staffed by volunteers from the region. The site includes a rendition of a log Hudson's Bay Company trading post enclosed by a log palissade. In 1980 a house built in 1898 is transported to the museum site after being donated from the Major family, one of the local pioneer families. At this time the collection contains about 100 objects.

1980 to 1990 : The Township of Springer forms an advisory Museum Committee, in order to oversee the general management of the site, and to concentrate on building a collection. In 1984, about 20 volunteers create a not for profit association (French : Association des Volontaires du Musée). The AVM's mission is to raise funds for the development of the museum. The J.P. Charles family donates a part of their family blacksmith collection to the museum. A log building is dedicated to the storage of the collection. In 1986, a small administration building is built on the site in order to better manage the museum, it is renovated two years later in 1988 to include its first exhibit room and an accessible entrance. In 1989, a stage is built as well as an artefact storage space for the burgeoning collection.

1990 to 1994 : The municipality dedicates one full-time employee to the museum, the museum's first full-time curator. The museum is open year-round. In 1992, the AVM purchases the "Trappers' Museum" collection and donates it to the museum. The collection was composed of taxidermy and trapping tools and equipment. In 1993, the museum hires a full-time administrative assistant to better manage the museum.

1995 to 1999 : In 1995 the museum receives a donation of a 75-acre land parcel across the road from the Theodore Fouriezos family, the parcel will be home of the future Theodore Fouriezos Wetland Park. The parcel adjoins local crown land, and is composed mostly of wetlands and contains an important cranberrybog. The museum develops a 5-year plan to promote the museum and trails as a major tourist attraction. A few years later, the museum receives approval for a $1,600,000 (Adjusted for inflation 2014 : 2,221,633.55 )capital project for a site upgrade and expansion, the original buildings are torn down except the stage and storage building which will adjoin the new building, the construction takes two years, completed in 2000. During the construction of the new building, the municipality hires a full-time naturalist, Serge Ducharme. The museum receives in 1999 100 acres of land for the wetland park. The museum re-opens in June 2000.

2000 to 2002: Ready for the re-opening in June 2000, the museum's permanent exhibit on the fur trade and local furbearers is opened. In September 2002, the semi-permanent exhibit on French Pioneers (French : Les pionniers de la langue française du Nipissing Ouest) pays homage and tells the story of the first settlers.

Collections and Exhibits

Collections

The museum's collection is composed of the following:

Archives

The museum has a unique archive that contains, among other things, tax records from local defunct townships, newspapers, books, encyclopedias, books of religious nature and pictures donated from local residents.

Exhibits

The museum has two exhibits,

  • Permanent exhibit : Trapping and the fur trade
  • Semi-Permanent exhibit : French Pioneers (French : Les pionniers de la langue française du Nipissing Ouest)
  • Temporary/Seasonal exhibits : Remembrance Day, Commercial Fishing Industry, Cranberry Festival.
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