On Friday, November 24, local dignitaries officially cut the ribbon to re-open the Brant Museum and Archives in front of a crowd that spilled out onto the sidewalk. Everyone excitedly hurried into to see the local museum that they’d been missing over the past six months, and they were certainly not disappointed!
The museum closed on May 29 to undertake a major review of their collection, as well as its policies related to the acquisition, deaccession, and display of the artifacts in its care. Staff and volunteers worked tirelessly over the last six months to document and catalogue paper artifacts and records, repaint and repair the rooms, reinterpret existing exhibits, and curate brand new exhibits. They assessed over 30,000 objects, took nearly 70,000 photographs, and digitized over 18,000 records! They also undertook an enormous deaccession, finding homes for objects that did not fit their mandate at other area museums.
The new exhibits include an interpretive “How It’s Done” exhibit in what Nathan Etherington, Programming and Community Coordinator for the Brant Historical Society, calls “the nerve center.” This exhibit highlights the work done over the last six months, including stations to learn about how to digitize records, how to do photographic documentation, and how to store objects. Nathan noted that before this process, it used to take him at least 45 minutes to find an object in their collections – and that was if he even knew it was there; now it takes him five minutes at most, freeing up his time for more interpretive programing and community outreach.
Some of the other new exhibits include a room dedicated to local flags, a bedroom from the Edwardian period with hands-on activities, and a room that pays tribute to three of Brantford’s cultural icons – Group of Seven member Lawren S. Harris, poetess E. Pauline Johnson, and journalist and author Thomas B. Costain. Costain’s own typewriter is on display for everyone to enjoy, as well as documents with Johnson’s own handwriting, and her poems paired with prints of Harris’ iconic Canadian landscape paintings.
The Brant Historical Society is now looking for volunteer docents to help lead tours around the museum’s brand new exhibits. If you are interested in helping, please visit their website or contact them by phone at 519-752-2483.
For more information about Brant Historical Society, click here.
For more information about the Docent Program, click here.