Locally-focused exhibits proving popular
The Fort Frances Museum has been having a good year so far, with some locally-focused exhibits proving to be popular draws.
Museum curator Sherry George said traffic has been above average for most of the year, only dipping slightly in May and June before rebounding in July.
“Without the Ontario tourism building [directing tourists to the museum], maybe we are seeing some decline,” George speculated.
“It’s not a huge decline, but yes there is some decline,” she noted.
“But certainly January through to April, we were up quite a bit, actually.”
Visitors were up again slightly in July. A total of 477 people visited the museum last month, compared to 475 the year before.
Another factor could be that in May and June, the main exhibit at the museum was focused on vaudeville in Canada.
Other exhibits earlier this year, such as “This Place Where We Live” (featuring the art of Wayne Yerxa and Connie Cuthbertson), “Our Founding Families” (local genealogy), and “The Ukrainian Connection,” had a “local flavour” that people preferred over the vaudeville one.
This tone also has rung true in July and August, when the museum has had several anniversary-themed exhibits, most with local connections.
These included the 60th anniversary of the Fort Frances Canadians’ winning the Allan Cup, the 100th anniversary of the local Customs and International Bridge, the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, including the controversy surrounding the border here, and the historic canoe journey north by Ernest Oberholtzer and Billy Magee in 1912.
Other exhibits focused on the sinking of the Titanic and Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.
And the local focus doesn’t look like it will end anytime soon. In September and October, the museum will feature exhibits by local artists Jean Richards and Lindsay Hamilton.
After that, George said possible exhibits may include one on local veterans, then one on Métis culture and heritage.
“I really like the local flavour, and the indication I am getting from the community is they do, too,” she noted.
George added while she wants to support local artists, not all museum patrons agree.
“They figure a museum is ‘history,’ and that’s where they want the focus,” she explained.
“So I will support artists, and maybe have one or maybe even two art exhibits a year, but I will be focusing on history because it is what people want.”
The museum will continue to operate on summer hours (open daily from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.) through the Labour Day weekend.
Admission is for $3.60 for adults and $2.60 for seniors and children aged six-12, with kids five and under being free.
There also is a family/group fee of $10.85.
Paying admission to the museum also provides access to the “Hallett” and lookout tower on the riverfront.
Admission to these sites is available at the museum and Sorting Gap Marina.
The “Hallett” and tower sites are open daily from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. (depending on weather).