Amherstburg Freedom Museum

Amherstburg Freedom Museum announces continuation of “Sharing Our Stories” video project

 

The Amherstburg Freedom Museum has announced the continuation of what they describe as their “historically significant” video project “Sharing Our Stories” thanks to their partnership with and generous donation from Caesars Windsor Cares.

According to a news release issued by museum curator/administrator Mary-Katherine Whelan, “Sharing Our Stories” is a collection of family histories and recently digitized materials from the museum’s collection, profiling three families that have established and documented roots in Essex County via the Underground Railroad.

Caesars Windsor Cares’ donation will allow a previous video project in which three other families were profiled and their descendants interviewed about their direct connections to the Underground Railroad, Whelan noted. With this donation from Caesars Windsor Cares, she said this support will allow the museum to expand “Sharing Our Stories,” enabling the museum to continue sharing, celebrating and promoting these important stories, while reaching, engaging and educating a greater audience about local Black history in an ever-changing digital world.

Amherstburg Freedom Museum

Once the project is complete, “Sharing Our Stories” will be on display in the main gallery of the museum and online through the museum website, visitors and members of the community will be invited to gain deeper perspective through firsthand accounts of local Black history.

“As our digital audience continues to grow, it is important to reach broader audiences to educate and celebrate Black culture and heritage,” said Whelan. “We are grateful to Caesars Windsor Cares for their support of the continuation of our video project Sharing Our Stories. The museum is hosts to guests from all around the world, and to be able to share these important stories will help enrich visitors’ experiences here at the museum, and as an educational outreach tool.”

“We are honoured to recognize Black History Month with this donation to continue their important Sharing Our Stories project.  By preserving our local history, we are able to learn from and appreciate the contribution Black Canadians made in our community,” added Kevin Laforet, Regional President, Caesars Entertainment.

The Amherstburg Freedom Museum is a curated archive that preserves and shares Amherstburg’s stories of the Underground Railroad, and the compassion and solidarity it took to make this network possible. The location of the Museum is key; Amherstburg meant freedom, as the Canadian destination for many Blacks escaping slavery in the United States. Also included in the museum complex are Nazrey A.M.E. Church – national historic site and stop on the Underground Railroad, and the Taylor Log Cabin – home of George Taylor a formerly enslaved man and his family.

The museum is located at 277 King St. and can be reached by calling 519-736-5433 or via the internet at www.amherstburgfreedom.org.

Town council divides $35,000 between seven community groups

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Seven community groups within Amherstburg came to town council looking for help and council, in some fashion, agreed.

As part of the town’s 2019 budget deliberations, the groups came to council looking for community grants that totalled just over $42,000. Not all groups got the amount they wanted as council approved just over $35,000 worth of funding.

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) sought $10,000 in total as they asked for a $5,000 grant towards their programming and an additional $5,000 towards their vehicle replacement fund. The Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission requested $3,500, up $2,000 over 2018.

Town council deliberates the 2019 budget Feb. 13.

The Amherstburg Freedom Museum requested $8,000 to help with its operations, an increase of $1,500 over last year. The Amherstburg Historic Sites Association, the organization the runs the Park House Museum, asked for the same amount as 2018, which was $8,500.

The Amherstburg Fort Malden Golden Age Club requested $3,136.50, which was a new request. That request wasn’t so much for cash donation as it was for a waiver of the Libro Centre user surcharge. An $8,250 request from Skate Amherstburg was to help them stage a Skate Ontario Synchro Series event at the Libro Centre March 23 that over 800 skaters from around the province are expected to attend.

Christ Anglican Church asked for $750 to help maintain its historic cemetery as the church celebrates its 200th anniversary this year.

Town council would give fund ACS to the tune of $7,000 – $3,000 and $4,000 per respective grant request – while the mission received $2,500. The Amherstburg Freedom Museum received $6,500 while the Amherstburg Historic Sites Association received the full $8,500 for the Park House Museum. The Golden Age Club’s fees were waived amounting to the $3,136.50 they had wanted while Skate Amherstburg received $6,613.50. Christ Church received the $750 they had asked for.

Amherstburg Freedom Museum features “Rarely Seen” temporary exhibit

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Freedom Museum is celebrating Black History Month with an exhibit of materials not usually seen as part of their regular tours.

“Recently Seen” features rare artifacts and recently acquired items and the stories behind them, noted museum curator Mary-Katherine Whelan. Whelan said like many museums, the Amherstburg Freedom Museum can display only a fraction of its collection.

“We’re inviting the public to view rarely seen artifacts from the collection,” she stated.

Amherstburg Freedom Museum curator Mary-Katherine Whelan stands with part of the “Rarely Seen” exhibit that is featured for Black History Month.

The temporary exhibit, located on the upper floor of the main museum building, displays paintings, photographs, scrapbooks and artifacts. A three-page petition from 1921 to Amherstburg town council regarding small pox and a Board of Health order advising a theatre to “exclude all coloured people”  is on exhibit as is an accompanying article from The Amherstburg Echo is also on hand. Manacles are also on exhibit, with those coming from the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.

There are also signs from the southern United States pointing African Americans the direction of the washrooms they must use with the signage coming from the Jim Crow era.

Photographs of museum co-founder Mac Simpson are also part of the “Rarely Seen” exhibit.

“I wanted to include a variety of things people don’t usually get to see. Hopefully people come and connect with it in some way,” said Whelan.

The museum is welcoming school tours and adults will come out to view the temporary and permanent exhibits.

“There are so many pieces we have in our collection,” said Whelan. “It’s fun to bring them out and show the material we have in the collection.”

A sample of what is displayed as part of the temporary “Rarely Seen” exhibit is photographed here.

Admission to the Amherstburg Freedom Museum is $7.50 for adults, $6.50 for seniors and students and $30 for a family of five. People can get $1 off admission this month if they can name the year the Nazrey AME Church was built (1848) and by whom (people escaping slavery in the U.S.).

The museum is located at 277 King St. and is open Tuesday-Friday from 12-5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1-5 p.m.

Whelan also invited the public to check out Black History Month events on their website, www.amherstburgfreedom.org. There is a Black History Month events calendar there that Whelan said can be downloaded. The calendar is run in conjunction with the Essex County Black Historical Research Society.

For more information, call 519-736-5433 or 1-800-713-6336.

Amherstburg Freedom Museum holds annual Christmas concert

 

 

By Christian Bouchard

 

The smooth sound of jazz music echoed through the church of the Amherstburg Freedom Museum last week.

According to Mary-Katherine Whelan, curator/administrator at the Freedom Museum, the annual Christmas concert is the perfect way to “ring in the season.”

Brynda (right) from Brynda & Company and her sister sing at the Amherstburg Freedom Museum’s annual Christmas concert Dec. 12. It was held inside the Nazrey AME Church.

“This is one of our signature events,” said Whelan. “It’s a fun way to bring money to the museum and everyone looks forward to it because it gets everyone hyped up for Christmas and the joy of the season.”

The Dec. 12 event had Brynda and Company perform for the packed crowd. The four-person band consisted of lead vocals, a keyboard, drums, and a saxophone. The program featured traditional Christmas hits such as “Deck the Halls,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “All I want for Christmas is You.”

Despite having a new band every year, Whelan said there is always a reason for people to come back every year.

“There’s also that element of the church being a natural historic site and being a terminal point of the Underground Railroad,” said Whelan.  “Having that space being used for music always gives me goosebumps.”

In addition to the concert, Whelan also stressed the importance of the history behind the museum itself.

Dan Woods performs on his saxophone during the Christmas concert at the Amherstburg Freedom Museum Dec. 12.

“The museum is a welcome space and it’s an important piece of history to learn from,” added Whelan.

For those interested in learning more about the Amherstburg Freedom Museum, Whelan encourages them to visit their website at www.amherstburgfreedom.org to see a list of upcoming events.

Amherstburg Freedom Museum hosting “Christmas at the Museum” Dec. 12

 

 

By RTT Staff

 

The Amherstburg Freedom Museum is encouraging people to ring in the holiday season with them.

The annual “Christmas at the Museum” concert is returning Dec. 12 at 7 p.m., in the Nazrey AME Church National Historic Site.

The Amherstburg Freedom Museum invites the community to “join us for a warm and friendly celebration of the Christmas Season with special musical guest Brynda and Company! The hour and a half program is sprinkled with traditional songs of the season and heart warming carols to start the holiday season off right!”

A dessert buffet will be served following the Wednesday night concert. The Amherstburg Freedom Museum is also asking people to bring a canned good which will be donated to the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission.

The public is asked to purchase tickets in advance as seating is limited. Tickets are $30 each and can be purchased by contacting the Amherstburg Freedom Museum by phone at 519-736-5433 or on eventbrite.ca.

The museum is also thanking the event sponsors, which include Detroit Memorial Park Association Inc., Dollars and Cents Investments Inc., and James H. Sutton Funeral Home.

The Amherstburg Freedom Museum is located at 277 King St. Their website is www.amherstburgfreedom.org.