Park House Museum

Council approves $33,595 in grant requests as part of ’18 budget deliberations

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The 2018 town budget is ready for council’s adoption and it included $33,595 in grants to community organization.

Among the grant requests approved in principle were $5,000 for Amherstburg Community Services (ACS), $1,500 for Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission, $6,500 for the Amherstburg Freedom Museum and $8,500 for the Park House Museum. Grant requests for the Cat Assistance Team (CAT) and SNAP for Cats will be addressed after administration comes back with a report.

Kathy DiBartolomeo, ACS’ executive director, outlined the list of the 20-plus services the agency offers and pointed out they expanded their bus service to include driving students to and from St. Clair College. Their Meals on Wheels covers not only Amherstburg, but also LaSalle and Harrow as well.

DiBartolomeo noted they don’t receive enough government funding to cover all costs so they look for outside grants and revenue streams.

Mary-Katherine Whelan, curator at the Amherstburg Freedom Museum, pointed out Amherstburg’s contribution as a chief entry point on the Underground Railroad. She pointed out the museum has hosted Emancipation Galas, Ribs and Ragtime events and other programs and events promoting Black history. They recently held their first Amherstburg Freedom Summit.

Whelan said they have seen a 35 per cent increase in visitors over 2016 and have attracted visitors from as far as Ghana and Singapore.

Park House Museum curator Stephanie Pouget-Papak noted their role as a community museum, pointing out they will be hosting an archeological exhibit in 2018. She said their $8,500 request was “conservative” and noted visitor levels have steadily risen though many people come on free admission days.

The Park House has taken advantage of summer student programs with that program being beneficial for both sides, she suggested, adding that it is tough to find historical-related jobs in Amherstburg. Pouget-Papak also said there is “donor fatigue” in comparison to past years.

Tim Stocker and Karen Lloyd from SNAP for Cats and Renée St. Pierre and Carla Leardi from the Cat Assistance Team (CAT) both appealed for funding, with both groups asking for $5,000. CAO John Miceli asked whether the town’s voucher program would assist the groups.

Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale wondered if it was possible for the two groups to collaborate.

“It’s starting to cost the town a lot of money,” DiPasquale said during Tuesday’s budget deliberations. “Not that I’m against it, but people have to work together.”

Town council also agreed to waive $12,095 in rental fees for Rose City Gymnastics as the non-profit group is bringing the four-day Ontario Provincial Artistic Gymnastics championships at the Libro Centre next spring. Miceli said it isn’t a direct financial contribution, but the town would be forgoing other rental opportunities.

The move to waive the fees for the gymnastics championships has raised the ire of existing user groups, especially in light of the town’s decision to stick with its own option for Libro Centre surcharges. The user groups suggested all three principal users to contract ice hours at a minimum100 hours per year. The principal rate user surcharge would have been $4 per hour to all hours rented on all ice surfaces from Sept. 1-April 30 annually and $10 per hour for all pads from May 1-Aug. 31.

For Amherstburg resident users that book ice rentals for a minimum of 12 hours per month would be set at $6 per hour for all pads. Casual non-resident users would pay a surcharge of $13 per hour of ice rentals.

Under the town’s proposal, Renaud said it would translate into a $21.82 cost per AMHA player and $13.50 for every Skate Amherstburg participant. Under the proposal he presented, Renaud said the numbers drop to $14.54 per player in AMHA and $9 per Skate Amherstburg participant.

The town’s option calls for a $6 surcharge for user groups to help build a reserve fund to maintain the seven-year-old facility. User groups have expressed concern on the impact that will have on rates they will have to pass on to registrants.

The town did not concur with grant requests from a pilot project known as “The Garrison” with that request being $25,000. Council also did not agree to fund The Addolorata DeLuca Leadership Scholarship with that request being $10,000, though proponent Cessidia DeBiasio said it could be paid out over two years.

Visitors experience traditional “tree trimming” at Park House

 

 

By Jolene Perron

 

Amherstburg’s annual River Lights festival brings together a number of local businesses during the holiday season, allowing for residents to experience a number of unique events throughout the town.

The Park House Museum took advantage of this, coordinating their Park House by Candle Light event to coincide with the downtown Holiday Festival over the weekend.

“The Park House Museum likes to collaborate with other organizations, so that the visitor experience is maximized to its full potential,” explained Stephanie Pouget, curator/administrator for the Park House Museum. “The main idea behind this event is to create a traditional ambience for visitors who celebrate Christmas and to give new Canadians the opportunity to see how the winter season was experienced during the Victorian-era in Amherstburg.”

Park House Museum curator Stephanie Pouget-Papak creates a gingerbread house as part of the Park House Museum’s candlelight event last Friday.

The second-annual self guided tour of the main floor allowed visitors to see the “Park Family” gathering together for a “tree trimming” party. Visitors were able to see the true Victorian fashion and how they prepared their house for the holiday season with use of true greenery.

The Park House Museum also invites guests to take place in their Charles Dickens/Victorian Christmas program where visitors can see all three floors of the main house, demonstrations, the new toy exhibit and activities this Sunday (Nov. 26) from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Park House gets into the spirit of fall, Halloween with weekend events

 

 

By Jolene Perron

 

With a festive ham dinner, which aimed to raise money for Amherstburg’s Park House Museum, and their fourth annual All Hallow’s Eve Festival, the organization was very busy over the weekend.

As a not-for-profit organization, The Park House relies on the support of donations, fundraisers and grants to keep their doors open.

During The Park House Museum’s All Hallows Eve festival, an assortment of foods and treats were being hand-made on the open fireplace all day long. Melissa Vuk speaks to some visitors in the kitchen.

“Each year we hold a fundraiser dinner to help offset programming costs, so that we can maintain quality programming at an affordable price for our visitors,” explained Stephanie Pouget-Papak, curator and administrator the Park House Museum. “Some programs, like the Victorian Christmas, have no set admission fee. In addition, our holiday themed JK – 3 curriculum based field trip season is just a few weeks away, so our fundraising efforts will support the materials and exhibits.”

Pouget-Papak said in the past, heir fundraisers have gone towards specific projects such as conservation and preservation, and not to mention the 200-year plus building never runs short of maintenance. The planning for this year’s annual fundraiser began in July. Saturday evening’s ham dinner also included a 50/50 draw, door prices and light entertainment.

“The Park House Museum fosters the idea of community partnerships and supporting local business,” said Pouget-Papak. “Holding this event at the Legion, whose mission is to serve veterans and their families, as always proved successful and we enjoy working with them.”

While this event took place just down the road, The Park House Museum itself was set up for their All Hallow’s Eve Festival, which took place Sunday. Pouget-Papak said autumn is her favourite time of year and she wanted to host an event that would highlight the season. The event was also created to bridge the gap between the end of summer tourism and the beginning of the holiday events.

Nicholas Robinson explains how to make a hand-made candle to Tea Fields during the All Hallows Eve Festival Sunday.

“The main idea behind this event is to provide a setting for people of all ages to enjoy the traditional Halloween season without all the ‘gore,’ and it is appropriate for young families as well,” said Pouget-Papak. “We have the site, both buildings, fully operational with the help of dedicated volunteers. Each visitor has the opportunity to participate in the questionnaire scavenger hunt, where they have the option to engage with the staff to ask questions or to read the information boards on their own.”

New to this year’s event was the recital of eerie story telling in the afternoon on Sunday by Olwyn Coughlin. They also had members of the Kings 8th regiment come in from Michigan to set up and Revolutionary War Surgeon display. Pouget-Papak explained each year they try to add a new component to enhance the visitor’s experience.

“We have maintained the visitor favourites like the 1920’s Halloween Party, the Victorian Funeral, and of course the cooking demonstration,” said Pouget-Papak. “Events such as this are important because it allows people the opportunity to connect with our past in an enjoyable manner; public history takes the subject outside of the realm of academia, and facilitates the opportunity to experience it through touch, sight and sound. Individuals may not remember every detail or fact, but they will remember that it was an enjoyable experience.”

Park House Museum receives cheques from Ribfest Committee, Rotary

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Historic Sites Association, the board that operates the Park House Museum, received some good financial news last Tuesday night.

The board received a $5,000 cheque from the Rotary Club of Amherstburg and an additional $1,114 from the Ribfest Committee, the latter being a sub-committee of Rotary. The latter cheque was the share designated for the Park House from the 50/50 draws held during the July festival.

Bill Wark, president of the Amherstburg Historic Sites Association, was happy to receive the cheques.

“We are very thankful for the support from the Rotary Club,” said Wark. “The donations are critical to the operation of the Park House.”

Wark added the Amherstburg Historic Sites Association (AHSA) has a great partnership with the Rotary Club and wants to see it continue.

Rotary Club president Laura George said the service organization may be undertaking an event to assist the Park House Museum, noting they “feel the pinch” as well as they need volunteers and help with projects.

“More hands make for lighter work,” said George.

The Amherstburg Historic Sites Association, which operates the Park House Museum, received a $5,000 from the Rotary Club and a $1,114 cheque from the Rotary’s Ribfest committee last Tuesday night. From left: Bert McLellan, Janet Gardiner, AHSA president Bill Wark, Hazen Price, Rotary president Laura George, Peter Mingay and Fred Roberts.

Park House Museum curator Stephanie Pouget-Papak agreed that the donations are “crucial” in helping the museum operate and offer programs. She said upcoming events include their All Hallow’s Eve event and a “ghost tour,” the latter having “a lot of buzz” surrounding it.

Pouget-Papak also pointed out the Park House Museum will also continue its school tours and Christmas programming in the coming months.

Wark said the Park House Museum did well with its “Music off the Back Porch” series this summer. The museum will also be holding a fundraising dinner Oct. 21 at Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 with $20 tickets being available at the Park House Museum.

Wark pointed out the event starts with a social at 4 p.m. with the dinner being at 5:30 p.m. There will be a raffle and prizes as well, he added.

Hazen Price, whom Wark called “one of the main cogs” of both the AHSA and Rotary, said the link between the Park House Museum and the Rotary Club of Amherstburg dates back many years.

“The Park House was a Rotary project to begin with,” said Price.

For more information on the Rotary Club, visit http://www.amherstburgrotary.com, e-mail George at rotary.amherstburg@gmail.com or visit their Facebook page.

For more information on the Park House Museum, visit www.parkhousemuseum.com or call 519-736-2511. The museum is located at 214 Dalhousie St.

Park House Museum to present exhibit highlighting women’s expanding role in Canada

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Park House Museum is celebrating Canada 150 by looking a women’s roles over the past 150 years.

The Park House’s latest exhibit – “Her Story: 150 Years of Women in Canada – Fashion, Politics, and Gender Roles” – will open May 26, much earlier than anticipated as July 1 was the original target date. Curator Stephanie Pouget-Papak said this is an exhibit she has looked forward to presenting.

“We have a fabulous collection of clothing at the museum,” said Pouget-Papak. “It was a matter of finding a storyline for it.”

With 2017 being Canada’s 150th birthday, Pouget-Papak decided to “think outside the box” and examine the changing roles of women over the last 150 years. There are several portions to the exhibit, which people can walk and read through on the upper floor of the museum, with one being “Votes for Women.” That area talks about women’s roles in politics and elections with Pouget-Papak hoping to add a list of all women that served on town council.

There is also an area on women’s roles in wartime, with Pouget-Papak stating war helped become a “vehicle that moved women forward.” There is a “nursing sister” dress featured as part of that section.

The exhibit also looks at women’s roles in education, how they were educated for specific professions and their role in the labour force. While women were sent home from the factories after World War I, she said many stayed employed in factories after World War II and the exhibit includes a photo from the former Alymer Canning Factory.

Park House Museum curator Stephanie Pouget-Papak adjusts a dress on a mannequin in preparation for the museum’s new women’s exhibit.

Park House Museum curator Stephanie Pouget-Papak adjusts a dress on a mannequin in preparation for the museum’s new women’s exhibit.

Another component of the exhibit features the rise of consumerism, which Pouget-Papak said “exploded in the 20th Century.” There is another portion devoted to how film influenced fashion with another portion being for children. The children’s portion allows them to dress up and be themselves as Pouget-Papak stated, “it doesn’t matter what you look like, you are strong and beautiful.”

There will also be an opportunity to play “history detective” as questions will be posed that either can be answered in the story boards or by looking up the information.

The Park House Museum has an intern from the University of Windsor and that enabled the museum to get the exhibit open earlier. A preview reception will be held May 19 with a limited number of spots available. The preview reception costs $5 to attend and those interested in attending are asked to reserve their spot in advance.

“It’s like Christmas Day for me when an exhibit finally opens,” said Pouget-Papak.

Pouget-Papak added she has a five-year plan for programming with the 2018 exhibit to have an archaeological theme.

“Her Story: 150 Years of Women in Canada – Fashion, Politics, and Gender Roles” will run through Oct. 6. Operating hours are Monday-Friday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. in May and June, seven days per week from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in July and August, with hours returning to 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday in September and October. Admission is $4 for adults, $3 for seniors, $2.50 for children over four and children under four being free.

Pouget-Papak also stated she is working on a program geared to Grade 8 students on women’s roles for when school groups tour the museum.

The Park House is also hiring seven students as the museum has received grant funding to afford the hiring. Those interested can call the Park House Museum at 519-736-2511 or visit www.parkhousemuseum.com. Their Facebook page is www.facebook.com/ParkHouseAmherstburg and their Twitter address is @parkhousemuseum.