Park House Museum

Paranormal investigation held at Park House Museum


By Ron Giofu


Are there ghosts living in the Park House Museum?

Some say they have heard unknown people running up and down the stairs and some claim there have been doors slamming for no reason.

As a fundraiser, the local community museum held a public paranormal investigation Friday the 13th with the event being sold out. It was held in two two-hour sessions with a team from P03 Paranormal undertaking the investigation.

The team that presented the the public paranormal investigation stand in the parlour of the Park House Museum. They include Jay Mower, Megan Garant, Teena Duchesne and Jaclyn Tiefenbach.

“We’re just volunteering to do it,” said investigator Teena Duchesne. “I’ve been a paranormal investigator for six years.”

Duchesne and her team brought their equipment and allowed people to hold dowsing rods, the latter which were used for finding water in the 1800’s and now are used to communicate with spirits.

The two-hour sessions saw teams split up and try to contact spirits on one floor of the museum before switching halfway through and going to the other floor.

Duchesne said they will be part of the Amherstburg Uncommon Festival and will also be part of the Ghost Tours happening at the Park House Aug. 3-4 and Oct. 19-20. Tickets are required for the Park House Ghost Tours and more information can be obtained by calling 519-736-2511 or e-mailing

The ghost tours will also have a history component as well, Duchesne added, as Park House staff and volunteers will join P03 Paranormal in presenting the evening.

Teena Duchesne from PO3 Paranormal searches for activity during a public paranormal session at the Park House Museum.

P03 Paranormal had conducted private paranormal investigations in the past at the Park House and Duchesne said she approached Park House curator Stephanie Pouget-Papak about doing a public one and they agreed to have one as a fundraiser.

Other upcoming Park House Museum events include “Hands on Heritage” Saturdays and Sundays, a “Harry Potter Tea Tasting” Aug. 19 and a “Witches Tea” Oct. 13 at 1 p.m. Pre-registration and payment required for the latter two events.

More information on the Park House Museum can be found at while both the Park House and P03 Paranormal can be found on Facebook.

New exhibit highlighting busy season at Park House Museum



By Ron Giofu


A busy season will be getting underway soon at the Park House Museum, with one of the highlights being the new archeological exhibit.

“Can You Dig It? Archeology in Amherstburg” was supposed to open July 2 on the upper floor of the exhibit but it is now expected to open about a month earlier than that, as an official opening is planned for early June.

Some of the treasures in the exhibit include nails, scissors, plates and many other items that have been dug up over the years. Some artifacts date back to 8000 B.C., said curator Stephanie Pouget-Papak.

A button that fell off a military jacket from the Butler’s Rangers dates back to 1782.

“It’s the only one in existence,” said Pouget-Papak.

There is also a lantern on display that had been pulled from the Detroit River.

Park House Museum summer student Mark Rosati stands with some of the artifacts that will be part of the new exhibit. “Can You Dig It? Archeology in Amherstburg” will debut June 8.

Items that are part of the exhibit include items discovered at the original Park House site, located further south on Dalhousie St. where the Duffy’s Motel used to sit. Other artifacts were discovered at the Gibb House when that was restored at the corner of King and Gore streets. Even more items were unearthed at the Elliott House, which used to be located on Front Road South.

“This year, we decided to feature dug artifacts in our collection,” explained Pouget-Papak.

Pouget-Papak said they have numerous boxes of artifacts but pulled out some of the more interesting pieces for the exhibit. Some were lent to the Park House by Hazen Price, who used to farm in the Front Road South area.

“I tried to pick items that told a nicer story,” she said.

The exhibit was completed earlier than expected thanks to University of Windsor interns, Pouget-Papak added. The exhibit also features an Indiana Jones flare as well, she added, as some of the descriptions are laid out in a style reminiscent of the movies.

The exhibit preview is June 8. Park House members receive their own tour from 6-7 p.m. and it opens to the public at 7 p.m. That night is free for members and $5 for the public. Light refreshments will be served.

Artifacts from the collection of Hazen Price is part of the Park House Museum’s new exhibit.

The first floor of the Park House Museum will be decorated as a World War I house would have been, she said. There will also be more ghost tours this summer, Pouget-Papak added, including a public paranormal investigation that will take place July 13, which is a Friday.

The “Music off the Back Porch” series also is scheduled to get underway June 1 from 6:30-8 p.m., with donations encouraged. People are advised to bring their own lawn chairs that night if they want to hear the music of Will Hawksworth and Brandon Deline.

Admission to the Park House is $4 for adults, $3 for seniors with children 5-16 being $2.50 and children 0-4 free. Family admission rates are $12 and school groups are $5 per student. Pouget-Papak said people can also purchase annual memberships which are $30 for seniors/students, $35 for adults and $40 for families. Lifetime memberships are $250.

For more information on the Park House Museum, visit or call 519-736-2511.

Park House looking to increase accessibility



By Ron Giofu


The Park House Museum has turned to a television on the main floor as a way to alleviate some of the accessibility issues the historic building has.

Although the first floor is wheelchair accessible, the second floor is not, noted curator Stephanie Pouget-Papak. An elevator is not an option for the historic building, she said, and a chair lift option has proven difficult to bring to fruition as that could damage the historic staircase.

“It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while,” she said. “I came up with an idea to put a television in.”

Park House curator Stephanie Pouget-Papak stands next to the main floor TV that was recently installed.

The television can show visitors what is offered on the second floor if someone is physically unable to climb the stairs. If needed, it can also serve as a message board for visitors and also play videos from the National Film Board of Canada. The latter ties into a future exhibit, as Pouget-Papak said the Park House is looking at commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and what the Park family was doing at that time.

Another plan for 2018 is an archaeological exhibit for the second floor.

“We’re probably going to start on that in the second week in January,” she said.

For more information on the Park House Museum, phone 519-736-2511, visit, check out their Facebook page at or follow them on Twitter at

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.