Stephanie Pouget-Papak

Park House Museum goes back in time to World War I



By Ron Giofu


The Park House Museum regularly gives visitors a chance to relive the past, but a recent event took people back to 1918.

The Park House’s annual Christmas event was entitled “We’ll be Home for Christmas: A World War One Christmas and Other Edwardian Traditions” this year. Curator Stephanie Pouget-Papak said they went back to 1918 because it is the 100th anniversary of the Armistice and the fact they also had a World War I exhibit this year.

“Every year we host an annual Christmas style open house,” she explained. “We’re cooking recipes that were published in 1918.”

Ben Papak and Adam Walker stand outside the Park House during the museum’s World War I Christmas event.

Food included pork shoulder, meat pies, baked rice custard and war cakes, the latter baked with no eggs or flour.

There were also artifacts and souvenirs on display from World War I and three people dressed in soldiers’ attire. Women and children were also dressed in clothing of that era.

“People really love it,” said Pouget-Papak. “It’s different.”

Jason Papak stands with World War I memorabilia and medals that were on exhibit as part of the Park House Museum’s World War I Christmas event.

The public enjoyed going back into the early 20th Century, she added, and that it also fit in with a World War II Christmas that was held at the Park House Museum a few years ago.

There were also children’s games and tinsmithing demonstrations, the latter being done in the basement of the Park House by volunteer Victor Lavergne.

Victor Lavergne works in the basement of the Park House doing tinsmithing work during the World War I Christmas event Nov. 25.

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

The Park House Museum is located at 214 Dalhousie St.

All Hallow’s Eve Festival celebrates local history



By Christian Bouchard


The Park House Museum held their fifth annual All Hallow’s Eve Festival recently.

The local museum, which just recently received a designation as a national historic site, opened its doors to the public from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Stephanie Pouget-Papak, the museum curator, said the public loved the event.

Nicholas Robinson demonstrates how blankets were made at the House Park during the fifth annual Hallow’s Eve Festival.

“We had comment cards and we’re getting nine and 10 out of 10,” said Pouget-Papak. “People are saying they’ll come back to more events so it’s great to see the community support.”

Throughout the day, the public had the opportunity to tour the Park House and take in the history. Some of the attractions included a printing press, which was used to create the very issue of the Amherstburg Echo, a live demonstration of how lanterns were created and even learning the process of creating blankets straight from scratch.

In the kitchen, the Pouget-Papak welcomed the public to a cooking demonstration where rabbit stew was prepared. The stew was created from a cookbook recipe, dating back in the 1800s. The cookbook featured over 1,500 different recipes. She estimated the meal took around three hours to prepare.

Nicholas Robinson was one of many tour guides throughout the day giving demonstrations and answering questions.  He said what he likes to share most with people are the “nitty gritty” details that aren’t necessarily in history books.

“It’s sort of like living history, said Robinson. “We’re showing history as it happens,” said Robinson.

Fun and educational program was scared up at the recent All Hallow’s Eve event at the Park House Museum in Amherstburg.

Pouget-Papak mentioned the importance of the Park House Museum events involving history as the live action helps many understand the history opposed to only being able to read about it elsewhere.

“We encourage people to come out,” said Pouget-Papak.

If they’ve missed this round of programming, they’ve got another round of Christmas programming coming up in a month or so.

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

Park House Museum presenting new writing contest


By Ron Giofu

Do you want to be creative but not sure what to write about?

The Park House Museum may have the answer.

The Park House is holding a writing contest, though younger children may have an opportunity to submit pictures, with curator Stephanie Pouget-Papak stating it’s been an idea that she has had for a while.

Participants must include one of three themes – Amherstburg’s holiday traditions, traditions in our community or Amherstburg’s heritage. Pouget-Papak said it can be a piece of fiction or non-fiction and involve what the topic means to you, a character or a character from the past.

The writing competition is open to all ages. Categories include pre-school to JK/SK, primary (Grades 1-3), junior (Grades 4-6), intermediate (Grades 7-9), senior (Grades 10-12) and adult (ages 18-and-over). Pictures will be accepted from the pre-school to JK/SK category.

“Part of our mandate is being inclusive,” said Pouget-Papak. “Everyone who enters will go into a ballot draw and we will pick one winner.”

All entries will be displayed at the Park House Museum for one year as well as being archived for future generations. There is no limit to how long entries can be, as Pouget-Papak said the length of entries “is open to your creativity.”

The Park House Museum is presenting a new writing contest. Winners will be announced Nov. 17.

Winners will be announced during the opening night of the River Lights Winter Festival Nov. 17. Participants could win a one-year membership to the Park House and a $10 gift card.

Pouget-Papak said literacy is important and that sometimes people have to write about things that they don’t find fun. She hopes this contest will allow people to be creative and enjoy writing.

Submissions are due by Nov. 15 at 4 p.m. They can be e-mailed in PDF format to, mailed in 8×11 paper format to the Park House Museum, 214 Dalhousie St., Amherstburg, ON N9V 1W4 or dropped off at the Park House Museum, River Town Times office at 67 Richmond St. or the Marsh Historical Collection at 80 Richmond St. Entries must be in an envelope marked “Park House Museum writing contest.”

Entry forms are available at those locations as well, or on the Park House website at

The Park House Museum will be hosting “We’ll be Home for Christmas: A World War One Christmas and Other Edwardian Traditions” Nov. 25 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission for that event is by donation.

“Dickens by Candlelight: An Evening Tea and Selected Renditions” will be hosted on Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. Pre-registration and payment is required and the cost is $10.

For more information on the writing contest or the Park House events, call 519-736-2511.

Rotary Club celebrates Park House’s National Historic Significance status



The Rotary Club of Amherstburg has stepped forward again in the public interest, most recently achieving for the Park House Museum the federal designation as a structure of National Historic Significance.

The Park House pre-dates the American revolution in 1776 as a former trading post and was relocated to Amherstburg in 1796 when the British forces decamped from Fort Detroit to Amherstburg. Its design typifies a trading post with numbered logs for disassembly.

The building survived the American invasion during the War of 1812 and later acquired the Park name from prominent merchants.

In 1972, the building was slated for demolition when rescued by the Rotary Club led at that point by then-president Hazen Prize and it was moved to King’s Navy Yard Park. Ownership was given to the Amherstburg Historic Sites Association, presently led by president Bill Wark. Annual funding comes from the Rotary Club of Amherstburg.

Bill Wark (left), president of the Amherstburg Historic Sites Association, stands with Rotarians Terry Hall and Hazen Price. The latter have saved the Park House so that it is a site of National Historic Significance.

To seek federal funding, Rotarian Terry Hall proposed an application to the Government of Canada for designation as a National Historic Site, similar to Fort Malden. The application’s success required extensive assistance from the Park House curator Stephanie Pouget-Papak.

At the Rotary Club’s meeting last Wednesday night, Wark thanked Hall and Pouget-Papak for their work in ensuring the success of the application.

“We’re certainly thankful for their good work,” he said.

Wark noted that Hall helped lead efforts to apply for the National Historic Significance designation while Pouget-Papak did a lot of research to support the application.

The Park House Museum is located at 214 Dalhousie St. Their phone number is 519-736-2511 and their website is

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.