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Keeping Track of History Part 1

October 26, 2021 in Uncategorized


Museums, on nearly any topic, create the expectation of keeping track of history, sorting artifacts, knowing their origins and stories and being able to pull this stuff out when needed. It is an important service that recognizes and honours heritage and innovations.

The Muskoka Steamships and Discovery Centre is one such facility that strives to maintain a disciplined and effective strategy to its collections.

Mary Storey, a volunteer at the Centre, is primarily responsible for the archives. She explained some of what goes on in the archives, what the collection consists of and what services the Centre provides. This will span a couple of blogs, so check back for part two!

The history of Muskoka has many points of view, too many to cover effectively. There is the history of Indigenous peoples, the first Europeans and then the summer traditions. Mary explained that the archives has been focusing on the steamships, wooden boats past and present, and resort hotels as well as some basic Muskoka industrial and community history that includes lumbering and related industries. Mary and her team work closely with the Gravenhurst Library to share and pass along materials that are more in line with one collection or another. Mary said the town’s Heritage Committee includes members who represent the different archival services so everyone is connected and learning is shared.

It is important to remember that the MSDC archives is run entirely by volunteers who have developed their skills on the go and through dedication to service.

By Tim Du Vernet

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