OLDE GAOL SET FOR SUMMER SEASON
By Kirk Winter
I had a chance to sit down with Margot Fawcett, the President of the Victoria County Historical Society, to discover what's ahead for the Olde Gaol Museum in Lindsay as summer approaches.
Fawcett shared that the museum would be opening on Wednesday, May 30 for its 2019 season “featuring all new exhibits and a fresh coat of paint on both floors, and a new theme, Telling our Untold Stories.” Fawcett “welcomed residents who are more interested in learning more about our local history in an informal but informative setting.” Fawcett also said, “The new exhibits have been designed to tell these stories about the people who lived in our area, how they lived and events that effected their lives.”
Fawcett promised that since most local visitors and tourists came wanting to see the old Victoria County jail, more emphasis is being placed on the building itself when it was being operated as a jail in the same civic block as the Courthouse, now the City Hall.
Fawcett also shared that a series of “Table Talks” in the Community Room featuring local guest speakers will offer visitors more stories based on various exhibits. More information about the Table Talks will be shared on the Olde Gaol Museum website, on Facebook and Instagram as information becomes available.
As of May 30, the Olde Gaol Museum will be open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am until 3:30pm with $5 admission for adults and $3 for children and youth 3 to 18 years old.
Fawcett said that this new season is possible because of the hard work of the volunteers who have diligently spent the past months giving the Olde Gaol a facelift and created new exhibits. She said the success of the summer season will be “based on the quality and variety of exhibits, volunteers and a continued positive relationship with the City.” Fawcett emphasized that the new season was also made possible because of the member donors who have supported the museum financially. Fawcett stated “the museum is looking for more sponsors and donors to support activities over the next few years.”
When asked about the future of the Historical Society, Fawcett said that the volunteer Board is determined to manage Olde Gaol Museum’s day-to-day business operations more professionally and to the standards set by the Ontario Museum Association and Canadian Museum Association, of which they are members.
The City owns the jail building, which is a key Lindsay tourist attraction, and the Historical Society operates the Olde Gaol Museum as their tenant. The Society currently has an excellent working relationship with the City staff and “looks forward to that relationship continuing” under a new lease agreement.
When asked about plans for a new Cultural hub(s) that might provide space for the Historical Society, City Public Archives and the Art Gallery, Fawcett stated that the Historical Society “will certainly be sitting at the table when the talks are being held, but the talks are ever changing.” Fawcett has been down this road before with previous City councils and has very much taken a “I will believe it when I see it” attitude towards a new Cultural Centre being established in Lindsay.
Fawcett concluded our talk by saying that the primary goal of the Victoria County Historical Society moving forward is “to continue to showcase our Collection and local history in exhibits designed to inform and entertain our visitors”.