L&A County Museum hosts the weird and wonderful this summer

In the heart of Napanee is a fantasy world inhabited by weird and scary creatures, characters endowed with magical powers and strange phenomena.  

“Tales of Fantasy” is a special exhibit on loan to the Lennox & Addington County Museum this summer from the Sherbrooke Museum of Nature and Science. It aims to lead visitors into the world of legends and myths captured from Canadian and Indigenous heritage.

Paige, age 14, explores some reading material on display. Michelle Dorey Forestell

Learn how oral legends created from one teller to another, travel and evolve as time goes by. Over the past few years, storytellers, authors and musicians have contributed to the revival of oral traditions. They are bringing back to life a whole spectrum of our cultural heritage. This now allows these forgotten legends and myths of our nations to come back to life and be recognized.

You can sit in a flying canoe and listen to oral storytellers from all over Canada, as they share classic and contemporary myths and legends. Next, pull up a toadstool and see how classic characters and elements of fantasy are identified and explored across time and culture.  

Jack (human age 11) explores the exhibit, Tegosis of the Manogemasak (elfin creature age unknown) waits for younger visitors to come. Photo by Michelle Dorey Forestell.

The origins of the legends of the sasquatch, werewolves and other mysterious creatures are also examined.

Children are encouraged to explore their own storytelling abilities by following “Tegosis” which means “Little Wave”, a member of the Manogemasak, the strange aquatic Little People of the Abenaki culture. One of several kinds of Little People in First Nation cultures, Tegosis welcomes children to various stations and helps them to create a tale of fantasy themselves that they are then encouraged to make an oral recording of or write down.

Tales of Fantasy is on display until September 25, 2021.

Copy of a footprint of Bigfoot found in Bossburg, Washington (1969) Comparison with a human foot (male).
Similar footprints were found in the Vain Mountains near the Saguenay (2001) and near Lake Memphremagog in Vermont, USA (1991). Photo by Michelle Dorey Forestell.

In fact, A trip to the Lennox & Addington County Museum this summer and fall has something to offer just about everyone.  

For those unfamiliar, the museum and archives are housed in the old County Gaol, a historic 1864 limestone building that served as the county jail until 1971.  the story of the settlement and historical development of Lennox & Addington County is highlighted in several themed exhibits.  And you can even  get a mugshot in one of the old cells and see just what awaited a county criminal “back in the day.”

A recently opened new semi-permanent exhibit, “A Place to Call Home” establishes a new look and tone for exhibit development at the museum.  This engaging exhibit lets you discover the County’s history, biodiversity, agriculture, and industry through the use of colourful maps, photographs, anecdotes, and artifacts.  

L&A covers a lot of territory physically and historically, and it is easy to see that what happened in North Addington is very different from what happened in Bath; this long narrow strip of country has many stories to tell. Shaped through its history, geography, people, towns and industries, this exhibit promotes a feeling of belonging as it introduces you to the significance of Lennox and Addington County. 

Affectionately Yours

Along with the semi-permanent and visiting exhibitions, you can explore the fascinating and romantic “Affectionately Yours” a brand new in-house curated exhibit presented in the museum’s recently renovated new gallery space. 

The love letters between Mary Swetman and Thomas Nash are found in the Lennox and Addington Archival Collection. The letters dated, 1818-1821, cite wishes, hopes, and dreams between a couple who were planning a life together. Thomas proposes in November 1818. Tragically, their love was cut short with the death of Mary in December 1819 of tuberculous. Photo by Michelle Dorey Forestell.

Originally this area of the museum served as the Jailer’s residence, living room and kitchen. The space pays homage to that time but has now been updated as a welcoming exhibit gallery.

Affectionately Yours presents beautifully memories of love and romance left behind and captured through photographs, letters, and objects found in the approximately 10,000 items in the museum’s collection, collected in partnership with the Lennox & Addington Historical Society.

Memories are made tangible through period clothing, ceramics, and textiles. They tell the story of first kisses, shared laughter and sorrow, adventures sought, milestones reached, hurdles crossed, and the unique roads travelled when you choose to share your life with another person. 

Also on exhibit Jul. 16 to Sept. 25, 2021 is “Spiritual Echoes of Northern Lennox & Addington” by Artist Carla Miedema.

Miedema was born in the Netherlands but spent 47 years living in the Cloyne area near Bon Echo Provincial Park on the edge of the Canadian Shield.   Her art is often focused on Bon Echo Provincial Park. It is easy to see Carla’s love of Northern Lennox and Addington, nature, and the environment reflected in her work.

Bark, seeds, flowers, grasses, and other bits of material found in nature become part of her paintings using acrylic and mixed media on canvas.  These elements create a sculptural relief effect. The layering and glazing of the paints and other materials reflect the constant changes and the cycle of life in nature.  

Carla’s artwork has been published in books and featured in newspapers.  Her art has received awards and prizes and can be found in Canadian, European, and United States collections.

Find out more about The Lennox and Adding County Museum and Archives and how you can visit, there truly is something for everyone at this small but mighty museum.

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