Marine Museum exhibits return to original historic location

The Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston, located on the shores of Lake Ontario at 55 Ontario Street. Submitted photo.

The Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston has announced the return of exhibits at its 55 Ontario Street Kingston Dry Dock National Historic Site location.

Currently on display, the museum’s exhibit Life in the Naval Reserve commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve (RCNR) and features over 20 artworks by Kingston artist Grant Macdonald. The exhibit recruits visitors to experience life and work in the RCNR during the Second World War through the work of Grant Macdonald, according to a release from the museum. Visitors will enter a Second World War Recruiting Station-style experience with interactive elements geared to visitors of all ages.

The Marine Museum noted that the Macdonald collection comprises paintings and drawings of wartime officers, sailors and WRENS. Some are portraits of specific individuals, but the majority capture scenes from life at sea, according to the release. This exhibit focuses on the series of works depicting scenes from life at sea, and also includes artifacts relating to this period.

This exhibit marks the Museum’s first new exhibit since 2016 and is located in the Museum’s 1890s Pumphouse building with its newly restored windows and doors. This restoration project was funded by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), the Ontario Trillium Foundation and William James Henderson Foundation. The museum had relocated to Portsmouth Olympic Harbour after the 55 Ontario Street property was purchased by local developer Jay Patry, who left the property stagnant after the purchase. Patry had intended to develop a 292-unit highrise on the property, a proposal that saw much push-back from the City of Kingston and local residents. This, paired with the hefty site clean-up costs for the developer, led to three years of the historic site sitting dormant until, in July 2019, the museum was able to purchase the property back from Patry, thanks to the financial donation of an anonymous benefactor.

Life in the Naval Reserve is open during the museum’s operating hours, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Sunday, and the museum will host a special opening event tonight, Thursday, Jun. 22, 2023, from 5 to 7 p.m. Admission starts at $8 per person. Special programs accompanying this exhibit will run throughout the year for families and adults. Follow the Museum on social media (@marinemuseumkingston) or sign-up for their newsletter to receive regular updates at marmuseum.ca.

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