The Museum has an extensive collection of historic objects. The public has access to much of it by visiting a number of exhibits in the Church, the Academy, and eventually in the Foss House and Alger House. In particular we are proud of the following exhibits that tell local history.
Permanent Exhibit in the Church
A Tale of the Townships
Who were the people who first lived in this part of the Eastern Townships? How did the population become what it is today? Why do so many of the houses in the village of Eaton Corner look just like houses built in New England in the 1700s and 1800s? When did French-speaking people first arrive here?
A Tale of the Townships tells the story that needs to be told - about how this part of the Townships was first settled in the early 1800s by Americans from the New England States, and the kind of life these early settlers made here. They were followed by Brits, Scots, Irish, and then French Canadians.
Follow the displays in the old Church building to see history unfold. You will see precious objects carefully selected from our extensive collections, which trace this story from the time of the Amerindians who used this land thousands of years ago. How the pioneers cleared the land, made potash, grew crops, made cloth, and celebrated life and God are all here.
The Museum is proud to include drawings by local artist Denis Palmer to illustrate the exhibition themes.
Temporary Exhibits in the Foss House
An exhibition space in the Foss House will be open to the public for the first time with two exhibits:
A Tale of the Townships in Watercolour and Ink, original artworks by Denis Palmer. In 2014, a new permanent exhibition was installed in the main museum building (the former Congregationalist Church built in 1841) titled A Tale of the Townships. It includes beautiful collages depicting different eras and themes in the history of the Townships. The artwork for these collages was created by local artist Denis Palmer, of Randboro. The original works from which the collages were digitally created will be on display in the Foss House, and will be for sale, during the 2015 season. Through Mr. Palmer’s generosity, part of the revenues from the sales will be donated to the Museum.
Rhythm of Farm Work in the 19th Century. This exhibition is part of an extensive display presented at the 100th Anniversary of the Agricultural Research Station in Lennoxville, in 2014. It includes agricultural tools and equipment from the Museum’s extensive collections which depict the purpose and technology of farming in the late 19th Century. The exhibit will be reorganized for the space available at the Foss House.
Home Children Exhibit
The Museum has one of the best collections in Canada of memorabilia and archival materials telling the story of the thousands of orphaned or abandoned children who were brought from England by religious and philanthropic institutions to live with Canadian families as farm labourers or domestic servants between 1869 and the 1940s. About 8,000 of them came to Quebec. It is estimated that between 3 and 4 million Canadians are directly descended from the Home Children. These “little immigrants” often had hard lives, but most survived and stayed to become part of Canadian society. Visit the Museum to see the wooden chests given to each boy or girl for their journey, and learn about this part of Canadian history.
Oral History Collection: Remembering Our Own
Between 2005 and 2009, interviews with 23 local seniors about the “old days” were put on videotape and CD-ROM. This was a special Museum project privately funded by a friend of the Museum. The interviews can be viewed at the Museum, or purchased for personal copies. It’s a great privilege and a treat to listen to these local elders, many of whom are still alive. They were all local residents telling the stories of their lives. The subjects are varied and fascinating. Some are about growing up on a farm in the early 1900s, or about the war years, and some stretch back to memories of their own parents and grandparents in the 1800s. These are a precious record of local history.