By Tristan Marks
The wait is finally over as the new Lincoln Museum & Cultural Centre is now open.
As of July 24, Lincoln History lovers can come explore the exhibits on display in the new space while also revisiting old favourites such as the Jordan Schoolhouse. A grand opening celebration will also coincide with Pioneer Day weekend, set for October 2 and 3.
Admission to the Museum and Cultural Centre will remain free for all, although donations are accepted. Its current hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays. The facilities are closed on Mondays.
Museum cultural development coordinator Jessica Wilson said she sees this new space becoming an important community hub.
“This is a new space for the community,” she said. “We want them to use it and be comfortable.”
There are four opening exhibits, two permanent and two on a six month rotation. The rotating exhibits are ‘Belonging’, which details the stories of immigrants from all over the world who chose to settle in Lincoln, and ‘Common Ground’, which opens up the natural geography of the region alongside artifacts that were uncovered during the building’s construction process.
The two permanent exhibits are ‘Our Story’, which details the the history of the land that would become Lincoln, Ontario from before the 18th century to today, and ‘Fraktur’ a gallery of the museum’s collection of rare Mennonite Fraktur art.
These exhibits also show off the museum’s emphasis on mixed media interactivity.
“We wanted to do more than just the traditional museum experience of reading off placards,” said Wilson. “We actually have a lot of different media we’re using in these exhibits.”
These media include TV reels that add documentary context to exhibitions or listening stations that play recordings such as eye witness accounts.
There is also new way for kids to interact with the museum in the form of activity backpacks. Parents can borrow one of 20 unique backpacks full of educational activities, books and games for kids to work through while still on the museum grounds. Since each of these backpacks is unique and absolutely free, families can come back for a completely different experience each time.
Of course, the Jordan Museum & Cultural Centre is no stranger to interactive experience as anyone who has participated in the Schoolhouse Program will know. Now that construction on the new facility is complete, programming is set to begin again for the Fry House and Jordan Schoolhouse as the pandemic continues to abate. Free drop-in tours of the two historical buildings will be available during July and August, and free guided tours of the exhibits will be offered on Fridays at 1:30 p.m.
“We’re excited to be back here and able to continue the schoolhouse program again,” said Wilson.
With the building also comes new, high-tech storage for the museum’s collection of artifacts and documents. The museum basement houses its collections in world-class climate and humidity-controlled storage rooms.
“We have all these wonderful artifacts and they’ve never been housed in one place before,” said Wilson. “Everything in the museum collection is stored here now.”
Every artifact is also listed in a digital catalogue for easy access for the museum staff.
The grand opening event will start on Saturday, October 2 with Pioneer Day, and then continue with an ‘Art Lives Here’ event the next day. Wilson said that these events are meant to demonstrate both the ‘Museum’ and ‘Cultural Centre’ aspects of the facility.
“These events are representative of what this building offers: history on Saturday and then Arts & Culture on Sunday,” she said.