Bonnechere Museum | Eganville Ontario

An Update

My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;
A-chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
My heart's in the Highlands wherever I go.

Robert Burns 1759 - 1796


Robert Burns might not have had Renfrew County, Ontario in mind when he wrote these lines. However, his feelings of freedom, individualism, and loyalty to the land live on in the hearts of the many hunters who will take to the woods this week and next. Love it or hate it, the annual deer hunt is an important tradition. There is a place for hunting records and a set of trophy antlers in Bonnechere Museum.

Paid and unpaid

The past week has been another busy one at the museum site. Volunteers and trades people have been very active. Ken O’Day, Mike Stone and Gerry Bimm completed the gyproc restoration, plastering and sanding. Gerry and his father, Ken, tidied up the loose telephone wires and removed obsolete plumbing. Reinert's Electric has rerouted some feeds and made the wiring safe, and Robert Bimm has shifted the two floor heaters that jutted into walking space. Chris Von Herff and Mike Stone shopped for a new carpet and have it on order; Wilbert Kauffeldt will lay it as soon as conditions make it possible. Having done a major cleaning before painting, assisted by Debbie O’Neill and Joan Lehto, Noreen Calver removed the old carpet, rolled the scaffolding into position and started painting the ceiling moldings. Quite a list! The coffee-mustard moldings, stone-grey walls, white baseboards and windows and new matching carpet make an impressive and attractive main floor – definitely worth seeing on November 25, the date of our Open House.

Open House

There are more recent plans to share. Organizing the open house are Stewart Jack and Jo-Anne Koch. Viewing displays will start at 1:30 P.M. There will be a display for each of the former municipalities that make up The Township of Bonnechere Valley. Joey Shay is preparing one for South Algona, Gerry Bimm for Sebastopol, Frank Cosentino and Stewart Jack for Grattan, Lois and Graeme Leonard for Eganville with some material from Terry O’Brien and Mary Whelan. Also, Mike Lett is making a special firemen’s display. You will see several artifacts from Father Roy Valiquette’s collection. Then the program will begin. This writer will be director of ceremonies. After opening remarks, a cast of three, Maureen Power, John Stewart, and Marlene Green , will present the first skit, freshly entitled "Counting Eggs". Since the open house is so close to St. Andrew’s Day, November 30, Guy Jamieson will entertain with some Scottish music. The Ladies’ Barbershop Chorus will sing selections they have called "Just For Fun". The members are Karen Krieger, Patti Wren, Elaine Krieger, Jo-Anne Koch, Elaine Drefke, Pam McNeil and Liz Pilatzke. The second skit daringly called "The Temptress" has a cast of four: Sherrée Letovsky, Maureen Kelly, Tom Gallagher, and Claude Jeannotte. Both skits are directed by Mary Whelan and John Stewart. After the entertainment, there will be refreshments. Ron Nelson has donated desserts for the occasion. It’s going to be fun. The entertainment will be an hour in length. I mention that for those who intend to watch the Grey Cup. There are no tickets; it’s admission by donation. Come and enjoy the afternoon.

How and When

Both encouraged and appreciative, museum board members have tailored renovation expenses to match the arrival of donations, and volunteer help has closed the cost gaps.

Two consultants from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, Susan Hreljac and Fiona Graham, who visited last Friday, expressed surprise to find the development of our museum almost a year ahead of their expectations; they offered some practical advice and assured the board of their willingness to provide guidance and keep us informed of financial support channels which open up as budgets get drawn up. Plans for the spring opening include display cases and pedestals, wall furnishings and pillar lighting, along with display carrels – all expensive and needed items; these plans await further funding.

Several people have asked if they could give a donation as a memorial or as a gift in recognition of a friend or family. The answer is yes and a tax receipt is available on request.

Protect our past; give to our future.