Bonnechere Museum | Eganville Ontario


One of the tall tales of the Ottawa Valley is that of big Joe Mufferaw's pet frog named Barrum. It was killed when it was hit by the train just outside Eganville. Because of the giant size of Joe's frog, it took several weeks to clear the tracks. The steaks cut off the frog fed the work crew for two weeks!

How do I know it's true? Just ask Bernie Bedore of White Lake. He told me himself.


There was another train in Eganville during the past week, but it was a work train inside the future Bonnechere Museum! On Tuesday, September 25, by noon, the Bonnechere Valley Works crew, along with volunteers, removed the partitions on the first floor. They set aside wiring and outlets to make them accessible and traceable and to allow a supply of electricity for tools. They saved crown moldings for future restorations to keep the traditional or heritage look. In the afternoon, more volunteers swept and vacuumed the remaining debris. On Wednesday, Stephen Contant began to demolish the cement block walls of the vault and its five-inch, cement cap. A combination of muscle-powered sledge-hammer and electric jack hammer slowly reduced the metal-reinforced blocks and ceiling to chunks and chips. On Friday, the Works Crew removed the cement debris. Final clearing will take place on Monday, October 1. During a chat with Ken Bimm yesterday afternoon, he happened to cough and I could see his breath, I thought. However, I knew it was too warm to see one's breath. Then, I realized that what I saw was really his share of the plaster dust he had inhaled while we were vacuuming after the demolitions.


The main display area is open. The next task is running electrical wiring. While this proceeds, installing some gyproc, plastering joints, and touch-up plastering can get under way. The removed partitions left spaces and rough sub-surfaces, which will need some carpentry to close. Reusing some of the saved moldings will unify the surroundings. At this point, cleaning and painting can begin. The carpet will need some inserts, some repairing and a very thorough cleaning - for now. The board hopes to stretch the start-up cash to buy the wall fabric and materials for some display cases. With volunteer help, the support of the Works crew and some trades people, the funds donated will just cover costs of demolition and minimal renovations. Fortunately, an additional donation for the museum start-up arrives at the municipal office almost every day. The Country Depot and M W Miller Tim-Br Mart have donated some materials needed for basic restorations. The sign Future Home of Bonnechere Museum, recently mounted, is just a temporary identification. A sign with heritage symbols will follow next year.


The first floor will be sufficiently dressed up for a preview to be held on Sunday afternoon, November 25. Mark your calendars. Residents and visitors will have an opportunity to view displays for each of the four former municipalities that now comprise Bonnechere Valley Township and special artifacts presented by the Eganville Firemen. Mary Whelan and John Stewart, members of Bonnechere Little Theatre, will present two comic skits of rural characters and recollections. Guy Jamieson will perform some St. Andrew's Day music as well. There will be a donation box too, of course. This preview is a form of progress report and a way of saying thanks to those who have given time, money and moral support to get the museum up and running.

Behind the scenes

The physical changes to the museum building are the most noticeable indicators of growth. However, there are other forms of progress. With our thanks, The Eganville Leader provides publicity and resources. On October 17, board representatives will meet with the Senior Needs Association to discuss ways in which this group can become involved in the museum. On October 26, the board will meet with two consultants from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Recreation to discuss planning, funding, and the provincial standards for Ontario museums. In between meetings, discussions continue with personnel of the Museum Studies c program of Algonquin College Ottawa, on how they and their students can offer our museum various forms of help, in a partnering relationship. Local students will be encouraged to contribute to research and create projects for the museum.

This museum train is leaving the station: All aboard!