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Company’s coming! It’s Museum Day

In Victorian era costume, Virden Pioneer Home Museum staff and board members brought the past to life for guests on Friday, Aug 10. Museum Day draws friends and neighbours in to visit over a barbecue lunch out on the lawn.

In Victorian era costume, Virden Pioneer Home Museum staff and board members brought the past to life for guests on Friday, Aug 10.

Museum Day draws friends and neighbours in to visit over a barbecue lunch out on the lawn.

Dorothy Roach on keyboard (joined by other musicians from time to time) played and sang easy listening oldies. Kids played in the bouncy house behind the museum.

Within the large brick historic home, men, women and children were treated to a free tour upstairs and down, even out into the carriage room where the days of horsepower are featured.

If it were just artifacts, just stuff, that would hold interest. But Virden Pioneer Home Museum sparks the imagining of the lives lived – those who sipped tea at the table, scrubbed clothes and cooked in the kitchen, dressed in fine linen, traversed the stairs, and slept in the beds.

Launching pad for future?

Brandon-Souris MP Larry Maguire attended Pioneer Home Museum Day.

When asked why we should care about our museum he responded, “It’s our heritage, our culture, that’s what we were raised from. It’s how this country was settled.”

Standing in the military archives, he reflected, “When you consider that when we joined the first World War, Canada only had 11 million people. Now it’s got 35 million. And we wouldn’t have the freedom we have today without the work that was done by those who gave their lives, and those who were able to come back.

“I think its important to remember them. Their families are still here, in some cases.”

Maguire was on the culture and heritage committee for the Canadian government for two years.

“Every community in Manitoba has a small museum. When I see the development from the early days of horses, to the equipment we have today…” he reflects, “This is an agricultural region. It’s important to look at the generational changes.”

“I think it’s great to see all the young people here today,” he remarked.

Museum guide Emily Cochrane thanked Maguire for including the museum in his day’s activities.

In another room, Jim Todd was looking for his grandmother’s obituary, a newspaper entry from nearly 30 years ago.

He said it was donated over 20 years ago to the museum.

“Helen Haskett, she was 110 years old when she passed away… there was a picture hanging in here 25 years ago,” says Todd.

Kids want to know

Small children with their mother and cousin are touring the sitting room where a guide engages them in stories of the origin and use of the artifacts.

“These keys right here are made out of real ivory. Do you know where ivory comes from?” the guide asks.

“No” chime Austyn and Emery Strachan and cousin Brooklyn Hacko, all under 11.

“It comes from elephants. It’s actually illegal now,” the guide went on, referring to the artistic use of ivory décor. “So you don’t find them as often any more,” she said pointing to the antique piano. “It was crafted in London, England and brought across the ocean to here.”

The children’s mother and auntie, Serena Strachan said the eldest child had been to a museum in Souris and from that, brought with her an understanding of what she was seeing in the Virden museum.

“It’s amazing how much she retains. She knew what the toaster was, she knew about the (wash) basin…”