Virden museum gets Manitoba 150 grant for heritage landscape

Virden Pioneer Home Museum has been approved to receive a funding grant that will beautify the museum grounds in true Victorian style, making them a showpiece for the community and visitors to the museum.

This funding grant is from Build 150 (Manitoba 150 and partners) for a Heritage Gazebo and Victorian gardens.

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For the museum board, treasurer Susan Ivey says, “We were very excited and pleased to receive a letter from the board of directors of the Virden Area Foundation advising that we had been approved for a grant of $10,000 to help with our project to build a heritage style gazebo and Victorian garden. 

Virden Pioneer Home Museum Board works hard to maintain and protect the building and the artifacts on display in this unique heritage home and the board is grateful for funding assistance.

History of the Pioneer Home

Virden Pioneer Home Museum was originally built in 1888 by a local hardware and lumber merchant, Mr. Frame, as his family home. It was one of the first stately homes built in Virden situated in an area of the community known as “Quality Hill” with an extensive yard and gardens of the time. Over the years, many families have lived in this heritage home before it became Virden’s museum.

In November of 1968, an initial steering committee was set up to establish a museum in Virden and in March 1969, the home and property located on the corner of Nineth Ave. and King St. was chosen for this purpose.

In 1970 a dedicated group of individuals worked to create a museum within this heritage home that would contain the large selection of artifacts generously donated by community residents, making them available for the enjoyment and education of the whole community and surrounding areas for years to come.

In March of 1990, the Museum Home was designated as a Municipal Heritage Site and continues as such today.

Featuring a beautiful brick façade and an impressive turreted construction, today its rooms are presented in the Victorian grandeur of the late 19th century, offering visitors an insight into family life of that period.

Three additional annexes have been added over the years to exhibit a military display, artifacts from local businesses, a school display, a rural post office, folk art, agricultural artifacts and more.

Ivey says, “COVID-19 restrictions have lead to a bit of delay in our projects getting off the ground but we are pleased to let you all know, the ground has now been staked out and we look forward to the construction of the Gazebo taking shape under local contractor, Garth Nixon of Nixon Builders.”

She adds, “Our museum board members are still continuing the research of plants available, and suitable designs for the landscaping and gardens which will begin next year and going forward as additional funding will be required to bring these projects to fruition.

“As you are reading this important update and if you have personal experience with Victorian garden designs and plantings or know someone who has, please give the museum board members a call or email us at virden_pioneer_home@mymts.net with your thoughts and ideas to help in our planning and we will reply promptly.”

The Virden Pioneer Home Museum Board is always looking for volunteers to assist in the ongoing management and preservation of the community history. Anyone interested in heritage preservation is invited to contact any of the museum board members.

“Whether you would like to assist on our board or volunteer for a few hours doing something you might enjoy such as furthering our social media presence, helping organize the summer students, working at  upcoming museum events, looking after our new Victorian gardens or volunteering with our members at  community events, there is an array of ways you can be of help to keep our museum alive and well for generations to come.”

Monthly meetings are usually the fourth Thursday of the month and the AGM this year will be held at 7 p.m. on Oct. 29 in the Board Room of the ACL building. Everyone is welcome.

© Virden Empire-Advance