Renovated L&A Museum and Archives ready to welcome guests with new exhibits July 26

Anna and Fraser Himmelman (left), Nicholas Harris, Noah Dunn, Luke Dunn, Logan Harris and Alanna Meyer explore the Tales of Fantasy-Our Myths and Legends display at the L&A County Museum and Archives. Photo by Adam Prudhomme.

Adam Prudhomme

Love, fairy tales and vibrant naturescape paintings make for the perfect exhibits to welcome guests back to Lennox and Addington Museum and Archives later this month.

After closing its doors to the public due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the museum is slated to welcome visitors as part of Step 3 of the province’s re-opening plan on July 26. That date could be even sooner if the province were to enter the phase earlier than expected as it did with Step 2.

Museum staff has been anything but idle during the lockdown, working behind the scenes to reconfigure the museum’s layout and set up brand new exhibits.

Among the new displays is an exhibit titled Affectionately Yours-A Collection of L&A Love Stories. The exhibit features photographs, letters, vintage dresses and keepsakes that tell a tale of unique human connection.

“This exhibit should leave you with a smile on your face and with warm and happy feelings,” said JoAnne Himmelman, L&A County Museums and Archives curator. “All the objects speak to a love story.”

The display can be found at the very back of the museum, which from 2009 until now housed the popular Gibbard’s Furniture Factory display. The museum will still have a display dedicated to the history of the factory, just in a smaller capacity.

Himmelman says one of the good things to come out of the forced shutdown was it allowed staff to renovate the space.

L&A County Museum Program Coordinator Amber Meyer and Curator JoAnne Himmelman inside the newly renovated section of the museum, which houses Affectionally Yours-A Collection of L&A Love Stores. Photo by Adam Prudhomme.

“Over the course of the last few years we’ve worked on this space but over the last year or more we’ve really focused on moving the (Gibbard) exhibit out to get ready for now,” said Himmelman. “So now we’ve got this new gallery for multi-purpose use. It’s going to be exhibits and travelling exhibits.”

Himmelman noted needing more space was a nice problem to have as it meant they have plenty of interesting pieces to display.

When guests first arrive to the museum they’ll be greeted by the Tales of Fantasy-Our Myths and Legends display, which will be at the museum from July 26-Sept. 25.

“We also have the travel show from Sherbrooke Museum of Nature and Science, it’ll be here until the end of September,” said Himmelman. “That showcases fantasy and folklore in Canadian history. It’s very interactive. Lots of things for the kids to enjoy but it’s also great for the adults too because you can get a nugget of something fun. We think it’s highly entertaining.”

Diving deep into the heart of some of Canada’s legends and myths, the exhibit encourages visitors to use their imagination as they learn about folklore stories. The tales involve strange creatures, magical characters and unexplained phenomenon. The exhibit brings to life the cultural tradition of storytelling. Throughout the display guests can pick up a phone and hear a storyteller read to them a short tale.

Displayed in the hall connecting the two exhibits is the artwork of Carla Miedema. Titled Spiritual Echoes of Northern Lennox and Addington, her colourful artwork focuses on familiar scenes such as Bon Echo. She often incorporates real bark, seeds, flowers and grass into her paintings.

All three exhibits were chosen to create a happy, uplifting feeling to visitors as they look to move on from the stress of the last year.

Despite the challenges presented over the last year and a half, there were some positives to come out of it for the museum. Program coordinator Amber Meyer got creative and launched several successful virtual programs for all ages. The end result allowed the museum to reach a much larger audience, with guests tuning in from all around the globe to hear speakers or take part in workshops.

“It’s been different,” said Meyer. “Lots of different opportunities to have speakers and viewers from way beyond our L&A County reach than we would normally have. That’s been a blessing and a bonus.”

Virtual programming will continue but with lockdown restrictions being lifted, which means in-person programs can resume as well.

“We’re really excited to have in-person programming starting July 26,” said Meyer. “We do have summer events happening until that point that are still going to be virtual. As of July 26 we’re allowed to have people (back at the museum). We’re going to have them outside.”

The museum will host weekly outdoor events throughout the summer that will tie into the current exhibits. Looking ahead to the fall, they plan to return their popular monthly Museum Kids events as well.

For the latest schedule of events and more information of all exhibits and to book a visit, go online to or call 613-354-3027.

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