Friday, October 29, 2010

Built Heritage: Round Barns

There are reportedly only three 12-sided round barns in Canada. Two of which happen to be located not far from where I'm currently living. One is found just outside of Thessalon, Ontario is currently being used as a gift shop. This building was built in 1928 by local resident Alex Campbell, Jr.. The barn's roof has been re-shingled in recent years (2003) however the rest of the barn maintains its original integrity.

The second barn is located also located in the Municipality of Huron Shores and was recently relocated and re-purposed to be a community building. This barn was previously known locally as the Cordukes' barn, and was constructed by local resident Thomas Cordukes in 1918. Local history suggests that Alex Campbell assisted Thomas Cordukes in the construction of this barn in 1918 and perhaps was inspired by that experience when constructing his own round barn ten years later.

In the early 2000s the local heritage association identified the historical significance of the Cordukes' barn and through local fundraising in 2009 work on relocating and restoring the Corduckes' barn began. Many of the original beams and posts were rotted beyond repair however where possible the original materials of the barn were reused. The municipality currently envisions this re-purposed barn to serve as a museum, community dance hall, farmers market, and general gathering place. This barn has just opened up for public functions and is well on it's way to becoming integrated into the community. It's great to see a heritage building being preserved and reused.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Museum Software Support Network

I recently participated in a 'Past Perfect User Group' session. This group is composed of a number of museums in southern Ontario, all of whom are small to medium in size and use Past Perfect in their museums. I was invited to sit in on their most recent meeting by the Dufferin County Museum and Archives (DCMA), where I have been a volunteer and user of Past Perfect for the past three years.

I was thoroughly impressed by the support network these museums have created to assist them in the use of the software. The group meets at least twice a year and are very supportive of museums who are new to the software. During their most recent meeting they shared experiences, discussed the release of version 5.0 of Past Perfect, outlined training methods, and explored new ways to utilize the tool. It was great to see these museums working together to gain the most out of a software package and to see their enthusiasm over using technology to assist in collections management. Support networks not only provide much needed assistance, but also help forge collaboration and sharing, both of which are ideal in the heritage field.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Heritage in Hamilton

Kayla Jonas, a heritage professional in Southern Ontario recently started up a blog to record her 'adventures in the heritage world.' Her posts so far have included commentary on a lot of great local history, culture, and public heritage events and ideas. It's great to see another Canadian heritage professional enthused about community heritage.