Mattawa Museum Recipient of $26,000 Ontario Trillium Grant

Mattawa Museum staff and the Mattawa Historical Society are pleased to inform that the Honourable Vic Fedelli announced today that the Mattawa Museum is the recipient of a $26,000 Ontario Trillium Grant.

This grant was awarded as a result of a recent application to the Resilient Communities Fund.

These funds will enable the Mattawa Museum to finish our Digitization Process and enable us to have an Archive that will be accessible online to educators, researchers, and academics. We will be able to add photos, digital media, etc. that will be accessible to all. Creating an online archive will provide more accessibility to our Collection which is of utmost importance to be able to provide research and education.

While Covid-19 presented many challenges, it also created opportunities to evaluate and respond to need.

The process…

The Mattawa Museum collection has a vast array of artifacts but also includes approximately 10,000 photographs, as well as in-person recordings and videos. We will now have the opportunity to complete the task of adding accession cards to the Past Perfect Museum Software System. Photographs will be taken of artifacts and added to the system. We also have a treasure trove of first-person interviews with some of our elders who are no longer with us and these will be an invaluable addition to the Media part of this online archive.

We are very thankful to the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Community Resiliency Fund for this grant.

We invite all to join us in this celebration!

Behind the Scenes by Judy Toupin …

October End of Season Thoughts …

Another season ends, a short one, but a remarkably successful one. Seems like we waited so long for the various “Steps” to take place and we did not open until July 17th, but it was super busy with over 1500 people visiting our museum!

Thank you to our amazing On-Site Summer Team. We are successful because of the teamwork involved. Mia and Amy were responsible for the Rock Painting that took place at the Vendors Markets as well inside in our Community Exhibit Area. This was an interactive part of our programming that provided enjoyment for all ages and has resulted in a beautiful rock garden at the entrance to the Museum.

Rock Garden
Rock Garden
Handprint Mural

They also ran the handprint program; these handprint canvasses have been collected and they will become part of an outdoor mural that will be mounted next season on the outside wall of the Museum. The handprints consist of all ages, including a group from our local Algonquin Nursing Home residents.

As if they weren’t busy enough, they created a fun online Alternate Reality Game (ARG)!

Thank you to our behind-the-scenes team member, Graeme, who diligently worked on part of the digitization of our collections process.

Stack of accession cards
Accession cards

Many thanks to Diane Gallupe who donated two of her quilts to help raise money for the Museum. It is much appreciated, and I know our winners were super excited. Thank you to all for your support.

A big shout-out to our volunteer Board Members who helped us stay open 7-days a week – the first time we’ve attempted to do this. It was well worth the extra effort that it took.

We have made it through the covid.2 season with flying colours! We worked in partnership with the Town Recreation Department on the monthly Sunday Vendors Market at Explorer’s Point.

Each one drew more people with vendors, the Car Show, a BBQ and, of course, great live music. We know we would like to continue this event and build on things. It was the first time doing something like this and we know it will become a popular community event, with more participants and visitors.

Looking to the 2022 Season, We Have an Exciting Announcement …

We recently had a visit from our local Metis elder and Master Birch Bark Canoe builder, Marcel Labelle Birch Bark Canoes by Mahigan. It is with great joy, excitement, and pride that we announce that he will be building a new 20-foot birch bark canoe on Explorer’s Point.

I was asked which indigenous language I speak. I speak Michif but I am fluent in a more Universal language. The language that the forest and all its inhabitants; flora, fungus, fauna, animal, etc.) speak. One that humankind must relearn if we are to have a future on our Mother Earth.

∼ Mahigan

This will be a wonderful opening for our 2022 season. The build will begin in mid-May and finish about mid-August. We will also welcome Joanne Labelle, who will be running mini canoe building workshops throughout the summer and those dates/times will be announced as the season gets closer.

There are also other programming events planned, so watch your inbox for more and please share with friends and family. Together, we are building back after a challenging couple of years for everyone. Subscribe to our news on this website to get updates on planned events.

As curator, I am proud to be a part of the museum team, because it is “our” museum. With a family history of many generations here in Mattawa, I am also very happy to be a part of helping community come together.

Environmental activities to engage the kids over Thanksgiving weekend

… until next season, stay well, stay healthy, keep sharing stories and making memories

Thank you, meegwetch, merci

Orange Shirt Day : Honour Residential School Survivors

The government recently passed legislation to make September 30th a federal statutory holiday called the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This day provides an opportunity for Canadians to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools.

Suggestions for things to do on Truth and Reconciliation Day

Wear Orange

The story behind Orange Shirt Day began in fall 1973.

Six-year-old Phyllis Webstad of Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation was excited for her first day of school. Wearing a brand-new orange shirt from her grandmother, she entered into the St. Joseph Mission Residential School just outside of Williams Lake, B.C.

Shortly after her arrival to the school, she was stripped her of her orange shirt in exchange for the school’s uniform.

The orange shirt taken from Phyllis is symbolic of her experience as well as the experiences of more than 150,000 Indigenous children who had their cultures, identities, and languages stripped from them upon their first days at school.

Wearing orange on this day is a collective commitment to reconciliation, guided by the spirit of healing. Phyllis started the Orange Shirt Society to raise awareness about Residential Schools, the impact of intergenerational trauma on younger generations, and to send this important message: Every Child Matters.

Attend an Event

Truth and Reconciliation Week is a virtual event organized by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation which will run from Sept. 27 to Oct. 1. It will provide historical workshops and activities, as well as cultural performances by First Nations, Métis, and Inuit artists.

People can register for the virtual event here.

Arts and Media

Support the work of Indigenous artisans and their traditional crafts.

How to watch and listen to National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on CBC

Learn the History

This is a perfect opportunity for Canadians to learn more about Indigenous history and culture.

Share authentic Indigenous stories with your children.

Explore the Residential School Timeline.

To learn more about the history of the residential school system, the website for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation has a collection of teaching resources for children.

How To Talk To Kids About The National Day For Truth And Reconciliation | Learning (

Explore other resources about Residential Schools, such as:
Indian Horse
They Came for Us
Up Ghost River by Alexandra Shimo and Edmund Matatawabin
They Call Me Number One by Bev Sellars
Dear Canada: These are My Words by Ruby Slipperjack

Mattawa Museum will be open on Truth and Reconciliation Day.

We invite you to come and explore local indigenous history.