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


Behind the Scenes by Amy Drumm …

This past month has been quite busy for us here at the museum…

Every day we have great visitors coming through the museum. We are so happy that people want to come see our exhibits and enjoy them as much as they do!

One of the things Mia and I have been doing this past month is doing a handprint or rock painting. The tent we set up at the Vendors Market on July 18th was a big hit.

Almost every child who walked through the market that day either painted a rock or did a hand print.

Now we have a station set up in the community exhibit so anybody who comes through the museum can paint a rock or do a handprint.

Hand Print Station

The rocks are for our community Garden of Strength and Hope.

When you come by the museum, you will see the beautiful garden out front filled with painted rocks. They have been painted by members of the community and tourists who have come through the museum.

Museum Garden with Painted Rocks

The hand prints are for our community mural.

We had worked hard before we opened to complete the back drop of the mural.

Community Hand Mural

Later this month Mia and I will be taking a trip to the Algonquin Nursing Home to do handprints with the residents. I am very excited because any time I have been to the nursing home to do an activity it has always been a great experience.

August Mattawa Vendor’s Market

The next Vendors Market will be on August 15th, and we will have a tent set up similar to last time. We would be delighted to have anybody who wants to paint rocks or paint a handprint join us!

Another thing we have been working on is a new mystery game!

Subscribe to or watch this website for future announcements.

Thank you all so much for your continuous support towards our museum!

Behind the Scenes by the Summer Team …


My name is Mia Skelling and I am a 12th grade student at ESCEB here in Mattawa.

Mia Skelling

I am very happy to be apart of the team again this year!

We did a lot of work last year getting everything ready and it’s nice for people to actually see it this year.

I also did my COOP credit for school here this past semester and worked on a presentation detailing what happened over the past 2 years, from the flood to COVID-19.

We look forward to seeing you this season!

Hi everyone!

My name is Amy and I am an 11th grade student at ESCEB here in Mattawa.

Amy Drumm

I enjoy race car driving, spending time with my friends and being with animals.

I am very excited to work along side Mia, Graeme and Judy this summer!


My name is Graeme Kulas, and I am from Mattawa. Currently I am enrolled as a student at Canadore College and working towards a degree in Environmental Science.

Graeme Kulas

I worked at the museum during the year of 2019 as an assistant archivist and am happy to reprise my role once again this season.

My hobbies include fly fishing, music, skiing, and building.

The museum is now open and while each staff member is not on-site every day, they continue working.

Much of my work off-site is digitizing old records and doing research into the items depicted in the records to gain a better understanding of our collection.

I’m always happy to be learning new things on the job.

Stay tuned to this website as we are excited to provide weekly updates on our summer work at the museum. Graeme has provided the first in the series for the summer team.

Behind the Scenes by Graeme Kulas …

This week was very busy for me. While I was not working on-site this week, this does not mean my work had stopped.

I spent most of my time entering old accession cards into a modern system called Past Perfect.

I am nearly finished this batch of cards which barely accounts for about one eighth of all our records.

Accession cards

Thankfully all members off the summer staff are being trained on the program so I won’t be alone.

Behind the Scenes by Judy Toupin …

Welcome, Biindigen, Bonjour

Close to 200 visitors in the 1st week!

July 23, 2021 – a week in to our new season!

What a thrill it was last Saturday to welcome our first guests through the door! They were a family visiting from out-of-town, camping and taking the time to come visit.

It continued to be extremely busy, with almost 100 people in 2 days!

I’d say that was a success.

We had our first Vendor’s Market on Sunday. Mia and Amy had a Rock Painting and Hand Print Station that was very well attended. This is an event that we will continue throughout the summer.

Painted rocks in the museum garden

We are continuing our Rock Painting to add to our future Garden of Strength and Hope.

The Hand Prints is a Mural Project that we are working on and we want to fill it with handprints, then it will be protected with acrylic and hung on the outside wall of the Museum.

We are excited to be doing a pop-up day with Algonquin Nursing Home in August. It will be nice to have all ages represented on this Mural.

Hand Prints Mural

Subscribe to or watch this website for future event dates

So first week in – almost 200 people.

Everyone is super friendly, considerate (no reminders to wear masks needed but we do have some at the front desk just in case you forget yours), no complaints about signing in or any waits that might have been involved because we are limited to 20 people at a time inside the museum proper.

I believe we’re all just truly thankful to have come through this pandemic, at least to this point, and I hope we’ve all realized how important it is to be kind to one another. That has been the experience this week and it does all of our hearts good to have this level of normal that we’ve all worked so hard to reach.

We want to be a part of promoting our local businesses, so we have purchased Gift Certificates from them.

We will be doing weekly draws for these Gift Certificates through the summer.

All adults who tour the museum, will get a ticket in the draw.

Once a week, we will randomly choose a Gift Certificate and randomly choose a prize winner.

All tickets will remain in the draw throughout the summer.

We also still have Raffle Tickets ON SALE for the beautiful Quilts on display in the museum.

If you have ordered ticket(s) and paid for them, but not received an email with your e-tickets, please check your spam/junk mail. If it’s not there, please send us an email, so we can get your tickets to you.

Once you order, you’ll need to pay via e-transfer or you can come to the museum and pay cash and we will get your ticket(s) to you. If you have any questions at all, please call the museum (705)7445495 – open 7 days a week, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.

Thank you to everyone who has visited and brought family/friends.

Please pass on the word – we are open 7 days a week now until the last week of August!

Some wonderful volunteers from our Board of Directors are stepping up to make this happen and I want to sincerely thank Tom Gibson, Ginette Dupuis, Jim Burton, Diane Donley and Kim Duchesne for the gift of their time on my days off to be a part of the team!

Behind the Scenes by Judy Toupin…

Who would have thought 14 months later we’d find ourselves still coping with COVID 19 protocols. However, our vaccine roll out has begun and it seems it’s given people a bit of a mental boost!

So let’s all hope for an opening date soon!

Last year we spent a reset season repairing, revamping and refurbishing exhibits. We would like to thank you for your interest in the virtual exhibits that we published on our website.

This year we hope to open the museum to the public and introduce you to new exhibits.

Well, Big Joe finally put his mask on! Join Big Joe and mask up!
Our local bear resident is looking for a name! Thank you for all the entries so far, keep them coming! You are not making it easy for our panel of judges!

Within the next few days we will be launching a new fundraiser to help us update some of our exhibits with interactive technology!

One of our local Blue Sky Stitchers, Diane Gallupe, has donated 2 quilts to be raffled off!

1st prize : Gorgeous extra large queen scrappy quilt with heart pattern, valued at $2,000!
2nd prize : Beautiful lap quilt in brown/gold tones
3rd prize : Museum Logo t-shirt and mask

The quilts will be on display at the Museum.

At this time, raffle tickets will only be available to purchase online, stay tuned.

We will have a new payment method at the museum where we will accept debit/credit cards once we’re open but your ticket will still be generated through the online form. We’re trying to make things as simple and safe as we can.

People continue to ask – what do you miss about the museum when it has to remain closed?

I miss all of you, I miss visiting with real people and sharing our beautiful community museum.

As soon as we know what protocols we have to deal with, we will let you know. Can’t wait to visit with you!

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