Behind the Scenes by Judy Toupin …

Collections Management

If you’ve been following our blogs over the season, you’ve heard about the huge task of Collections Management.  Logging thirty-five years’ worth of accession cards into the computer system is just a beginning.  Then we will need to reconcile our collections inventory with what is recorded. This means, literally, searching through the museum to find the object (not as simple as it sounds in some cases)! Once it is located, it is photographed so that we can make a condition report.  ALL of this information will eventually be entered into the Past Perfect system.  And voilà!

One day in the not too distant future, we will have an online, searchable archive.

If you have any pictures and/or documents you feel might be of historical interest to us, please Contact Us.  Now we are able to scan, using an LED scanner, the photograph or document directly into the archive.  You can keep your original photo while providing a piece of history for others to enjoy.

This type of information also becomes quite helpful for people doing family ancestry searches, people doing academic research and it becomes part of building our education programming.

One of our new exhibit areas is Community

We are adding technology to the Museum!

We will now have an interactive exhibit with pictures,  videos, live streaming and presentations.

You can help build the interactive/visual part of the Community exhibit!

We are looking for pictures and video of the two major events our community has experienced – the flooding of 2019 and this year’s crisis – COVID-19.

For COVID, pictures/videos of the nightly car parades that celebrated our front-line workers, graduation and birthday drive by celebrations. Check out the information that has already been compiled on this website for COVID-19.

Do you have a story you would like to share?

What would you like people to know about our Community?

We encourage you to read the Stories… that we have added to the website thus far.

October is Women’s History Month in Canada

We invite you to share stories that celebrate the women and girls from our past, and our present, who have made, and continue to make, a lasting impact on Mattawa and area.

Before the season officially closes, wanted to let everyone know about a new feature we are adding to the website. A Suggestion Box!

This is a place for you to let us know what you would like to see at the Museum.

Who or what would you like to learn more about?

Watch for this to be added to the website!

We will also be updating our online Museum Gift Shop in time for some Holiday Shopping. Online order forms will be available.

  • We have a great selection of books.
  • T-shirts will be available with your choice of colour and imprint.
  • Face masks are also still available, but we have added the new style of facemask with ear loops (only available in black & white).

Again, I wanted to take this time to thank all of you for your support and encouragement through our Reset Season.  I know that COVID has taken its toll on each of us in different ways, but our Community continues to pull together to stay safe.  I am so proud to be a part of it.


Stay well, stay in touch and stay connected.

It’s Women’s History Month 2020!

October is Women’s History Month in Canada, a time to celebrate the women and girls from our past, and our present, who are contributing to a better, more inclusive Canada.

This year’s theme #BecauseOfYou, celebrates women and girls in Canada who have made, and continue to make, a lasting impact on our country.

We invite you to …

Help celebrate the women who have made an impact in Canada

Explore Women in Canadian History: A Timeline

Behind the Scenes by Judy Toupin …

Time has flown by for us at the Museum.  We’re almost at the end of what we’ve dubbed our Reset Season.  Thank you for following our intrepid team!  Your support and encouragement, both in person, emails and messages  means so much and is truly appreciated.  Thank you for your participation in our fundraisers and for sharing through our FB posts and website.

Thank you to our Board of Directors for keeping our health and safety at the forefront and giving us the opportunity to take this time to refurbish and renovate exhibits, as well as getting our Collections Management in order! It has been a gift of time.  Thank you to wonderful volunteers who have helped us with various projects along the way. Many things could not have been completed without your help.

Most of all, I would like to thank our team of young women, Alex Guscott, Mariah Lejambe and Mia Skelling for their enthusiasm and great work ethic.  It was important for us to take all the necessary precautions around COVID, to keep our work bubble safe. We did that and accomplished so much.  I know that some of what you did won’t be ‘visible’ to the public, but without that behind the scenes work, what our visitors will see wouldn’t have been possible.  What you did behind the scenes will matter to future curators and staff.

One of my personal goals as curator this season was to reach out to this amazing community, to hear your stories, to share your stories, to gather more knowledge and history as we sorted  through our extensive in-house collection.  I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with more than a few of you, so thank you. We will continue to do that.  Everyone’s voice matters.  It isn’t about the politics of who is speaking, it is about our collective history.  It is about sharing that history for our future generations in this community.  And when it is safe to do so, we want to share those stories with visitors.

October is Women’s History Month, so stay tuned next week for an exciting sneak peek of upcoming projects and additions to our website.  In the meantime, continue to practice all of our health safety protocols as we continue to keep our community safe.

Behind the Scenes by Alex Guscott …

This week …

I worked on a few display cases. I finished taking inventory of all the items in the cases and then worked on their design.

We have a few very old ledgers and journals from past businesses in Mattawa (dating back as far as 1862) that we want to display, but we had no book cradles too support them while they are open. Laying a book flat and open can cause damage to the books over time.

So, I made some. I started by making a sort of prototype out of white foam core to see if it would even work as I wanted it too. When I realized it would work, I started making custom cradles for each book we wanted to display. I did my best to support the books spines and create natural angles for the books to open to. As a finishing touch (and to cover up the very obvious tape holding the cradles together), I covered the cradles in black felt.

My very rough prototype…

A few of the book cradles I made.

They aren’t quite finished in this photo! I forgot to take a photo of the finished cradles before I left on Thursday.

As well, I selected many of the items that would be put back on display in the display cases. We wanted to select items that help tell Mattawa history best. For instance, we chose items from our collection for our Indigenous and Metis exhibits that reflect the groups in the Mattawa area best. Then, we researched and created concise labels to name the objects and explain their significance. We have done our best to reach out to people from Indigenous and Metis communities to gain better knowledge and understanding of their culture.

Moreover, I did some more painting to update a display case. I thought I was not going to have to paint again this season (I was a bit done with it after already painting multiple display cases and part of the ceiling in prior weeks), but I was wrong. All complaining aside, I thought it was something that had to be done and Judy did not force me to do it. The fresh coats of paint really did help the overall look of the case and I am happy I did it.


The murder mystery is coming to a close soon, however, participants can take their time to complete it. For those who read the answer when it is released on Tuesday, please do not spoil it for others in the group. Thank you!

We will have a draw for all participants on Tuesday and subsequently announce the winner. The prize is a Mattawa Museum logo t-shirt and face mask!

We also finished a few projects!

We finished organizing the lower level cabinet and the installation of the new LED lights. We still have a lot left to do before the end of the season (even more than we will even get to complete!) but we will do our best to get it done.

Our hope is to open next season so you can see all our work!

Behind the Scenes by Mariah Lejambe …

This past week was my first week back to school in Ottawa and things are very different than last year. I am taking most of my classes virtually with the exception of one lab that is held in person. When I went to my lab this week it was crazy to see how empty the campus is compared to last year.

This new way of learning is definitely a huge adjustment. Some of my professors have been doing Zoom meetings with 300+ students and other professors have decided to deliver the course as an asynchronous course. This is where they pre-record their lectures and you do the course at your own pace. I have certainly been applying and improving my time management skills to be able to get all my work done.

Because I am back at school, I will finish up my season at the museum by working remotely.

I will be inputting more cards into Past Perfect , doing research and doing translations for upcoming exhibits.

I can’t believe we are already halfway through September and halfway through our Murder Mystery fundraiser. I hope you are all enjoying it. I love to read all the comments about theories you have.