Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Paris Museum and Historical Society

It’s Christmas day. The sun is strong and bright overhead, the snow squeaky under my feet. I can feel my cheeks reddening with the cold. I am wearing my new Christmas outfit, a tartan kilt with a hunter green cardigan and tights to match. And I am walking the three blocks from my home to my grandparent’s house for our annual Christmas family gathering. Once everyone has arrived it will be happy chaos. The modest white-framed house, so lovingly and diligently maintained inside and out, will be bursting at the seams. But for now I am savouring the quiet. There’s no one else in sight. All I hear is church bells. It feels perfect. Like a true introvert, I am storing this feeling of peace against the hurly burly that I know is coming. I am also happily anticipating the fact that, because I have volunteered to come early and help my beloved Grandmother with preparations (she won’t actually need my help, everything will be under control and under her thumb), I will have her to myself for a little while.

The above is a moment in time from one of my happiest remembrances of childhood Christmases. I hope that you also have some happy memories of Christmas and that you will have a chance this year to make many more with your loved ones.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Paris Museum and Historical Society!

2017 has been a busy year for PMHS. Our energetic and committed volunteers have researched, catalogued, cleaned, organized, blogged, fundraised, filed and just generally participated in a million and one activities — all necessary to keep our organization on track, so that we can keep Paris’ history alive for future generations. So it’s time to say a huge “Thank-you” to all of you. And that includes not just our active volunteers but also all of our devoted members and community supporters as well. None of the magic happens without you!

It seems fitting in this holiday season to take the time to reflect not just on the past year, but on the coming one as well. Rest assured, there’s a lot in store for PMHS moving forward into 2018.

To find out more about what’s coming up, please mark Sunday, February 25th on your calendar and plan to join us at our Annual General Meeting. It’s a chance to catch up with other like-minded supporters of local history, have a look at our current exhibit if you haven’t been in for a while and get a glimpse into the inner workings of our organization. We hope to see you there.

But for now, I hope that you are happily anticipating those little moments either alone or in company, that will make your Christmas bright and memorable.

Cate Breaugh

Gift shop ends the year on a high note

Thanks to an influx of new vendors, some well-timed marketing and a donation of tapestries depicting landmarks of Paris, our gift shop was a busy, profitable place in the last two months of 2017.

In the final four days before our Dec. 17 Christmas break, we chalked up an extraordinary $700 in sales.

The hottest selling item of the season was our Paris afghans/tapestries, depicting town landmarks. Volunteer Steve Pinkett brought in a donation of 42, provided by Mary Maxim. Just one — the display model — remained on closing day.

Other top sellers included copies of At the Forks of the Grand — Parts I and II, written half a century ago by Donald A. Smith, one of the founders of the Paris Museum; photographic prints of Paris scenes by volunteer Wayne Wilkinson; one-of-a-kind jewelry, hand-crafted soaps with ceramic dishes and maps of Paris.

Under the leadership of gift shop manager Chris Galloway, the entire inventory of the gift shop is now digitized for our new tracking system. It is now possible to produce a daily, weekly or monthly account of how many items were sold, how each was paid for and what needs to be re-ordered.

As a back-up, our paper bookkeeping is being kept in operation until all front-desk volunteers are trained to operate the museum’s new electronic system.

The steady improvement in the museum’s 2-year-old gift shop is the result of a team effort. Chris recruited and interviewed vendors, welcoming suggestions from PMHS volunteers. Sharon Murphy got the word out, Ursula O’Brien recommended new artisans. And Steve Pinkett, as mentioned, delivered boxloads of Paris afghans donated by Mary Maxim.

For those seeking warmth as the temperature plummets in January, there are plenty of winter hats still in stock. We also have a good supply of 2018 calendars with spectacular photos of Paris, produced by Concerned Citizens of Brant.

The museum and gift shop re-open on Jan. 3, 2018.

Carol Goar

Volunteer appreciation reception

Honouring a tradition initiated in 2002, the Paris Museum and Historical Society held a volunteer appreciation reception in early December.

The first such gathering was hosted by Marg Deans. It consisted of a horse-drawn wagon ride followed by potluck dinner.

This year’s get-together was held at the festively decorated museum.

The highlight of the afternoon was a talk by pottery collector Sean Murphy about the origin of local pottery and earthenware; what antique collectors should know about the price of these items; and how to differentiate a genuine antique from an old, but not valuable, jar.

Volunteers — both antiquarians and interested novices — listened intently as he illustrated the attributes and estimated the selling price of pieces of pottery from his own collection, then answered questions about everything from where to go treasure hunting; to whether to buy a piece just because you like it.

After a break, where volunteers mingled over wine, punch, fruit and goodies in the research room, they were called back to participate in a prize draw.

Each person had received a ticket at the door. When his or her number was picked out a drum, the individual was invited to the prize table to choose one prize. Pictures, puzzles, aprons, tote bags and books were available.

There were more prizes than tickets, so most volunteers ended up with at least two items. On their way out, they also received a goodie bag and sincere thanks for their dedication.

The reception was a collective effort but Cate Breaugh, Sean and Sharon Murphy and Marie Williamson deserve special thanks for their leadership.

Carol Goar

Volunteer Appreciation

On Sunday, December 3rd the hard-working volunteers of the Paris Museum and Historical Society gathered for a Volunteer Appreciation event. Attendees enjoyed a buffet, prize draws and a presentation by bottle collector, museum member and volunteer Sean Murphy.

Rick O’Brien