My first full year as President of the Paris Museum has been interesting and very challenging. In the early part of the year the museum was hard at work making plans for events, fundraisers and our ever popular walking tours. Then COVID-19 changed everything.

To help fight the spread of the pandemic we had to close the museum. After about four months volunteers were allowed in with restrictions and in limited numbers. Finally in October we were able to have visitors to the museum, again with restrictions and limited numbers.

Gift Shop Closure

One of the restrictions from the Brant County Health Unit was that we not sell any items from our gift shop. The gift shop was also difficult to maintain and so it was decided that we would close and dismantle it. Our curator has some very exciting plans to make the former gift shop area into a chronological display of the history of Paris.

Exhibits & Events

It was wonderful to have visitors come and see our exhibits and the many changes that were made by our hardworking volunteers since they were allowed to go back in. Recently, in the month of December we were able to have our first fundraiser of the year, a raffle of the gingerbread replica of the Bawcutt Centre. It was very successful and we hope to be able to have another gingerbread raffle in 2021.

We were also invited to be part of the very popular drive through Christmas display at the Paris Fairgrounds. Thanks to all who made this happen on that cold and windy day!

From the Curator

Our curator reports that we have had 880 artifacts donated this year in 130 accessioned groups. The volunteers are almost completely caught up with cataloguing all the artifacts donated before this year. The Paris Star converted microfilm files are mostly renamed and so will be easier to use. Tina wishes to thank the volunteers for all their hard work during this difficult time.

Research Report

The research department had a slow start to the year but in the past few months numerous requests have come in from as far away as the U.K and United States. Our researchers will be working from home for the month of January and will do their best to keep up with the requests.

Museum Closure

Now again, we face a museum closure. We are more prepared this time. We have subscribed to Zoom so that we can have online meetings and our volunteers are able to access the museum computers from home. Research, accessioning and general administration can now be done remotely.

In 2021 we will continue to improve our online presence with potential virtual exhibits, YouTube videos and hopefully online sales of our maps and books. As we move towards the New Year the Paris Museum Board members wish you a safe and Happy Holiday and all the best in the New Year. Stay safe!

Ursula O’Brien
Chair, The Paris Museum & Historical Society