Old Mill Centre goes labyrinth in latest reno

KAGAWONG—Old Mill Heritage Centre curator Rick Nelson is looking forward to this year’s May long weekend opening with more than his customary enthusiasm. “We have changed the layout, moved walls around, so that people will have a more engaging experience,” said Mr. Nelson.

The curator explained that with the new layout, visitors will travel through the exhibits, following a path that will take them through each area that the museum has to offer. “We found that people tended to congregate in two or three areas and end up missing out on some of our best exhibits,” he pointed out. “The new layout is almost like a maze that people will travel through to discover each area and what it has to offer.”

Every museum needs to change things up to remain vital and interesting to return visitors, noted Mr. Nelson. A process that is aided by having more things to display than there usually is room to display them.

One of the areas that Mr. Nelson is very excited about is the Old Mill Heritage Centre’s landmark shipwreck exhibit. “The Northwind is featured, of course, but we are really looking forward to incorporating The Griffon this year,” he said. As part of this year’s History Night in August, author Chris Kohl will be coming to not only give a presentation, but to lead an expedition to the West End of the Island to explore where the Griffon is rumoured to lie. The Holy Grail of Canada’s freshwater wrecks, early French explorer LaSalle’s first decked commercial vessel to ply the Great Lakes, was lost under mysterious circumstances in the 17th century with a fortune of furs and trade goods on board.

The museum display will include poster-sized blowups and images of the Griffon and a number of interesting wreck artifacts will be on hand. “We like to call it the wreck room,” quipped Mr. Nelson.

As part of the renovations at the Old Mill Centre, the Marine Park will also be getting a facelift, he said. “Thanks to the hard work of the museum committee, we raised enough money through donations to re-roof the Post Office building as well.”

The Old Mill Heritage Centre is looking toward opening on the May long weekend.