An artist paints a picture of Jacob’s Cabin, built in 1875 by Jacob Belrose, at the St. Edmunds Museum on August 14th.
Submitted by Terry Milligan

Like other community organizations in Tobermory, the St. Edmunds Museum, which is operated by the Municipality, is not open to the general public this summer. However, the volunteers and staff member of the museum committee are allowed to continue to maintain the building and its collection on behalf of the community. This work includes cleaning artefacts, preserving and improving storage, signage, and general repair of the premises. The museum is always acquiring new artefacts and documentary material and these must be catalogued and displayed or stored. This year the committee is carrying out condition reports on all artefacts as recommended by the Ontario Museum Association.

The committee has set up an Archives Working Group, which is responsible for cataloguing all the books, letters, reports, photos and other print materials that have been donated to the museum. Some of these recently donated items of community interest include:

• Stan McClellan’s local history library and his collection of professional papers: 

-Stan McClellan is the former Superintendant of the Provincial Park and Fathom Five Marine Park and this collection includes local reports on the evolution of Fathom Five and transfer of the Provincial Park to Parks Canada, 

-a report on the Vernacular Architecture of the Bruce Peninsula, (i.e. the built environment based upon local needs and the availability of particular materials indigenous to the Bruce Peninsula.), 

-histories of Cove Island Lighthouse by Patrick Folkes and volumes on Instructions to Lightkeepers, 

-reports on the Tobermory fisheries, scuba diving and Tobermory shipwrecks including the Griffon reports. 

• The Women’s Institute meeting record books for Tobermory from early 1900’s

• Tobermory United Church Women “Signature Quilt” circa 1900

• Minutes of the Board of St. Edmunds Community Hall 1931-1960

• Historical Postcard collection donated by Larry Davidson

• The Craigie Family Geneaology

• Tobermory United Church Pastoral Charge photo yearbook 1986

• Tobermory Yacht Club papers

• History of Circle Arts

In addition, the committee is maintaining its professional links by participating in the County of Bruce Cultural Action Plan, participating in ZOOM calls with other county historical and cultural organizations and inputting data on the online cultural map being developed. We are continuing our liaison with Parks Canada and Grey Roots Museum as well as continuing our efforts to establish a museum studies internship position through Sir Sandford Fleming Community College.

Professional development is an important priority of the committee because it enables us to constantly improve our service to the community. This year, one of our museum committee members successfully completed a very challenging and in-depth eight week, online course with the Ontario Museum Association in the Organization and Management of Museums.

Assuming that the museum will be open to the public next year, the committee is planning a major event to focus on the early cottage life, before the 1950s and going back to the early 1930s. In the absence of indoor conveniences, rudimentary roads and a vibrant wildlife population indoors as well as outside, cottage life in those days was rugged and character-building. If you have artefacts, photographs or memories of those early experiences of cottage life we would be most grateful if you could share them with us. Another project being planned is a collection of profiles over time of several pioneer families.

While we are unable to offer our core public programming and museum visits hosted by our much-appreciated team of volunteer docents, we are always pleased to welcome donations of artefacts and documents of local historical value, as well as local family histories. Please contact either Ruth Bainbridge: or Rob Davis: