Feel overwhelmed by crowds in the city? The Glengarry Pioneer Museum offers lots of rural space and is opening for the season on July 8, 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic created a new reality for Canadians. It has changed how we live and play and it has reshaped our society. Our health has always been a priority, but this pandemic has clearly showed us just how important it is for each of us to do whatever we can to stay safe. As a tourism location that caters to the public, the Glengarry Pioneer Museum has done everything we can to make sure that our staff and visitors enjoy a safe visit to our quaint historic site, located within the countryside of Glengarry County. We recognize that our remote location now puts as at an advantage to some more urban cultural sites, where social distancing can be harder to accomplish. The Glengarry Pioneer Museum is situated in rural North Glengarry, halfway between Ottawa and Montreal, just off of Highway 417. Our site features ten heritage buildings spread out over 4.5 acres with vast green spaces, surrounded by beautiful fields and the small hamlet of historic Dunvegan. The population in this corner of North Glengarry is small and the territory is large. These factors make it easier for us to meet the standards set by Public Health to ensure that we can once again open our doors and meet our new visiting friends.

Life, like everywhere else, is not business as usual. For the very first time, our museum visits will be by reservation. It’s a novel opportunity to reserve a heritage site knowing that there will only be a few other small groups besides you and your family. You can enjoy the grounds, visiting the heritage buildings. You are invited to pack a picnic and stay a while. Selfies are encouraged. Museum staff would love it if you tag the museum on social media.

“We’re in this together and we’re here to help you escape the confines of isolation and spend a day in the country, learning about the adventures of the past,” says Curator Jennifer Black.

In order to meet current health and safety guidelines, the museum has made some changes to ensure the safety of the public and staff. As mentioned, visitors are encouraged to phone or email ahead to reserve an arrival time. Upon arrival, staff will greet them with a mask and offer either a guided or self-guided walking tour. Physical distancing and making use of extra hand sanitizing stations around the site is necessary. With several small, historic buildings onsite, only one household or ‘bubble’ will be allowed in each building at a time. There will be strict no-touching of artifacts in buildings. In addition, there will be increased cleaning and disinfecting throughout the facility.

People need to be mindful of our new reality for the time being, but having a fun outing to a local museum can be added to your list of things to do this summer.

“It’s a hidden gem in North Glengarry” says Curator Jennifer Black. “With the pandemic still looming, staying local and exploring your own backyard is something everyone should take advantage of.” Pack a picnic or pick up a boxed lunch from one of the many restaurants within a 20 min drive. There are many picnic tables and an open-air pavilion. There’s room for kids to run outside or even fly a kite. If you wanted to make a day of it, there are other attractions nearby such as the Stonehouse Vineyard, or Wood Bros. Brewing.

The Glengarry Pioneer Museum traditionally has many events throughout the summer, but some are cancelled while others have been postponed or are undergoing major changes. The annual Smith-In Blacksmith weekend, Textile weekend, and unfortunately the Harvest Fall Festival have all been cancelled. On the bright side, the historical driving tour is back on the calendar for August 6 and the Glengarry Artists’ Collective is having an art show in the one-room schoolhouse between August 8 and August 16. There may even be a Classical Music Under the Stars towards the end of August. The 1812 Reenactment weekend is currently brainstorming ways they could accommodate the public in smaller groups at the end of September. Events will all be a little different, but it is exciting that some smaller events can now happen with proper safety measures in place.

As the museum has approached opening, the community has welcomed the idea of getting out in new ways with something different to do. The Glengarry Twistle Guild and Wild and Wooly Rug Hookers will once again have weekly fibre days where their members can use the open-air pavilion to spin wool, rug hook or even knit. Their numbers are limited to 10 each day and physical distancing is encouraged. The public is welcome to watch and ask questions – from a distance. For more information about any of the remaining museum events, please go to www.glengarrypioneermuseum.ca or watch us on Facebook.
The Glengarry Pioneer Museum’s hours have changed. It will be open from Wednesday through Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is $5, students $2, Children under 5 years are free. Members of the museum are always free and get half off at most events.

The Glengarry Pioneer Museum is located in Dunvegan, Ontario on County Road 24 (Dunvegan Road) at the crossroad with County Road 30 (Greenfield Road). Please call 613-527-5230 or email [email protected] to book your visit.