DUNVEGAN – The Glengarry Pioneer Museum has posted its 2021 event calendar – gearing up for a well-planned summer of socially-distanced outdoor activities for the whole family

“We have events!” says Jennifer Black, Curator of the Pioneer Museum, noting the challenges posed by current COVID-19 public health regulations. “Some of them we have had to pivot as we figure out how to best do events, but we are ready to go.”

With a previous summer of experience in dealing with the pandemic, staff at the museum in Dunvegan are better prepared for the upcoming season than they were during the uncertain times of early 2020. But constantly changing rules on social distancing and the number of people allowed at events will still present a challenge.

“There’s still a lot of uncertainty – things could change at the drop of a hat,” Black observes. “It’s been a really hard year to make solid plans.”

“We just have to come to terms with the fact that our plans may have to change.”

Combination of live and virtual events

Events in 2021 will be different than in years past, with some presented virtually online and others a combination of both live and virtual presentations. Kicking off the season is the annual Historical Driving Tour, which is going fully virtual and will be available to view online from June 12 to September 30. Visitors to the online exhibit can tour the museum’s favorite sites in and around Glengarry any day of their choosing during the height of the summer tourist season.

Public live events at the Glengarry Pioneer Museum for the summer include the special ‘Moosic’ Under the Stars and Cow Patty Bingo on Saturday, July 24. Families are invited to bring lawn chairs and listen to live music under the stars, as well as place a bet for charity on where Betsy the cow will make a deposit in the field.

Stitch in Time will run at the museum from July 3-16. The bi-annual exhibit of clothing, quilts and other textiles from the museum collection had to be canceled in 2020. This year the event returns with spinning and knitting competitions, along with a fleece contest judged by the Ontario Wool Growers Association.

Hopes for expanded Harvest Fall Festival

The curator of the Pioneer Museum is hopeful that as progress is made in fighting COVID-19, events can be expanded. Fortunately the biggest event of the season – the annual Harvest Fall Festival – is not until September 12.

“Usually very large numbers of people come to (the fall festival),” Black says. “We’re still working out exactly what it’s going to look like, but we know a lot of people look forward to that event, so something is definitely happening.”

“Normally we have all the details worked out the October before – this is very different for us.”

Despite the challenges associated with the ongoing pandemic, staff at the popular local tourism site are just happy to be able to plan events, noting the site in Dunvegan is well-suited for families to tour and still stay distanced from other guests.

“Luckily our museum has a lot of outdoor space – there are 10 buildings all spaced out, a lot of grass and the open-air pavilion,” Black explains. “So we do have the capability to allow people to distance.”

“People will be able to get out and do things, knowing we have done everything we can to provide a safe environment for them.”

Summer students needed

The Glengarry Pioneer Museum is currently accepting applications for summer students to help out during the 2021 season. Resumes will be accepted until April 19 and information on how to apply can be found on the museum’s website.

The museum is a great place for students to work, according to its curator.

“Maybe I’m a little biased, but I think the opportunities here are amazing for students to learn and gain valuable experience in working with the public – there is so much happening at the museum.”

The full event calendar for the Glengarry Pioneer Museum’s 2021 season can be viewed here. You can also keep up with events by visiting the museum’s Facebook page.

This photo taken in the early 1900s of the crossroads in Dunvegan is from the archives of the Glengarry Pioneer Museum. The future site of the museum can be seen on the right.