Container with flap closure. Black velveteen; decorative bead work on all four sides and lid. Clear seed beads enhance the edges; clear, blue, and yellow seed beads create a balanced floral design. The artist added beaded looped tassels with basket and seed beads. This artifact came to the Vankleek Hill Museum from local resident Mabel Avery, who passed away in 2005 at age 96. In her youth, Mabel purchased it at her front door. Submitted Photo

The year 2022 should be a good one for local history lovers, as both the Vankleek Hill Museum and the Vankleek Hill Historical Society gear up for a busy season after two years of restricted activities.

The museum applied to the Canada Summer Jobs program for two summer employees, and directors hope to hear good news later this month. The goal is to open the Vankleek Hill Museum towards the end of June through to the end of August. The museum will remain open on weekends until Thanksgiving.

The Museum Collections Committee meets monthly in the off-season to review artifact donations. Archival items such as photographs, calendars, early deeds, 1890s bank cheques – a whole variety – steadily arrive. Artifacts such as women’s wear, milk bottles and local history books – to name just a few – also make their way to the museum. All must meet the standards of the museum’s Collection Policy, which is available on the Vankleek Hill Museum website.

Summer work for the museum’s two staff will bring cataloging, where staff describe artifacts, ensure paperwork is up to date, number artifacts, and plan storage. There will also be genealogy, family history, and building research. Preservation of local history is continuously in motion.

Museum staff work with the Vankleek Hill Historical Society to offer guided walking tours in the warmer months. Anyone who would like to arrange a walking tour can call the museum at 613-678-2323, or send an email to [email protected] . Historical Society volunteers will contact you to help set the date.

The Historical Society is also planning a busy 2022. As part of its Hope 225 project, the Historical Society will hold a yard sale on June 4 at 58 High Street, with proceeds going to support the museum. Have items to donate to the sale? Call 613-678-8710.

An initiative of J. Denis Séguin, the Hope 225 project is, as the name says: to send a message of hope as he invites local organizations to use the logo in 2022 with the hope that local events are once again part of Vankleek Hill’s community landscape. The Vankleek Hill community marks 225 years since the Vankleek Family first arrived.

“The message I want to put out there is that there are events being planned,” Séguin said. “People have come up with different ideas for events we can hold outside.”

Séguin said he is optimistic that with the sun shining in the summer, outdoor events will be able to make a return to Vankleek Hill in 2022.

Birch-bark lidded container with decorative design of heart flanked by a tree and two moons. The stripes form a series of triangles to shelter the design. This basket was donated to the Vankleek Hill Museum by Marion McDonald. Photo: Vankleek Hill Museum

As part of Hope 225, Vankleek Hill Museum staff will complete the permanent Indigenous exhibit. The artifacts in this exhibit will connect to the experience of Mohawk women, who created this art to sell door-to-door in affluent neighbourhoods. It is believed the works originated in Kanesatake at the end of the 19th century and into the 20th century. A permanent exhibit means a permanent place within the museum. The artifacts on exhibit will change from time to time to avoid over-exposure to sunlight.

The Vankleek Hill Historical Society also hosts the Facebook Page Vintage Vankleek Hill. The site, which has more than 1,400 members, offers regular posts of historical information, along with photos of the past. All page members are welcome and able to add images from their own collections.

Fans of local history will find memories and photos of families, friends, schoolmates, events and locations that encompass the historical nature of Vankleek Hill and Champlain Township. The Facebook page has become more popular than ever over the past two years.

“I think (the Vintage Vankleek Hill Facebook page) has been one of the things that kept people together – even if we were at a distance,” Séguin observed. “The historical society serves the community – that’s what it’s all about.”

Séguin noted that with the community and the surrounding area growing in population, the Vankleek Hill Historical Society plays an important part in integrating newcomers into the community.

“Most people know that if you want to know something you go to your library and you go to your museum. That’s where you connect with history and what’s happening. We are glad to play a part in that.”

Vankleek Hill student Reagan Hall won the Hope 225 logo contest organized by the Vankleek Hill Historical Society. The Hope 225 project is to send a message of hope that local events are once again part of Vankleek Hill’s community landscape. Submitted Photo