Spotlight on waterways heritage
History groups gather in Melbourne
More than a dozen museums and cultural organizations from across the Townships will gather in Melbourne Township this month for their second annual Eastern Townships Heritage Fair, sponsored by the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network (QAHN) and hosted by Richmond County Historical Society.
This year’s celebration takes place on Saturday, October 20, in the Melbourne Town Hall, and will feature a number of displays exploring the influence of rivers and lakes in the history of Townships communities.
“The Missisquoi Museum in Stanbridge East was the inspiration for the theme,” said Fair organizer Dwane Wilkin. “Their exhibit this year invites visitors to reflect on the historic importance of the Pike River, and changes in how our society regards and treats waterways.”
Last year’s Heritage Fair was hosted by the Eaton Corner Museum and attracted local history buffs and heritage enthusiasts from across the region and as far away as Montreal.
In collaboration with the Sherbrooke Nature and Science Museum, QAHN has put together its own series of interpretive panels outlining the history of the St. Francis River, incorporating a number of rarely seen archival images from Eastern Townships Resource Centre at Bishop’s.
As always, the Heritage Fair is an opportunity for members of the public to meet the many volunteers who are dedicated to preserving and sharing Townships history and culture. Visitors can learn how to get involved in heritage activities where they live, find out about upcoming exhibits, or get help with a family history project.
Admission is free of charge, and visitors can round out their visit with stops at the local farmer’s market and the nearby Richmond County Historical Society Museum.
Guest presenters include Julie Grenier from the Conseil de gouvernance du bassin versant de la rivière St-françois and Drummondville city councillor John Husk, who recently oversaw municipal efforts to clean up and restore a major tributary in this historic river system.
Wilkin said that historical societies and museums can contribute vitally to people’s understanding of heritage conservation by offering a local, historical perspective on global issues.
“Acknowledging the harmful practices of the past can help communities understand and deal with environmental challenges we face today,” he said.
Live piano music for the day is courtesy of Francine Beaubien. Books and music by local authors and musicians will also be available for purchase from the "Townships Expressions" kiosk.
Doors are open to the public between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Melbourne Town Hall is situated at 1257, Route 243, Melbourne Township, Qc.