The Hamilton Spectator

‘Stories from the Brantford Gaol’ opens Monday

The exhibit aims to give families an educationa­l and fun experience over the break

- CELESTE PERCY-BEAUREGARD LOCAL JOURNALISM INITIATIVE REPORTER CELESTE PERCY-BEAUREGARD’S REPORTING IS FUNDED BY THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT THROUGH ITS LOCAL JOURNALISM INITIATIVE. CPERCYBEAU­REGARD@TORSTAR.CA.

Curator Nathan Etheringto­n hopes the new “Stories from the Brantford Gaol” exhibit at Brant County Museum and Archives will make for a fun and educationa­l family outing on the March break.

The largely informatio­nbased exhibit covers notable cases and escapes from the early years of the correction­al facility, which operated between 1852 and 2017, serving Brantford and Brant County.

When the provincial government recently put together a heritage assessment of the former jail — at the back of the downtown Brantford courthouse — they reached out to Etheringto­n to see what informatio­n the archives had.

In addition to interestin­g artifacts — like the massive cell padlocks, and a handwritte­n book cataloguin­g recipes served to the inmates — Etheringto­n also uncovered fascinatin­g stories from entries in an early inspector’s ledger “that other people have never talked about,” he told The Spectator on a sneak peak of the exhibit.

A “tamer version” will run through the March break — although it does touch on hangings that took place — with darker stories to be added later, Etheringto­n said, adding that it’s meant to be entertaini­ng, not terrifying.

To make the museum kidfriendl­y for younger attendees, there’s also a museum scavenger hunt and a take-home colouring book based on the exhibits.

With admission by donation, and additional exhibits spread across the three floors of the museum — including a Ukrainian exhibit developed with Memories of Brantford, a project celebratin­g Brantford’s immigrant history, closing at the end of this month — Etheringto­n said it makes for a fun “drop-in” activity.

Hours are noon to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. For more informatio­n, visit facebook.com/BrantHisto­ricalSocie­ty.

 ?? CELESTE PERCYBEAUR­EGARD THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR ?? Part of the old jail can still be seen behind the Brantford courthouse. It operated between 1852 and 2017, serving Brantford and Brant County, locking up men, women and even youth in the early days.
CELESTE PERCYBEAUR­EGARD THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR Part of the old jail can still be seen behind the Brantford courthouse. It operated between 1852 and 2017, serving Brantford and Brant County, locking up men, women and even youth in the early days.

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