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Our History

1972- During a 12-week effort by eight Wallaceburg District Secondary School graduates — as part of a federal government project— it was discovered Mr. Frank Mann had been compiling information on the history of Wallaceburg. With Town Council endorsement, more documentation, photos, maps, etc., were compiled and organized.

1974- The newly formed Wallaceburg and District Historical Society became involved. Its aim was to preserve the history of agriculture, industry, institution and residences in Wallaceburg and the surrounding area.

1975- A "New Horizon Grant" was obtained, which was used to purchase microfische and recording equipment. Interviews were conducted with older citizens, and material properly stored.

1976- The Historical Society moved from the Frank Mann Room at Wallaceburg District Secondary School to the Wallaceburg Public Library, as acquisitions required more space.

1981- With the Ontario Ministry of Culture and Recreation guiding the Historical Society plans for a town museum became more attainable.

1982- The Historical Society looked at the former Hydro building as a possible museum site.

1983- The Town of Wallaceburg purchased the building from Wallaceburg Hydro for $1. The museum had a home.

1984- On June 29th the official opening of the Wallaceburg and District Museum was held.

1997- Von Ayres Cultural Centre undergoes renovations.

2001- Work began on the Glass Gallery Exhibit. Volunteers and staff worked tirelessly modernizing the exhibit by building large interpretive panels and a diorama. Glass display cases were also purchased to profile more pieces.

2002- The Glass Gallery is completed. Retired Glass Factory workers authenticated pieces.

2006- After a four-year renovation hiatus, staff and volunteers began work on a large exhibit. This became the Industrial Room. Portable walls were constructed to create more space and allow for future remodeling. Once again, volunteers helped with the interpretation and verification of information to provide a more enriching experience for visitors.

2008- Exhibit expansion into the lower level began. Originally used for overflow space, this area was to become three exhibits.

2009- While not yet complete, vistors could now go down stairs to enjoy the museum's classic toys, Baldoon Mystery, and Legion room exhibits. The Pole Barn was erected for the storage of artifacts and dedicated to the memory of George VanSnick.

2010- Lower level exhibits were completed. The museum website was redesigned. The Industrial Room wall map project was launched. The museum received a $2,600 "Museums and Technology" Grant through the Government of Ontario, Ministry of Culture to purchase Past Perfect, a digital database program enabling the cataloging of all archival materials. Also this year, the Black Goose Mural was painted and installed on the northside of the museum. Funding for the mural and a bench was provided by Saundra VanSnick, in memory of her husband, George, a founding member of the Historical Society. This area has been dedicated in his memory.

2011- With funding provided by the Wallaceburg Sports Hall of Fame, the sports room underwent a complete renovation. A touch-screen exhibit was added cataloguing Wallaceburg Sports Hall of Fame inductees. A digital information sign was installed on the front of the building. The website was once again redesigned.

2014- In past recent years the Museum has completed our Marine Room and the Jeanne Gordon Theatre for display and use. There have also been additions to James Street including the Alexander Theatre and Colwell's Book Store. Instillation of our Frank Dymock Display and re-aligning of the Sports Hall of Fame photos have been completed. Also, construction on new rooms for two future permanent displays involving a look into early 1900's living room and kitchen as well as the last room being dedicated to police and fire departments of Wallaceburg.