The Brome County Museum was established in 1903, owned and operated by the Brome County Historical Society (BCHS), and while there have been many changes over the last century, no period has been more positive and successful than the past five years. This has been due in part to the stewardship of Donald Gray-Donald as President but especially to the talents of Cari Ensio who has been curator since 2014.
Highlights of the past five years include: the creation of the Children’s Museum, the relocation and restoration of an 1815 log cabin (the Paul Holland Knowlton cabin) and the renovation of the Old Firehall. A new website and new branding have been created and new permanent exhibits and interpretation installed. Numerous different events, activities, workshops and lectures have been held and well-attended. A series of novel and successful fundraisers, namely “Night at the Museum and Adopt an Artifact” have been established.
The visibility within the community and beyond has drastically improved and, consequently, the annual visitation numbers to the Museum have doubled. Several major grants from Heritage Canada have enabled the ongoing restoration and renovation of the buildings. Also, the Museum Archives have been accredited and grants have been received for special projects in the archives.
Joanne Croghan had been volunteering at the BCHS for fifteen years and became the Museum and Archives Coordinator in 2016. The Museum has benefited from her knowledge of local and WW1 history as well as her enthusiasm, creativity and good communication skills. Unfortunately, she recently resigned and, combined with the fact that Cari’s position officially ends in October, there will be a large void to be filled. However, Cari will remain as a volunteer and advisor when needed. Happily, Arlene Royea, who has been with the Museum for 41 years, continues in her role as Managing director and Archivist and Abbey Lacroix works part-time as the archival technician. There are also students returning on weekends and volunteers to keep the Museum open five days a week until Thanksgiving.
Recently, a grant from Pact Brome-Missisquoi has permitted the engaging of Jeremy Reeves to catalogue the trophies and treasures of the Great War collection in the Martin Annex. Jeremy comes with excellent credentials from both Cambridge and Columbia Universities. The Museum has eleven committed Board members under the leadership of Peter White. They and the staff are working hard to submit all the paperwork to apply for accreditation for the Museum and if the application is accepted, this will help the Museum to continue to move forward positively.