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The purpose of the Pontiac Historical Society is "the education of its members and the public in matters of local history by the collection and preservation of such materials as shall be of interest as local history"
The creation of a local historical society was first suggest at a public meeting on Nov. 2, 1960. Lloyd Armstrong drafted the constitution and by-laws and was the first president. A genealogical section was formed May 2, 1961 and under the leadership of Venetia Crawford evolved into an archives. The Society's collections are housed in the Pontiac Archives and the Pontiac Museum. The society also supports a number of other heritage activities and publishes a newsletter for its members. The archives was established with the help of provincial grants beginning in 1985 and a few subsequent years. The archives also received helpful instructions from other archives, particularly the Quebec National Archives, while it was getting established. The archives are now dependent on donations and the support of volunteers. The Pontiac Archives first opened in Jan. 1987 in the Protestant Elementary School in Campbell's Bay. From late 1989 to Nov. 3, 2001 it was located in the Pontiac Social Planning Building, 2 Elsie Street, Campbell's Bay, Quebec.
The Pontiac Archives are located at 137 Rue Centre Street, Shawville, Quebec. Negotiations are underway to relocate the archives in the proposed Shawville library, yet to be built.
Users will experience some inconvenience following the recent move until the archives are fully set-up. Many of the archives resources are temporarily stored until such time as they are able to move into a larger facility. It is recommended that visitors phone ahead of time to confirm operating hours and that the records sought are accessible.
The archives' resources include:
The archives serves as a repository for local archeological artifacts, particularly from the National Capital Commission's work in old Pontiac Bay in 1973 and 1980. See www.capcan.ca/corporate/parks_heritage/heritage/archeology/archeo_e.asp.
The archives have been used by the general public, high schools, colleges and universities. Topics researched have included the Quyon ferry, the Shawville fair, the Orange Order, the Pontiac railway, family genealogy, and First Nations people. Projects recently under investigation are one-room schools, Home Children, old place names, churches, cemeteries, and former post offices. Some family research has included:
The Pontiac Museum is located in the former Canadian Pacific Railway station, Shawville which was moved to the Shawville fairgrounds, Lake Street, Shawville. The museum was opened by the Rt. Hon. John Diefenbaker on Oct. 9, 1976. The building is open for visitors during special events such as the Shawville Fair and regularly hosts field trips for school groups. The museum includes a turn of the century school room, a general store, agricultural engines, household appliances, clothing and other heritage items.
Members of the Pontiac Historical Society participate in regional heritage fairs, where students display their research into local history and exercise their creativity in designing, model-building and preparing displays. Society members serve as judges in these fairs, an often challenging task considering the high quality of the projects undertaken.
The Society with support of the Canadian Millennium Partnership Program, is sponsoring the writing of a history of Pontiac County. The book is being written by Anna Babinska, an art historian and author presently teaching Art History at the Ottawa campus of Algonquin College and at the University of Ottawa.
The society's newsletter, "Pontiac Historical Society Newsletter," is distributed sporadically to members. The society supports other local history societies, such as the Norway Bay Historical Society, founded in 1995 under the guidance of its charter president, Mary Calvert. The residents of Chichester are presently establishing a local museum with displays focusing on the timber industry and agricultural heritage.
The society is a registered charitable organization (registration no. 11915-3906 RR0001) and gratefully accepts donations for its work. To join the society please contact the president.
Regional and Shawville maps.
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Last updated on: February 29, 2000
Copyright © 1997-2000 Chris Hampel
Visits since March 13, 1998