Dust the snow off the Muskoka Lakes Museum: big plans for its 50th year!

Muskoka Lakes Museum marks its Golden Jubilee – opening day in May starts a summer-long celebration of 50 great years

Posted Mar. 6, 5:30pm: 2014 marks the 50th year of The Muskoka Lakes Museum and the museum has a big 50 goal: to grow its Endowment Fund to $50,000 to support programming.

“The board of directors is spearheading this initiative to grow the Endowment Fund to $50,000 to help enhance programs,” says museum board Chair Liz Lundell. “The income generated supplements our grants and membership revenue, providing flexible funding to help create new offerings – such as a new exhibit or children’s program.”

Founded in 1964, the Muskoka Lakes Museum has relied on municipal, provincial and federal grants, charitable donations, program fees and fundraising to cover operating expenses. The Museum’s annual operating budget is roughly $100,000 and that covers wages, insurance, facilities maintenance, programming costs, administration and care of the collection.

museum, golden jubilee of museum, port carling
Muskoka Lakes Museum in Port Carling

As a registered charity, the museum has received generous gifts from donors and bequests over the years and the Endowment Fund currently sits at approximately $30,000. The capital in the fund is preserved, while the income is used to pay for programming costs such as children’s activities, lectures, and family events. The Endowment Fund is invested with a highly reputable investment management firm and the income provides a sustainable source of funding that is not vulnerable to government cutbacks or fundraising fluctuations.

The museum Board of Directors is hoping museum members, sponsors, and community supporters will consider a one-time birthday gift to the Endowment Fund to help the community museum reach its target and create a legacy to celebrate. All contributions are eligible for a charitable receipt for income tax purposes. Information about how to donate can be found at www.mlmuseum.com.

Save the date for July 26th to celebrate Muskoka Lakes Museum Day

A number of additional festivities are also planned for the Museum’s 50th season. The popular lecture program will be offered at no charge. A 50th anniversary book is in production and a photography contest will run throughout the summer. All members of the community and visitors will be welcomed to a day of celebration at the island between the locks in Port Carling on July 26 – Muskoka Lakes Museum Day. Watch for details about these and other events at www.mlmuseum.com.

Some history on the museum’s history…

Indian River cottager Marion Catto first proposed the idea of a museum in Port Carling to preserve the area’s pioneer past and provide a tourist attraction. The Port Carling Historical Society was founded at her cottage on September 9, 1961. While the group sought a permanent home, the society collected and borrowed artifacts, which were displayed at the Algonquin Hotel on Joseph Street.

In 1964, the Port Carling Pioneer Museum was incorporated by Letters Patent from the Province of Ontario and the first directors were Marion Catto, Gertrude Tassie, Dorothy Duke, Lorraine Amey and Adel Coutts. Plans for a centennial project began and on July 2, 1967 the Museum opened its doors in its present location on the island. After a name change to The Muskoka Lakes Museum in 1989, the organization continues today as a non-profit, registered charity guided by a board of directors.

The original centennial building was expanded a number of times to house a growing collection. In 1982-83, the Hall family log cabin was moved from its original location in Glen Orchard and reconstructed on the island.

Over the years, descendants of early settlers made many generous donations of artifacts and these have been joined by others contributed by both permanent and summer residents. The Honourable James Bartleman donated a large collection himself in 2013 chronicling his Port Carling and Rama background, as well as his contributions in the diplomatic service and as Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

Haven’t visited the museum recently? Be sure to be there this summer to wish museum curator Doug Smith and all the great volunteers a hearty happy 50th! The museum re-opens on May 17, 2014.

Featured Photo in Top Left: The 50th Anniversary Logo (logo designed by Rob Donald, Interlink Graphics, Port Carling).

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