In my position as Curator for the museum over the past 3 years, 2.9 years to be exact, I've learned much about this community’s rich and mixed history. One of the first things I learned that has stuck with me is the very first bylaw created for the Town of Brantford. Written in 1847, it states residents are: “not to let animals roam free on their property.” I also learned when King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited in 1939, they came in by rail, stopping for just 15 minutes and they received a gun salute both on their arrival and departure. Both a royal chair from their visit and a crest from the side of their rail car are part of the Brant Historical Society’s collection.
I love sharing the fact that Brantford was at one time the third largest industrial city in Canada, after Montreal and Toronto. From farm equipment to manufacturing pottery, Brantford’s industrial past was strong. I know I haven’t come close to learning everything there is to learn about the history of this community, but life has a funny way of changing your path and at of the end of August I’m moving on to pursue opportunities in England.
I am forever grateful for the warmth and openness I’ve experienced from the historical society’s membership, volunteers and visiting public. The passion held by the community is infectious and I hope that this same warm welcome will be given to the Historical Society’s new curator, Chelsea Carss. Chelsea joins us from Ottawa after graduating with her Master’s at the University of Toronto Museum Studies program. I encourage you to come by the Brant Museum and Archives soon and say hello to Chelsea.