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Island's history preserved



Published: Sun, September 16, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Six museums open a window to the past on Manitoulin Island.

The Centennial Museum of Sheguiandah is a complex of pioneer buildings, plus a new marine exhibit, a modern exhibit hall and a picnic area and playground.

One of the most fascinating exhibits is a parlor re-created by an islander in memory of his "Aunt Dean." Her furniture, her favorite pictures, and some unique display pieces are just as she left them in her island home.

The showpiece of the marine exhibit is the remains of a float plane that crashed nearby during a fishing vacation that President Roosevelt took near the end of World War II.

Local guides recorded their memories for the museum. The island was in a tizzy for days over the "secret" presidential visit, the guides remember. Planes full of Secret Service agents buzzed over the fishing flotilla, radioing down to ask how many fish were being caught.

More: The Net Shed Museum in Meldrum Bay is dedicated to the seafaring and fishing history of the region.

In Mindemoya, the Pioneer Museum includes a log home, blacksmith shop and barn. Butter-making equipment, milk-processing machines and ice harvesting tools are just a few of the artifacts assembled.

The Gore Bay Museum was originally the Manitoulin District Jail, and preserved many of the jail's original features. Art shows and lectures are presented during the summer months.

The Assiginack Museum Complex in Manitowaning is an imposing, newly renovated museum of early island life. Fine glassware, porcelain and pottery are featured.

At Heritage Park in Manitowaning the S.S. Norisle, a 200-foot steamship once used as a cargo and passenger ferry, is on display.

The Little Schoolhouse and Museum in South Baymouth preserves the history of Tehkummah Township, one of Ontario's ghost towns. The complex also includes a pioneer one-room school.




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