by Michael Rikley-Lancaster, Executive Director
The Mississippi Valley Textile Museum will be a much “cooler” place this summer thanks to its new heating, ventilation and cooling system. A grant of $45,400 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, together with an additional $45,000 from the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage, has allowed the installation of four gas-fired furnaces and six air conditioners, along with supporting gas lines and duct work, in the large two-storey former warehouse that now houses the Museum’s galleries and collections.
Until now, the lack of heat in winter and climate control in summer has put heavy restrictions on the Museum’s programming and exhibits. “We will now be able to offer education programs throughout the school year,” said Museum Curator Michael Rikley-Lancaster. “It also allows us to give artifacts the proper protection, ensuring their availability to future generations, and we will also be able to attract more travelling exhibits and artists, since our galleries now meet the required standards.”
Plans for the new system were prepared by an engineering consultant to ensure that priority was given to protecting the historic character of the building that was part of the former Rosamond Woolen Company and is now a designated National Historic Site. Local contractors installed the furnaces and air-conditioning units Giles Refrigeration Heating & Cooling and ductwork by Hugh Martin Sheet Metal Almonte-based contractors performed accompanying masonry work Rick Minnille Construction and carpentry by Jack o’ Trades.
To celebrate the successful completion of this project, a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held on Monday, August 27, starting at 4:30pm. Mayor John Levi will welcome our invited speakers, including Mr. Gordon O’Connor, MP for Carleton-Mississippi Mills, Brad McNulty from the Office of Jack MacLaren, MPP for Carleton-Mississippi Mills, and representatives from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and Department of Canadian Heritage. A tour of the facility and refreshments will follow.
This most recent capital project is just one of many that the museum has completed in the past few years, making the heritage building a more attractive and functional home for exhibits. The main, long-term exhibit, called “Fabric of a Small Town,” displays the industrial heritage of the region, the economy of which was largely based on textile manufacturing. The large collection of machinery, equipment and materials of the industry, as well as textual panels and accompanying, new audiovisuals, guide the visitor through the many steps of wool processing and textile manufacturing, as well as giving a sense of what it was like to work in the industry.
Come out and enjoy the Museum’s new cooler feel and explore the history and heritage of the textile industry in the Mississippi Valley. At the same time, stroll through our lower art gallery and marvel at the creativity of contemporary textile artists who employ traditional skills, such as needlework, tapestry, quilting and appliqué, in imaginative and striking ways.