The Mississippi Valley Textile Museum (MVTM) has received the Resilient Historic Places Award
This award is granted to historic places or landscapes that illustrate extraordinary resilience, significance, and benefit to a community over a sustained period of time, with a successful track record of 10 years or more.
The Ecclesiastical Insurance Cornerstone Awards bring national attention to exemplary projects and places that contribute to the quality of life and sense of place, and illustrate the viability of heritage buildings and sites for traditional or new uses.
Special consideration is given to places and projects that reflect one or more of the following principles:
The involvement of youth;
Social innovation or enterprise;
The MVTM – which pioneered the first proclamation of pride month in the municipality of Mississippi Mills in 2020 – prides itself on having open door, safe space policies for community members of all ages. They also have a longstanding partnership with the local college, providing student training opportunities.
The MVTM is located in the annex of the former Rosamond Woolen Company (built in 1867). The MVTM has been part of the community for over 35 years. A National Historic Site, this industrial museum combines traditional textile displays with activities and events focusing on the region’s heritage, culture, and role of the textile industry.
Through the years, the museum has evolved and adapted to make the site more inclusive to visitors and to ensure that it is well maintained for future generations.
“An impressive industrial museum that has remained open and functioning for 35 years – and still significant to the community.”
Executive Director/ Curator Michael Rikley-Lancaster reflects on leading the museum though thirteen years of the following major accomplishments:
The museum has raised funds and oversaw the following:
- Repointed and conserved the exterior of the building;
- Insulated the building for year-round use;
- Installed energy-efficient track lighting in all gallery spaces;
- Painted the exterior trim back to their original colours and preserved the original windows;
- Installed six furnaces and four air conditioning units and ductwork into our gallery spaces (which were not heated and airconditioned prior to that);
- Installed security systems;
- Revamped our interpretation of how industrial textile processing is done;
- Made our museum accessible to people with mobility limitations by installing exterior ramps, automated push buttons at all doors leading to and from the exterior ramp and to the newly installed elevator shaft and elevator, and made our washrooms accessible;
- Constructed a dedicated education room within the museum;
- Catalogued our artifact and research collection;
- Worked with our local library to scan 150 years of our local newspaper, and launched this as an online searchable database.
- Replaced all emergency exit doors with metal doors with wood facades to match the historic look of the building;
- Conserved the interior plaster and stone walls in our galleries to preserve mill worker graffiti on the walls;
- Installed new proper artifact shelving for our book and textile collection.
This had been an ongoing team effort, and we are thankful for the assistance and support of the following people and organizations:
Our key players in making the Museum a success:
Lizz Thrasher, Sean Joynt, Ryan Milton, Melanie Girdwood-Brunton, Jayne Henry, Jo Danaher, Matthew Moxley, Jean Down, the late Ron Caron, former and current museum board members, Charlotte Farmer, Jason Gilmour, Ian MacLean, the late Helen & Herb Pragnell, The Hughes Family, Anne & the late Gerry Wheatley, the late Reva & Len Dolgoy, Roberta Murrant, Barbara Dickson, Rosamond Family descendants, Friends of the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum, Algonquin College – Heritage Masonry Program & the Applied Museum Studies Program, Mississippi Mills Public Library, Mississippi Mills Youth Centre, Darrell Thomas Textiles, Paddye Mann Clothing & Destination Almonte.
Our trusted main contractors:
Paul Laforce of Jack O’ Trades, Richard Carroll of Mississippi United Construction Limited, Sean MacKenzie of Dominion Masonry, Eric Stewart of Historic Plaster Conservation Services & Patterson Electric.
Our funders who have enabled so many of our projects and efforts:
Municipality of Mississippi Mills, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Parks Canada National Historic Sites Cost Sharing Program, Department of Canadian Heritage – Museum Assistance Program, Enabling Accessibility Fund, Department of Canadian Heritage – Canada Cultural Spaces Fund, Community Foundation of Canada, Benjamin Moore, Elizabeth Kelly Foundation, Canada 150 Infrastructure Fund, Colby Foundation, & County of Lanark.