COUNTY OF SIMCOE
SECTION:                Museum
ITEM NO.                PM 05-110
MEETING DATE:           October 13, 2005
SUBJECT:                Simcoe County Museum Orientation Report


   THAT Item PM 05-110, which outlines the Museum Orientation program, be received for


The Simcoe County Museum’s Mission Statement is to portray and promote the history of people
in Simcoe County by the collection, preservation, interpretation and display of natural,
documentary, man-made and built heritage artifacts, pertaining to development from earliest
times to a point 50 years prior to the current date. The Museum was started by the Women’s
Institutes of Simcoe County in 1926 and has been operated by the County for over 40 years
(Schedule 1).

The Simcoe County Museum provides the opportunity for both the residents and visitors of the
County of Simcoe to discover and explore the history of our County. We provide services to all
of the residents of the County of Simcoe, including school groups, heritage organizations and
community groups, as well as tourists from other counties, provinces, and countries.

Listed below are the Museum’s main roles and responsibilities:

   o Protect and collect Simcoe County heritage items. Currently the collection holds over
     20,000 artifacts.
   o Offer to teachers and students of the county, twenty curriculum based programs using a
     hands-on approach and innovative techniques.
   o Provide learning opportunities for youth groups (brownies, scouts, etc.) and day camp
     participants during the Christmas, March Break and Summer seasons.
   o Provide a place for County wide heritage groups to meet to explore history and
     demonstrate many lost arts, while supporting the Museum financially and with manpower
     during special events.
   o Provide volunteer opportunities for community residents ages sixteen (16) and older.
   o Host special events at the Museum, and participate in County wide community events.
   o Work with media to promote the history of the people of Simcoe County.
October 13, 2005           Performance Management Committee PM 05-110                      Page 2


The Simcoe County Museum is comprised of a 6 wing, climate controlled complex set on 327
acres of wooded forest, known as the Museum Tract. Outside, set in a park-like setting are
sixteen heritage and display buildings. The Museum is open Monday to Saturday from 9:00 am
to 5:00 pm and Sunday 1:00 am to 5:00 pm, all year round. The Museum is closed New Years
Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Christmas and Boxing Day. A variety of special events and
meetings are held in the evening.

The 5.5 million dollar expansion of the existing Museum building and acquisition of surrounding
land, due to a Canada-Ontario Infrastructure Program (COIP) grant of 1.4 million dollars, is
adding 10,100 sq. ft. of new space and over 6,000 sq. ft. of renovated space. This project has also
incorporated an existing barn on site and renovated it to become an Educational wing.

In September 2005, the new wing received an Occupancy Permit. Construction is still ongoing
and should be finished by mid-November. Permanent exhibits for this area should be finished by
end of December.

Over the next three to five years the rest of the building will be renovated and displays will be
redesigned, as part of the ongoing improvements at the Simcoe County Museum. Concurrent
with this effort, outdoor site plans will be completed and scheduled for implementation.


In order to provide these services The Simcoe County Museum has a staff complement of
eighteen (18) which is comprised of the following: four managers - Curator, Maintenance
Supervisor, Education Director and Office Supervisor; three (3) part time Museum Receptionists,
three (3) Historical Interpreters, Special Events Coordinator, Preparator, Display Technician,
Museum Technician, Custodial Lead Hand, Maintenance Handyman, Clerk/Typist and a Museum
Cleaner. (See Schedule 2)

In 2005, the museum was fortunate to employ 5 summer students to assist with cataloguing,
museum events & exhibits, maintenance and summer education programs. These students
brought a variety of skills and plenty of enthusiasm to ensure that the summer programs and the
Museum were well received by all of our patrons.


The expansion project is allowing for increased community group use, improved educational
programs, new exhibitions and storage space. In addition, the Huronia Tourism Association
(HTA) now provides tourism services for the benefit of visitors to the museum and to the County.
It is expected that this will bring increased attendance to the Simcoe County Museum.

Fundraising is ongoing by the Curator, who is directed by the Campaign Committee. Currently
the campaign has raised $1.4 million of the $2.2 million required.
October 13, 2005            Performance Management Committee PM 05-110                     Page 3


The Museum is visited by over 22,000 individuals per year. They are school children, workshop
attendees, community groups, tourists, residents, bus tours and professional groups. The majority
of our visitors are from Simcoe County and Ontario, but 10% are from the rest of Canada and
other parts of the world.

It is anticipated with the new expansion and the addition of HTA, attendance will increase. In
2005, due to construction, the need to limit numbers for programs and the cancellation of some
events, that attendance will be approximately 20,000.


The Museum Technician and Preparator care for over 20,000 artifacts in our collection that vary
from eyeglasses to buildings. Currently the information regarding the collection is being
transferred to computer using a new cataloguing software, PastPerfect.

Artifacts are in the process of being moved (due to construction) to a new storage area with
compact shelving. Staff endeavour to maintain the integrity of each piece with everyday good
practices. The Simcoe County Museum maintains strict temperature, light and humidity levels
due to the sensitivity of these many varied pieces.

The care of these pieces spreads beyond the storage units to the exhibits and to the many off site
visits that the staff and collection attend.


Currently the Simcoe County Museum provides over 20 curriculum-based courses to elementary
schools. Between 8,000 to 12,000 children experience a hands on, educational enhancement
course at the Simcoe County Museum. Education staff also run Seasonal Day Camps, Youth
Group programs and group tours.

This Museum has partnered with the Board of Education to host the Historical Fair on site. This
national fair gives our students the outstanding opportunity to compete against students across the
country and if successful to travel to the Provincial and National Fairs.

Outreach education includes lectures, participation in local fairs, community events and parades.

Currently we hold over a dozen major events that explore history from trucks to needlework. The
Museum also hosts a variety of smaller events that celebrate traditions, society and seniors.


In 2005, the Display Technician has been designing displays for the new expansion and exhibits
for the changes that will occur in the rest of the Museum.
October 13, 2005             Performance Management Committee PM 05-110                     Page 4

Permanent Exhibits/Displays

The Museum Exhibit committee has been working on research, content and design of the new
Orientation Gallery in the expansion area. Other permanent exhibits included the move to the
Museum site of the 1920’s cottage, a site plan, reorganization of the Native Wing, general
museum labels, design of the donor wall and general décor of the Main entrance.

Temporary Exhibits/Displays

In 2005, staff limited their visits to Community events and activities, as they focused on the new
expansion. Visits with displays normally include steam shows, parades, community fairs, support
for other County museums and at least three out of County events.


Partnerships with our community heritage groups and organizations continued to grow in 2005.
The Historical Construction Equipment Association, Simcoe County Arts and Crafts Association,
Huronia Spinners Guild, Huronia Rug Hookers Guild, and Simcoe County Quilters Guild
continue to assist with special projects, offering their services and expertise in a wide variety of
areas to our museum projects.

The Friends of the Simcoe County Museum has been busy in 2005, and is focusing on raising
funds for the Museum Expansion Project.


The position of Special Events Co-ordinator/Curatorial Assistant assists the Education Director to
manage the volunteer program at the Simcoe County Museum. From January 1 to September 30,
2005, volunteers have put in 4,081 hours for an estimated value of $58,214.00 in in-kind service.
They assist with costume production, research, special events, fundraising, marketing and a
variety of other tasks.


There are no direct financial implications to this informational Item.

SCHEDULES:            The following Schedules are attached hereto and form part of this Item:

                      Schedule 1 – Simcoe County History
                      Schedule 2 – Simcoe County Museum Organization Chart

                       Schedule 1: Simcoe Schedule 2: Simcoe
                         County History County Museum Organizational Chart

PREPARED BY:          Gloria Taylor

APPROVALS:                                                              Date:
October 13, 2005          Performance Management Committee PM 05-110             Page 5

Jane Sinclair, General Manager of Health & Cultural Services   October 6, 2005
M. Aitken, Chief Administrative Officer                        October 6, 2005

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