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Camp Kosciuszko: The Polish Army at Niagara Camp, 1917-1919

November, 2017- November, 2018

An exhibition commemorating the 100th anniversary of the opening of Camp Kosciuszko, where thousands of soldiers of Polish descent trained before being shipped off to free Poland from 123 years of occupation.

Every community has a First World War story to tell. Most focus on the local soldiers who enlisted during the war and the impact that their absence may have had on the community. Niagara-on-the-Lake also has these stories to tell. However, 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the opening of Kosciuszko Camp where thousands of soldiers of Polish descent, from the United States and parts of Canada, trained for several weeks prior to being shipped off to Europe to free Poland from 123 years of occupation.  These soldiers lived in our community for several weeks, some were unable to speak English and others, during the sweep of the Influenza of 1918, never left, being buried at a special cemetery at St. Vincent de Paul church.

 Who were these men? What was their life like here? How did they arrive? What did their training entail? What did they do during their leisure hours? How did the community respond to hosting these young men? We will attempt to answer these questions with this exhibition.

 

NOTL Pop-Up Exhibits

With funding from the Niagara Region, the Niagara Historical Society & Museum is popping up around the community! Check out our different displays celebrating the history of 4 unique villages.

Old Town: July 1 - October 31, 2018

Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre at the Shaw Festival Theatre, 10 Queen's Parade
On display you will find artefacts from Niagara Camp and from the trenches of the First World War, all from the Museum's collection. Learn about this history of Niagara Camp, the WWI training grounds in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Chamber of Commerce, Court House, Lower Level, 26 Queen Street
Learn fun facts about some of Old Town's most notable sites. A small display of artefacts from the Museum's collection also highlights the history of some of Queen Street's historic shops.

St. Davids: July 1 - July 30 , 2018

Ravine Winery, 1366 York Road
Explore the history of the village of St. Davids with descriptions about the War of 1812, mills, Stamford Springs Brewery, notable families, schools and industry. The display will also include artefacts related to St. Davids history from the Museum's collection.
Join us for a community launch on July 1st from 5 - 11 pm, part of Ravine's Canada Day celebrations.

Queenston: August 1 - August 30, 2018

Laura Secord Homestead, 29 Queenston Street
Explore the history of the village of Queenston with descriptions about travel and tourism, the effects of the War of 1812, notable figures and more. The display will also include artefacts related to Queenston history from the Museum's collection.
Join us for a community launch on August 1st from 3-5 pm.

Virgil: September 1 - September 30, 2018

Meridian Credit Union, 1567 Niagara Stone Road
Explore the history of the village of Virgil with descriptions about it's formation, the Mennonite community, industry and more. The display will also include artefacts related to Virgil history from the Museum's collection.
Join us for a community launch on September 1st from 12 - 2 pm.

 

 

Permanent Exhibitions

Our Story

As visitors enter the Museum they will explore 9,000 years of history in the first gallery of the Museum. This gallery contains artefacts from the Museum as they relate to the chronological history of the town. From Native history to the tourism boom of the 1970s, the gallery contains such significant artefacts as a powder horn belonging to Chief Joseph Brant, the Indian Department Coatee worn by Daniel Servos during the American Revolutionary War, uniforms from the War of 1812 and other items from Niagara's long history.

There is a video component to "Our Story" which features 9 short videos on the history of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Handheld tablets are available upon entrance for visitors who would like to include an audio/visual experience with their visit. This video presentation was generously funded by DAVID MURRAY & ELIZABETH SURTEES

The Carnochan Gallery

The upper gallery of Memorial Hall is dedicated to the founder of the Museum and Society, Janet Carnochan. The gallery contains various significant artefacts in the collection. These range from paintings to early Canadianna furniture. The artefacts are rotated on a regular basis to show visitors the impressive collection secured by the Museum.

 

Digital Exhibitions

Memories of Niagara

A joint project between the Niagara Historical Society and the Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library, this online exhibit features the stories of individuals who have lived in the Town and Township of Niagara-on-the-Lake since the early 1900s. Click HERE to learn more about what it was like to live in Niagara before the 1970s through these informative oral history recordings.

Niagara on the Eve of War

A database that explores life in Niagara (Niagara-on-the-Lake) just prior to the War of 1812 through the knowledge of property owners and the war loss compensation claims which describe their homes both inside and out! Check out who was living in our Town just prior to its burning on December 10th, 1813. Click HERE to start learning more!

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® Image: View of Fort George, Oil on canvass, C. Kreighoff 1823