The winner of the 2015 Marion Phelps Award was Elaine Fuller, who has been a heritage activist in the local community for many years.
According to one of Fuller’s nominators, Cecil McPhee, “Elaine Fuller’s interest in heritage preservation developed over many years. She was born in Thomas’s Gore (near Lachute) and moved to Chatham when she married Donald Fuller. In 1962, she watched as the rising waters submerged and obliterated much of the early 19th century settlement along the Lower North Shore of the Ottawa River from Carillon to Grenville above the newly completed Carillon dam.” In 1989, Cecil McPhee said, “Elaine assumed a more active role in heritage preservation. She had joined the Historical Society of Argenteuil County (HSAC) in 1988 and enrolled in a three-year course in museum studies at Algonquin College in Ottawa in 1994. The course dealt with all aspects of museum operations – accessioning, describing, classifying, cleaning, conserving, mounting and displaying artefacts in all types of material in a wide range of fields… Elaine graduated in 2000 with a Diploma in Applied Museum Studies.” Over the years, Fuller has volunteered tirelessly at the Historical Society of Argenteuil County, the Argenteuil Museum in Carillon, and St. Mungo’s United Church. She has served as Secretary of the Argenteuil County Historical Society; and as Chair and later Secretary of the historical society’s Accessions Committee -- all the while working in close conjunction with the Argenteuil Museum. At the HSAC and Museum, she has helped to inventory the collections, accession archival materials and mount numerous historical exhibitions. She has also assisted with publicity, given presentations and conducted genealogical and historical research. Since 1991, Fuller has been a leading light at historic St. Mungo’s Church (built in 1836) in Cushing. She has been spearheading restoration work at St. Mungo’s since 1995. The latest phase of these restorations is currently under way.
In 2012, Fuller was honoured with the Order of Argenteuil from the MRC of Argenteuil, in recognition of services rendered to the conservation and promotion of the heritage of the MRC, in particular her outstanding work at St Mungo’s, the Argenteuil Museum and the Historical Society of Argenteuil. According Louise Johnston, of the Historical Society of Argenteuil County, Fuller “has been a longstanding, dedicated member of the HSAC board and has been active with the Argenteuil Regional Museum and with other organizations in preserving the heritage of Argenteuil and surrounding area. Of note are the many exhibits she has mounted and her work on accessioning artefacts and archival material for the society and the museum. Her work has been integral to the success of the Argenteuil Regional Museum.” Sandra Goorbarry (a volunteer with St. Mungo’s), praised Fuller for her leadership. She emphasized Fuller’s years of hard work raising funds to restore the splendid stone church; getting various architectural and engineering studies completed; submitting grant applications (such as to the Conseil du patrimoine religieux du Québec); and lobbying Montreal Presbytery and different levels of government to help fund the restoration. “All of this,” Goorbarry said, Fuller accomplished “while dealing with a shrinking congregation and less than robust health.” And while the work at St. Mungo’s is not quite complete, she added, “we are hopeful that the restoration will be completed in time for the 180th anniversary of the church building in 2016. Whatever the outcome of this final stage, we can rest assured that St. Mungo’s has been preserved for many years to come, thanks to the determined and far-sighted leadership of Elaine Fuller.”