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Townships Historical Societies Gather

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--October 11, 2012.

larger_historical.societies_0.jpgOver a dozen representatives of English-speaking museums and historical societies around the Eastern Townships – all of them members of the Townships chapter of the Fédération Histoire Québec – gathered last week in Sutton to discuss issues of mutual concern, and to report on their recent and upcoming activities. The meeting took place at the Musée des communications et d’histoire de Sutton in downtown Sutton.

Hosting the meeting was Heritage Sutton president Jeanne Morazin, assisted by Ann Montgomery, president of the Stanstead Historical Society and the Colby-Curtis Museum (and secretary of the FHQ’s Townships chapter).

Also present were representatives from the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network (QAHN); the Brome County Historical Society; the Montreal office of the Fédération Histoire Québec (FHQ); the Missisquoi Museum; the Richmond County Historical Society; Heritage Huntingville; the Lennoxville-Ascot Historical and Museum Society (LAHMS); the Eastern Townships Resource Centre (ETRC); and the Georgeville Historical Society.

Over the course of the meeting, participants heard (among other things) about the Missisquoi Museum’s recent record-breaking apple pie festival (over 1,000 people attended!); Heritage Sutton’s efforts to bring attention to the dilapidated condition of cemeteries in and around Sutton; a recent mould attack at the ETRC; the time capsule buried by the Richmond Historical Society; an antique and craft fair hosted by the Brome County Museum; restoration work (by the Georgeville Historical Society) at the Magoon Point Cemetery; the reconstruction of the solarium of the Colby-Curtis Museum in Stanstead; and recent exhibits by LAHMS at Uplands Cultural and Heritage Centre in Lennoxville.

Also discussed were changes to the FHQ’s membership policy, and the annual convention held by that organization earlier this year, to much acclaim, in Sherbrooke.

Several new projects, now ongoing at QAHN, were discussed, as well. These included “StoryNet,” a province-wide effort to record and publish stories about Quebec’s English-speaking communities, and “Significant Objects for Telling Identity (SOFTI),” which is being overseen by Heather Darch and Rachel Garber, and which is exploring the heritage of English-speaking Quebec through the filter of 100 “culturally significant” objects selected from public collections across the province. Also discussed was the fact that QAHN’s 2013 convention will take place in Stanstead.

Following the business meeting, participants were given a guided tour of the Heritage Sutton Museum, including the new exhibit on the life and work of one of Sutton’s most famous residents, noted Quebec chef and celebrity Jehane Benoît, who died in 1987.

The exhibition features a recreation of Benoît’s kitchen, along with her kitchen table, cookbooks and many other artefacts. There is even a little jar containing a handful of cigarettes and a Bic lighter. (Benoît always smoked one cigarette after every meal, and never at any other time, according to museum president Richard Leclerc.)

The next meeting of the Eastern Townships chapter of the FHQ will take place in Knowlton in March 2013.