Richmond County Historical Society

Year of Award:
Richmond County Historical Society

Founded in 1965 on the occasion of the 165th anniversary of the arrival of pioneer Elmer Cushing, the Richmond County Historical Society (RCHS) celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012. An outgrowth of a committee appointed by the Richmond County Women's Institute to compile a history of the county, the historical society’s aims are: “to discover and rescue from the unsparing hand of time the records which yet remain of the earliest history of Canada; and to preserve while in our power such documents as may be found amid the dust of yet unexplored depositories, and which may prove important to general history and to the particular history of this province, county of Richmond and adjacent areas.”

In 1998, the archives were moved from the museum to the Melbourne Township town hall. Hundreds of requests from around the world are handled annually by the archivist. The museum is open to the public with guided tours on weekends during the summer months. Special events have focused on Scottish, English, Welsh and Irish heritage, Richmond County Women's Institute, New England heritage, post-World War Two immigrants, French Protestant and Huguenot heritage, and manufacturing in the Richmond area. Several bilingual calendars have been published, featuring early images of the railroad, churches, schools and pioneers.

2010 marked the 50th anniversary of the death of the celebrated Canadian artist, Frederick Simpson Coburn. The RCHS`s dramatic presentation, “Café and Coburn,” written and produced by Nick Fonda, was a serious depiction of the artist’s life and work in New York, Europe and Melbourne, Quebec. The production featured original music written and performed by Francine Beaubien and a Powerpoint presentation of Coburn`s life and paintings. The Upper Melbourne town hall was filled to capacity for each performance.

In 2012, a number of special activities took place to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Society. Among these was the creation of a time vault. Designed to be opened in 2062, the time vault contains more than 100 time capsules buried in a concrete cavity, with a 7-foot bronzed steel tree mounted on the lid, complete with leaves featuring the names of long-gone communities.