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Grand re-opening celebrates renovations to Macaulay Museum

Nancy Woods, Jennifer Lyons, Mayor Peter Mertens, MP Daryl Kramp and Wendy Lane listen to Town Crier Don Watson gather the crowd for the official ribbon cutting at the newly renovated Macaulay Museum in Picton. County residents and visitors are invited to an evening concert tonight from 6-8 p.m. featuring Music at Port Milford, Janet Kellough and Trinity.

Prince Edward County celebrated one of its oldest heritage sites at the grand re-opening of the Macaulay Church Museum in Picton.
Town Crier Don Watson commanded the attention of more than 80 people gathered at the the historic Church Street building for a ribbon cutting at the entrance followed by a ceremony inside.
The building was established in 1825 as the St. Mary Magdalene Church and has served as The Prince Edward County Museum since 1973.
“People like to look for the ‘wow factor’ and we got that in spades as we came into this building to see what has transpired,” said PEC Mayor Peter Mertens. He went on to express thanks to people who had the foresight to see the project as a good investment for the County – including the former council, County employees and MP Daryl Kramp.
“There are a lot of people who need to be thanked. It hasn’t been an easy project and there has been a fair bit of angst over the years to get this done. With all these partnerships and people, everything came together.”
Prince Edward Hastings MP Daryl Kramp, also speaking on behalf of Minister of Heritage James Moore, said the support from the Government of Canada in the amount of $825,000 through the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund, was well-spent.
“I am so impressed,” said Kramp. “This is nothing short of magnificent. It is a great pleasure to see the tremendous results of our government’s investment in this important local heritage site. Residents and visitors to Prince Edward County will benefit from these significant improvements to the Macaulay Church Museum for generations to come.”
Upgrades to the site began in September 2010. The last major work done to the church was during its conversion to a museum, with Wintario funding, in 1970. The grant from the Department of Canadian Heritage Cultural Spaces program was matched by teh County through Invest in Ontario and capital budget allocations for a total project budget of $1,725,000. The Friends of Macaulay Heritage Park also contributed to the project with the restoration of the heritage and stained glass windows as a priority.
Exterior work included re-shingling and restoration work to the tower and vestry roof; installation of led copper-coated eavestroughing and downspouts for improved drainage; stabilization of the north wall, foundation and the exterior stone wall; re-pointing of selected masonry work; accessibility at the entrace and at the parking area.
“Most notable was the stabilization of the north wall,” said Wendy Lane, manager of Recreation and Culture. “Visible from Union Street, teh wall was carefully taken down brick by brick and then rebuilt using the existing brick. The wall was bowing out and you could see how it shifted over the years.”
The interior renovations include new fire and electrical systems, substantial upgrades to improve the exhibition spaces and access to these spaces for the  public.
“The Macaulay site links all the themes that are highlighted in the County’s five other museums,” said emcee Judith Zelmanovits, chair of the Museum Advisory Committee.
The ceremony also featured Jeanette Arsenault singing the the County’s official song, accompanied by Mark DaSilva on guitar; and a choral presention of ‘Guide My Feet’ by the St. Mary Magdalene Choir, under the direction of Michael Goodwin. Peter Lockyer’s History Lives Here video presentation on Reverend Macaulay was shown.
County storyteller Janet Kellough closed the ceremonies with laughs all-round, as she told her audience of the social history of Prince Edward County. She will perform again tonight at an evening concert from 6-8 p.m. also featuring the musical group Trinity and Music at Port Milford classical musicians.
Macaulay Museum is part of Macaulay Heritage Park, which  features Macaulay House, built in 1830 and restored to the mid-1850s;  the old St. Mary Magdalene Parish Cemetery; the Heritage Gardens and the Carriage House.
Reverend William Macaulay was originally sent to this area as a missionary. In 1823 he organized the Parish of Hallowell, donating the land for the church and paying for much of its construction from his own personal wealth.  Macaulay’s contributions to the community were not only spiritual, but civic. He donated his property for the construction of both a school and a courthouse; the latter has been in use since 1831. Macaulay was also instrumental in the naming of the town of Picton.

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