Being able to show off the artifacts that represent Muskoka Lakes is great, but Courtney Provan with the Muskoka Lakes Museum wants to be able to better explain the stories behind them. 

Thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Resilient Communities Fund, the museum will be able to do that.

Provan, who is the Director and Curator for the museum, tells the newsroom they brought in TCI Management Consultants and museum architects Reich+Petch to help with the changes. “It didn’t impact what it is that we collect and have, but it did impact how we tell the stories,” she says, adding that visitors connect better with “lived history.” Instead of just seeing a “neat, old object,” Provan says they will be better able to tell the story of where it came from and how it was built. “Where we’re located in Port Carling, a lot of those old wooden boats were built right there,” she goes on to say.

The grant helps recipients study and create a strategic plan that helps to improve visitor’s experience. Provan explains it was started as a way to help not-for-profit organizations recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

While the funds have already been spent, Provan says the changes aren’t done just yet. “This is just the first step,” she adds. The museum has a lot of artifacts in storage, so the plan is to expand on the space they have to give themselves more room to display the pieces.

The Muskoka Lakes Museum is set to reopen Thursday, July 22nd. Provan says they normally open during Victoria Day long weekend, but had to push that back because of the pandemic. She adds they will be open until Thanksgiving.